The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act Updated October 28, 2020. The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act, Title XII, Subtitle F of P.L. 114- 328; 22 U.S.C. §2656 note) authorizes the President to impose economic sanctions and deny entry into the United States to any foreign person identified as engaging inhuman rights abuse or corruption.
Browder, who has led a global push for sanctions against Russian officials implicated in the death of imprisoned Russian whistle-blower Sergei Magnitsky, also was fined 200,000 rubles (about $3,500) and banned from conducting business activities in Russia for three years. Browder’s co-defendant, Ivan Cherkasov, received an eight-year prison term in absentia.”
Federal judge in NY grants U.S. motion to enforce its $5.9 million settlement with Prevezon in longstanding litigation that arose from an alleged $230 million Russian tax refund fraud scheme that was uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky. #Prevezon@Billbrowder
Former Milwaukee Sheriff, resigned August 31, 2017. Announced as Department of Homeland Security, Office of Partnership and Engagement as Liason between Secretary John Kelly and State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement, June 2017…but the DHS denied offering the job in June.
“CNN’s KFile reported in May that Clarke plagiarized portions of his 2013 master’s thesis on US security, though he vigorously denies the allegations.
Critics of Clarke point to what they term a sordid history of his management of the county’s jail, but the past few months have also been marked by questions over whether he would be tapped for a formal role in the Trump administration.
In May, Clarke announced on a local Wisconsin radio show that he was accepting an appointment as Assistant Secretary in the Office of Partnerships and Programs at Homeland Security — yet days turned into weeks without a word of confirmation from DHS.
Finally, DHS said in June that he was “no longer being considered” for a position within the agency, and a DHS official confirmed to CNN Thursday that he is still not up for a job there.
And while Clarke makes regular TV appearances on Fox News, a source with knowledge of the situation told CNN that there have been no discussions, at least thus far, about hiring Clarke.” CNN
“Before the NRA poured more than $30 million into Trump’s election, it met with a notorious Kremlin hardliner, allegedly to discuss a rifle competition. Tim Mak March 7, 2017 The Daily Beast
In March 2014, the U.S. government sanctioned Dmitry Rogozin—a hardline deputy to Vladimir Putin, the head of Russia’s defense industry and longtime opponent of American power—in retaliation for the invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine.
Eighteen months later, the National Rifle Association, Donald Trump’s most powerful outside ally during the 2016 election, sent a delegation to Moscow that met with him.
The meeting, which hasn’t been previously reported in the American press, is one strand in a web of connections between the Russian government and Team Trump: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn both denied speaking with the Russian ambassador, which turned out to be untrue; former campaign manager Paul Manafortsupported pro-Russian interests in Ukraine; Secretary of State Rex Tillerson won an “Order of Friendship” from Putin; and then, of course, there’s the hacking campaign that U.S. intelligence agencies say Russian launched to tilt the election in Trump’s favor.
Meeting with Rogozin, a target of U.S. sanctions, is not itself illegal—as long as the two sides did no business together—explained Boris Zilberman, an expert on Russian sanctions at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. But, he noted, it is “frowned upon and raises questions… those targeted for sanctions have been engaged in conduct which is in direct opposition to U.S. national security interests.”
Which raises the question: Why was the NRA meeting with Putin’s deputy in the first place?Read More on The Daily Beast
“What we witnessed in Ferguson, in Baltimore, and in Baton Rouge was a collapse of social order. So many of the actions of the Occupy movement and Black Lives Matter transcend peaceful protest, and violates the code of conduct we rely on,” Clarke said. “I call it anarchy.”
Grant Stern is a Miami based columnist and radio broadcaster, and professional mortgage broker. He’s got a Medium blog called The Stern Facts. He’s one of many “citizen journalists” who gather publicly available information to augment that which is readily available in the headlines.
Clarke didn’t just meet with Lavrov, but also had an audience with two more of Putin’s deputies, including a Russian central banker who tried to visit the White House earlier this year, leading to a mini-crisis and revocation of the President’s invitation — because Alexander Torshin has been charged with racketeering in Spain.
Torshin’s “special assistant” Maria Butina runs Russia’s Fake NRA group called “The Right to Bear Arms,” which not coincidentally organized the visit that brought Clarke to Moscow.
Russia has absolutely no right to bear arms, restricts access to weapons closely, as you’d expect in an authoritarian regime.
Nobody knows exactly who funds Butina’s fake Russian NRA, but her story a week before Trump’s declaration of candidacy entitled “The Bear and the Elephant” is eerily predictive of events to follow.
If the website looks familiar, it is the same pro-Putin think tank in DC which sponsored the infamous Mayflower Hotel meeting last year, where Trump met with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.
National rifle association ознакомилась с планами организации в 2017 г. в РФ Чемпионата мира по стрельбе из карабина pic.twitter.com/UOSlCI3vAy
As I discovered in the seminal article about this fake Russian NRA, “From Russia with Love for the NRA,” Putin’s Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin attended along with Torshin.
Of course, the proof is posted on Twitter:
The trip generated controversy because Rogozin was an individual subject of U.S. sanctions because of his role in Russia’s invasion of Eastern Ukraine. Rogozin is the former leader of the ultra-right party Rodina (Motherland) and has advocated for the restoration of the Russian Empire, to include Alaska, which he calls “Russian America.” From 2008 to 2011, he served as the Russian ambassador to NATO, where he focused on preventing Ukraine and Georgia from joining NATO. Rogozin has also bragged about Russia’s “first strike” cyberwarfare capability.” Read the whole story on The Stern Facts
And if all of that isn’t enough….there are the lawsuits for abuse and wrongful death of inmates while under his supervision, the reason many people are aware of him, if at all.
As Maurice Chammah wrote at the Atlantic last year, Clarke has been known to wake up the inmates in his jail with bullhorns. He’s a fan of serving inmates “nutraloaf,” a tasteless food concoction that takes the joy out of eating. He has railed against grants to reduce racial disparities in incarceration and even to help solve homicides as “criminal coddling.”
A February 2014 investigation by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel found that 10 people had died in Clarke’s jail between 2008 and the end of 2013. Among them:
Antonio Cowser, who died of “complications of a psychotic disorder” after being arrested on a traffic violation. Guards had turned off Carver’s access to water.
Natalie Guyton, who died of a drug overdose after being arrested on a probation violation. She had complained about chest pain. A doctor ordered a ultrasound that was never done.
Jessie James Harris, who died of a heart attack after being arrested for “obstructing police.” There was no mention of his diabetes or his history of heart disease in the jail’s medical records.
Paul Heytens, who killed himself after a drunken-driving arrest. He had been prescribed anti-depressants that the jail never gave him. Guards were supposed to be doing 30-minute checks. He was dead for 11 hours before they found him.
Virgilio Jimenez, who died of a heart attack after an arrest for various misdemeanors. Again, guards were supposed to be checking on him every 30 minutes. He was dead for six hours before they found him.
That report didn’t seem to improve conditions at the jail. Last year saw four deaths in six months at the jail, a rate about three times the national average. One of those who died was a newborn. According to a lawsuit filed by the baby’s mother, she repeatedly informed guards that she was going into labor at around midnight. She claims they laughed at her. She gave birth in her cell alone at around 4 a.m, and still didn’t receive medical attention for another two hours. Clarke, a staunch opponent of abortion, hasn’t publicly addressed the infant’s death. A subsequent lawsuit has alleged that at least 40 pregnant women were forced to wear “belly chains” and shackles in Clarke’s jail while they were in labor.”
If you haven’t already linked this timeline doozy, here’s another. Remember “Sheriff” Clarke? He was part of the group Butina organized the trip to Moscow for in Dec 15. Guess who was across town at exact time dining w Putin? None other than Flynn. pic.twitter.com/M6fG5VMANk
Iranian-born Bijan Kian/Rafiekian, Vice-Chairman, Director, Secretary and Treasurer ofFlynn Intel Group, Trump Transition Team, former director of the U.S. Export-Import Bank,Brought Michael Flynn into his GreenZone Systems, Inc.as a Board Member in 2014 and James Woolsey to sell their GZS secure chips as part of a 2015 Saudi Arabian, Egyptian and Israeli consortium to build several dozen nuclear power reactors.
January 3 or 4, 2016 President Erdoğan meets leading US companies, calls for increased investments“On a visit to the capital of the USA to attend the Nuclear Security Summit, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry as well CEOs and chairpersons of leading multinational companies with total annual turnover of USD 2 trillion.” “In that role [chairman of the Turkish-American Business Council, known as TAIK, an arm of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey], Alptekin was involved in organizing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington earlier this year.”Politico
A failed coup against Erdogan on July 15, 2016, was blamed on the Western and educated-friendly Sunni Islam global initiative of schools and charitable organizations called Hizmet, led by Fethullah Gulen, an imam living in the Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. 290 people killed, 1,400+ injured, 6,000 arrested. Since then, more than 113,000 people have been fired, suspended, or detained. Erdogan called it a “gift from God” to be able to identify his enemies. That same night, Michael Flynn supported the coup onstage at Act! Cleveland. This began the Gulen Purges from 2016-2017
January 29, 2016, The Turkish Court issued an Arrest Warrant for Gulen
July 26, 2016 Rafiekian replied to an email from Alptekin saying that he had a “detailed discussion” with Flynn the previous night. Rafiekian inform Alptekin that “We are ready to engage on what needs to be done.” Mueller’s indictment pg 3
July 29, 2016 Alptekin emailed Rafiekian, saying that he had met with a Turkish government minister (TM #1) and that, “he is interested in exploring this seriously and it is likely he’ll want to meet with you and Flynn..He asked me to formulate what kind of output we can generate on the short and mid-term as well as an indicative budget…keep this confidential.” Mueller’s indictment pg 3
July 30, 2016 Rafiekian sent Alptekin an email with the subject line “Truth,” copying Flynn, saying that he and Flynn had discussed a ninety-day “Truth Campaign” and listing nine bullet points, which he referred to as “Has Zero,” that he claimed were essential to the project” Mueller’s indictment pg 4
August 2, 2016, Rafiekian emailed Alptekin, saying, “Waiting to hear from you. You, Flynn and I are the only cleared entities on this at this time.” Mueller’s indictment pg 4
August 4, 2016, Flynn sent an email with the subject “Truth” to Rafiekian and Alptekin in response to an email from Alptekin saying, “I’ll get with [Rafiekian} today on your question regarding [the then US Secretary of State]’s staff.” Mueller’s indictment pg 4 Rafiekian sent an email with the subject “Truth” to Alptekin and Flynn stressing the need to begin work on the Truth Campaign. Referring to Iran’s Ayatolla Hkomeini, Rafiekian said: “…Well, the world neglected to take the layers off the ink blot in 1978. One year later, from the place under the apple tree, The soft spken spiritual man led the Islamic Revolution in Iran.”Mueller’s indictment pg 4
August 8, 2016, Alptekin sent an email with the subject “Truth” to Rafiekian and Flynn, saying “I had a long meeting with [Turkish government minister (“TM #2)] upon the referral of [TM #1]. I explained what we can offer. He agreed to discuss in general lines at the council of ministers today and subsequently with [a senior Turkish leader (“STL #2)] in more detail.”
August 9, 2016: Erdogan met with Putin
August 10, 2016: Alptekin sent an email with the subject “Truth” to Rafiekian and Flynn, saying, “I met with TM #1 and explained our proposed approach. He is receptive and indicated he would like to meet with us during his upcoming visit to DC…I will inform you and we can strategize how best to approach the meeting.” Alptekin again inquired about the then US Secretary of State, asking, “Do we know anyone on his team?” Alptekin sent an email with the subject “Truth” to Rafiekian and Flynn, saying “I just finished in Ankara after several meetings today with TM #2 and TM #1. I have a green light to discuss confidentiality, budget and the scope of the contract.” Mueller’s indictment pg 5
August 11, 2016: Renamed “Project Confidence” Rafiekian emailed Alptekin saying that Rafiekian and Flynn had discussed the “campaign design” and “resource allocation.” Rafiekian reassured Alptekin, “I did not touch the advisory support we discussed at 20%. Concurrently, for the first time, the source of funding was changed from the Government of Turkey to a company in the Netherlands that was wholly owned and controlled by Alptekin. This was the first mention of a company owned by Alptekin in connection with the project and the first time that Rafiekian made others at Flynn Intel Group aware of the project.” Mueller’s indictment pg 6
August 24, 2016: Turkey launched air strikes on Kurdish positions in Northern Syria BBC
August 24, 2016, Rafiekian emailed Alptekin, copying Flynn, thanking Alptekin for his decision to engage Flynn Intel Group on “Operation Confidence,” and noting that Alptekin would receive 20% of the money Flynn Intel Group received for the project. Mueller’s indictment pg 7
August 25, 2016, Alptekin told Rafiekian via Skype, “We are confirmed to go.” Alptekin also told Rafiekian, “I think im [sic] meeting [TM #1]’s boss…not direct boss but u know who.” Mueller’s indictment pg 7
September 1, 2016, Alptekin told Rafiekina via Skype, “We are also scheduling [sic] a meet with Flynn and [TM #1] and perhaps even [STL #1] in the third week of NY.” Mueller’s indictment pg 7
September 3, 2016, Rafiekian sent Alptekin an email enclosing a contract between Inovo BV and Flynn Intel Group. In the email, Rafiekian said, “We have been at work on this engagement since July 31st:-that is, when it was still called the “Truth” campaign-“However, we decided to set the start date as August 15, 2016”-after Rafiekian and ALptekin had changed the name to “Operation Confidence” and substituted Alptekin’s company, Inovo BV, for the Government of Turkey as the source of the funding for the project.
September 5, 2016, Rafiekian sent Flynn a draft “Playbook” for the project. The playbook referred to Gulen as “X” and referred to Turkey as “Country X.” It also noted that a public registration fo the project would claim that a Dutch entity was the client. The playbook explained that the project would compare Gulen to Khomeini.” Mueller’s indictment pg 7
September 6, 2016 Refiekian emailed Flynn, saying, “Client is seeking a high level meeting in NYC on September 19th or 20th.”
September 9, 2016 Rafiekian emailed Flynn, saying, “the meeting is with high level audience (Cabinet+ level) related to ‘Confidence'” Alptekin wired $200,000 to Flynn Intel Group.
September 12, 2016, Rafiekian emailed an employee of Flynn Intel Group, Sayinginthat FIG needed to wire $40,000 back to Alptekin. Rafiekian claimed that Alptekin was FIG’s “outside advisor on the Confidence Project.” Mueller’s indictment pg 7
September 13, 2016, Rafiekian wired $40,000 from Flynn Intel Group’s US Bank account to Inovo BV’s account in the Netherlands. Mueller’s indictment pg 7
September 15, 2016 Alptekin sent Rafiekian a Skype message saying, “TM #1}’s guy in Turkey who is read into project confidence advised me to include an oped that Flynn Intel Group would get published under my name.” Mueller indictment pg 11
September 18, 2016 Rafiekian sent Alptekin a document entitled “Background and Talking Points,”-20-all of which concerned Gulen, FETO, and Harmony US charter schools
September 19, 2016 “In March 2017, former CIA DirectorJames Woolsey told the Wall Street Journal that he had been at a September 19, 2016 meeting with then Trump campaign advisor Mike Flynn with Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and energy minister, Berat Albayrak, where the possibility of Gulen’s abduction and forced rendition to Turkey was discussed. Although no concrete kidnapping plan was discussed, Woolsey left the meeting, concerned that a general discussion about “a covert step in the dead of night to whisk this guy away” might be construed as illegal under American law. A spokesman for Flynn denied Woolsey’s account, telling Business Insider that no nonjudicial removal had been discussed at the meeting.
“Flynn participates in a meeting with senior Turkish officials in which the group reportedly discusses the option of kidnapping the cleric Gulen and removing him from the United States, according to a Wall Street Journal story (published in March 2017). Alptekin invited Flynn to the meeting, according to Flynn’s firm, and Alptekin is present at the meeting. [James] Woolsey, who was affiliated with Flynn’s firm at the time, was present for part of the meeting’s discussion,the contents of which he said greatly disturbed him. Woolsey thought the proposal for Gulen would “pretty clearly be a violation of law” and he reported it to “several people,” including U.S. government officials at the time, specifically including an intermediary to Vice President Joseph Biden. Note: Woolsey’s spokesman, Jonathan Franks, told Just Security that Woolsey did not inform members of the Trump campaign about the September meeting. An important question is whether, either through the “several people” Woolsey informed or through others, Trump or his inner circle learned of the September meeting. If the Trump campaign was aware of the meeting before the WSJ story broke in March, it was apparently not directly from Woolsey.” Just Security
The FARA filing made March 7, 2017, included this lie: “Flynn Intel Group understood the engagement to be focused on improving US Business organization’s confidence regarding doing business in Turkey” Mueller indictment pg 16
October 2016: [Andrew] “Brunson, 50, [sic] detained for two years on espionage and terrorism-related charges that the pastor and U.S. officials said were false.” Washington Post
October 7, 2016, Rafiekian sent Alptekin the FIG invoice for $200,000. Mueller’s indictment pg 9 During a weekly conference call in which Rafiekian and Alptekin participated, one or more participants discussed publishing an oped concerning the funding for the Turkish citizen’s private schools. Mueller indictment pg 11
October 11, 2016, Rafiekian sent an email to an employee of FIG asking him to send a wife transfer to Inovo BV “as soon as Mr. Alptekin sends us an invoice for consulting services that he is providing to FIG on the Confidence Project.” Mueller’s indictment pg 10 Alptekin wired $185,000 from a Turkish bank account in Alptekin’s name to FIG’s US Bank account.
October 13, 2016 Flynn employee prepared talking points for Flynn to use in discussing the project with Alptekin on a weekly conference call scheduled for the following day. One talking point said, “We will attempt to have an Op Ed written that links funding, Islamists and the subject et all as Mulllahs/Imams.” Mueller indictment pg 11
October 14, 2016 Alptekin asend Rafiekian an invoice to FIG from Inovo BV for $40,000, which Rafiekian approved the following day.Mueller’s indictment pg 10
October 17, 2016 Rafiekian wired $40,000 from RIG’s US bank account to Inovo BV’s bank account in the Netherlands. Mueller’s indictment pg 10
November 2, 2016 Alptekin complained to Rafiekian that Flynn Intel Group had not publicized enough negative information about Gulen. Alptekin asked for a “smoking gun,” and said that he wanted recorded conversations with unhappy teachers, media coverage of Gulen, private investigative work targeting Gulen’s supporters, and Congressional hearings about Gulen and his [Harmony] charter schools. Rafiekian sent an email to Alptekin enclosing.a drafts of an op-ed piece that Rafiekian had written urging Gulen’s extradition. In the email, Rafiekian said, “A promise made is a promise kept.” It contained the same “apple tree” comparison of Khomeini and the Turkish citizen that Raiekian had used in his email to Alptekin when the project was still called the “Truth campaign”; and in the “Playbook” when Rafiekian referred to Bulen as “X”; and in the “Background and Talking Points” that Rafiekian prepared for Alptekin and others just before the “High level” meeting in New York with Turkish cabinet members.Mueller indictment pg 12
November 3, 2016, Rafiekian wrote to Flynn, “I a seed [the editor] to review and edit my 1000 word draft to make sure it is tight before I send it out to you. The plan is to go out with the piece on Monday.” Mueller indictment pg 12
November 4, 2016, Rafiekian emailed Alptekin about the op-ed, saying, “I just left Flynn. The arrow has left the bow!…This is a very high profile exposure one day before the election.” Attached to the email was a draft of the op-ed, which argued that the United States should not provide “safe haven” to Gulen. Mueller indictment pg 12
November 8, 2016, an op-ed titled Our Ally Turkey Is in Crisis and Needs Our Support was published in the newspaper The Hill and on its website [credited author Michael Flynn]. The op-ed blamed Gulen for the July 15, 2016, attempted coup and urged the US government to deny the Turkish citizen refuge in the US and contained the same “apple tree” comparison of Khomeini and Gulen that Rafiekian had used before. Following Flynn’s op-ed, the FARA Unit sent a letter to Flynn requesting additional information to determine whether Flyy, Flynn Intel Group, and/or other individuals had an obligation to register as an agent of a foreign government under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) Act. Mueller indictment pg 13
“Cummings also released a Memorandum of Understanding signed on November 8, 2016, by the former Chair of the Transition Team, Chris Christie, and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, which provides that in order to obtain non-public and classified information, the Transition Team member must sign a statement that “he or she has no financial interest or imputed financial interest that would be directly and predictably affected by a particular matter to which the information is pertinent.” Cummings issued the following statement: “President-elect Trump promised during his campaign that he would ‘drain the swamp,’ but his top national security advisor is Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whose firm is reportedly being paid to lobby the U.S. Government by a close ally of Turkey’s president. It is unclear how Lt. Gen. Flynn was reportedly allowed into intelligence briefings during the campaign despite these apparent conflicts of interest.” House Committee on Oversight
November 10, 2016, Rafiekian sent Alptekin an invoice for $100,000 fir its third paymentt under the agreement. Mueller’s indictment pg 10
Obama warned Trump about Flynn, officials sayPoliticoMay 8, 2017 By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE and MATTHEW NUSSBAUM The White House, however, continues to blame Obama for not revoking Flynn’s security clearance. “Among those told of Flynn’s lobbying work during the transition was Don McGahn, a campaign lawyer who has gone on to become White House counsel”
November 14, 2016, Alptekin wired $145,000 from a Turkish bank account in Alptekin’s name to Flynn Intel Groups’s US bank account. Mueller’s indictment pg 10
November 18, 2016 “Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence requesting information about the apparent conflicts of interest of the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Transition team, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was reportedly offered the job of National Security Advisor.” House Committee on Oversight
November 19, 2016 What Mike Flynn Did for Turkey The New YorkerBy Nicholas Schmidle March 16, 2017 Just Security “Trump campaign lawyer, William McGinley, holds a conference call with members of the Flynn firm “seeking more information” about the group’s foreign work on Turkey and “to review the particulars of Flynn’s piece in The Hill,”(McGinley was subsequently appointed as White House Cabinet Secretary.)”
December 9, 2016 “Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) send a letter to FBI Director James Comey, DNI James Clapper, and OPM Acting Director Beth Cobert calling for a re-evaluation of Flynn’s security clearance. They cite his “repeated mishandling of classified information,” his paid visit to Moscow, and his business interests as CEO of Flynn Intel Group.” Just Security
“In a second meeting with Turkish government representatives, Flynn reportedly discusses the idea of he and his son helping to forcibly remove Gulen and deliver the cleric to Turkish custody using a private jet, in a plot that would have paid the Flynns $15 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. “Flynn also was prepared to use his influence in the White House to further the legal extradition of the cleric,” Just Security
November 30, 2017
around December 4, 2017 the Justice Department notified Mr. Flynn of the inquiry. NY Times
January – March 2017, outside attorneys for Flynn gathered information to determine whether Flynn Intel Group or any of its employees had an obligation to register under FARA based upon FIG’s work on “Operation Confidence”. During this process, Rafiekian and Alptekin knowingly provided false information to FIG’s attorneys in an effort to hide from the attorneys-and ultimately from the FARA Unit- the involvement of Turkish government officials in the project. Mueller indictment pg 13
Feb. 7, 2017:Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have their first telephone call in which they discuss a range of policy issues. Flynn is still national security advisor at this point. Just Security
RAFIEKIAN LIES to FIG’s Attorneys:
September 19, 2016 meeting in New York City had nothing to do with Project Confidence, and instead was in furtherance of an abandoned “Project Truth” that was distinct from Project Confidence;
No other contacts with Turkish government officials regarding the project;
The op-ed was Flynn’s own idea, and he wrote I on his own behalf, and unrelated to the project;
Alptekin did not want the op-ed to be published; and
Payments from FIG to Inovo BV were refunds for lobbying and public relation work that FIG did not perform.
ALptekin had not been consulted on the op-ed, and that he would have opposed it if he had been consulted;
The project was done on behalf of an Israeli company [RatioOil] that owned a share in a natural gas consortium [Leviathan Gas Field] seeking to do business in Turkey. “Papadopoulos was involved in oil & gas in an ‘advisory’ role with the following 3 countries, Greece, Cyprus & Israel. One of the projects was the Leviathan offshore gas field in Israel.He opened the way for an American company, Noble Energy to be a major player in the project.” @911CORLEBRA777 Leviathan is to supply the Med East Pipeline.
February 13, 2017 Michael Flynn resigned. “A PAC aligned with the Democratic Party, the Democratic Coalition Against Trump files a report with the National Security Agency alleging that Flynn has sought “to influence the White House on behalf of Turkey and its president, Recep Erdogan, while failing to register as an agent with the Department of Justice.”” Just Security
February 14, 2017 Trump asked Comey if he could see his “way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” Comey Testimony June 8, 2017
March 31, 2017 “Trump’s interest in broad protection from liability for Flynn may also be indicated by the president’s tweet on March 31, 2017, that ‘Flynn should ask for immunity.'” Just Security
April 4, 2017: Erdogan denounced a chemical attack that killed 86+ civilians in northwestern Syria, called Assad “a murderer”, April 7, praised the US missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation.
July 13, 2017 “Turkey’s Justice Ministry said on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been charged with complicity with the coup attempt. Many of those arrested or charged and are associated with the Gulen movement. The government has charged people merely associated with the Gulen movement through such means as possession of an account with Bank Asya, a Gulen-movement affiliated bank, or subscribing to Zaman, a Gulen-movement affiliated newspaper.“Wikipedia
September 28, 2017, “Erdoğan requested the U.S. to extradite Gülen in exchange for American pastor Andrew Brunson, under arrest in Turkey on charges related to Brunson’s alleged affiliation with “FETO” (the Gulen movement); Erdoğan said, “You have a pastor too. Give him to us…. Then we will try [Brunson] and give him to you….” “You have a pastor too. … You give us that one and we’ll work with our judiciary and give back yours.” The Federal judiciary alone determines extradition cases in the U.S. Asked about the suggested swap on September 28, 2017, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “I can’t imagine that we would go down that road. … We have received extradition requests for him [Gulen].” Anonymous US officials have said to reporters that the Turkish government has not yet provided sufficient evidence for the U.S. Justice Department to charge Gulen.“Wikipedia
Erdogan sought the extradition of Gulen to Turkey and directed Alptekin’s Inovo BV (rather than Turkey directly) to become the client of Flynn Intel Group. Lobbying Registration effective September 15, 2016, Flynn Intel Group obtained Inovo BV as a client and registered Robert Kelley as lobbyist, 2006 Chief Counsel to the National Security Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform.
In exchange for delegitimizing Gulen in the US and extradition to Turkey, Erdogan approved payments from Turkey to Inovo BV, who paid Flynn Intel Group $530,000 (of a $600,000 offering); Turkey received regular updates and Inovo BV got a 20% kickback.
October 2018, “Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.” NCB News November 15, 2018
“An indictment was unsealed today charging Bijan Rafiekian, aka Bijan Kian, 66, of San Juan Capistrano, California, and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, 41, of Istanbul, and a Turkish national, with conspiracy, acting in the United States as illegal agents of the government of Turkey, and making false statements to the FBI.
“According to allegations in the indictment, the two men were involved in a conspiracy to covertly influence U.S. politicians and public opinion against a Turkish citizen living in the United States whose extradition had been requested by the Government of Turkey. The plot included using a company founded by Rafiekian and a person referred to as “Person A” in the indictment. The company, referred to as “Company A” in the indictment, provided services based upon Person A’s national security expertise.
The indictment charges that the purpose of the conspiracy was to use Company A to delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of the American public and United States politicians, with the goal of obtaining his extradition, which was meeting resistance at the U.S. Department of Justice. At the same time, the conspirators sought to conceal that the Government of Turkey was directing the work. However, not only did Turkish cabinet-level officials approve the budget for the project, but Alptekin provided the Turkish officials updates on the work, and relayed their directions on the work to Rafiekian, Person A, and others at Company A.
According to allegations in the indictment, the scheme included using a Dutch company owned by Alptekin to appear to be the “client” of Company A and to pay the company’s fee of $600,000, which was to be paid in three installments. Alptekin made the payments from an account in Turkey. The indictment alleges that after Alptekin made the payments to Company A, it was to kick back 20 percent of the payments to Alptekin’s company in the Netherlands, and two such kickbacks were made.
Rafiekian is charged with conspiracy and acting in the United States as an illegal agent of the government of Turkey. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, and 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government.
Alptekin is charged with conspiracy, acting in the United States as an illegal agent of the government of Turkey, and four counts of making false statements to the FBI. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison for the conspiracy charge, 10 years in prison for the charge of acting as an agent of a foreign government, and 5 years in prison for each of the four false statement charges.”
“A business partner of former national security adviser Michael Flynn took part in sensitive hiring and policy discussions involving U.S. intelligence as a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team, but failed to inform Trump’s team that he had conducted political work on behalf of a foreign client of Flynn and might have to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent.
Internal records for Flynn’s partner, Bijan Kian, indicate he had not disclosed his work on behalf of a Turkish businessman last year with the Flynn Intel Group or provided any warning that he planned to file as a foreign agent, a current Trump transition official told The Associated Press. Kian, a little-known figure active on the presidential transition team, is emerging as a key player in the political controversy involving Flynn, Trump’s fired national security adviser.
“He did not indicate that to us in his transition documents. We would have no reason to know,” said the transition official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss Kian’s role during the post-election period. Almost two months after the transition period, both Kian and Flynn filed in March as foreign agents with the Justice Department, acknowledging their political work for Turkish-run Inovo BV could have principally benefited the government of Turkey.
For Kian, who led most of Flynn Intel Group’s research and lobbying for a Turkish businessman, the Trump transition role offered influence in the selection of intelligence agency candidates and access to internal discussions of U.S. national security policy. But Kian’s participation in the transition — following his management of work that Flynn Intel acknowledged may have benefited Turkey’s government — reinforces concerns about the adequacy of the administration’s vetting process.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., who is co-sponsoring a bill to toughen regulation of Americans performing political work for foreign interests, said Tuesday it was “very troubling that an unregistered foreign agent was playing a key role in the Trump administration’s transition.” She added that “similar to General Flynn, someone working on behalf of foreign governments should never be put in a position where they’re making important decisions within our government.”
An Iranian-American businessman whose full name is Bijan Rafiekian, Kian did not respond to repeated attempts over two months by the AP to contact him by phone, email and visits to properties listed for him in public records.
Kian described his transition role on his LinkedIn profile as “deputy lead” assigned to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Kian said he provided “policy input, strategic guidance and operational counsel to prepare” candidates for the director of national intelligence, the CIA and other top officials.
Two former transition officials who met with Kian during that period said that Kian was clearly close with Flynn and served as the retired general’s sounding board. One of the officials said Kian helped scrutinize then-Rep. Mike Pompeo before he was named Trump’s CIA director. The second official said Kian was involved in transition discussions for the National Security Council and the director of national intelligence. That official added that Kian did not expect to get an administration post. Both transition officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the transition’s work.
Like Kian, Flynn also worked on the transition while he was under Justice Department scrutiny for the Turkish work. But, as the AP previously reported , Flynn did inform the Trump transition about his Turkish work through his attorneys, who notified the transition he might have to register as a foreign agent. After Flynn joined the administration, his attorneys followed up with the White House counsel’s office, disclosing that Flynn would indeed be registering with the government as a foreign agent.
As Flynn’s little-known business partner, Kian played a key role last year in supervising much of Flynn Intel Group’s foreign work while the former U.S. lieutenant general campaigned for Trump. The research and lobbying they conducted for the Turkish firm has boomeranged on Flynn, now the target of a federal criminal investigation and congressional inquiries.
…Kian connected Flynn with his Turkish client, helped to negotiate their $600,000 contract and oversaw a documentary and an op-ed aimed at an opponent of Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the client and several others who requested anonymity because of the ongoing criminal investigation. The client, Ekim Alptekin, also confirmed to the AP that Kian worked for one of his Turkish companies at the same time he was working for Flynn Intel.Until Trump’s election, Flynn served with Kian on the board of GreenZone Systems Inc., a technology firm Kian headed until April. Flynn and Kian co-authored a 2015 op-ed about ISIS militants, and attended galas put on by the Nowruz Commission, a nonprofit run by Kian and his wife promoting the Iranian Nowruz holiday. Alptekin was named a board director of that group in 2011.For the three months leading up to the election, Kian was Flynn Intel’s linchpin, lobbying and managing contractors in the Turkish work. Alptekin said Kian was the intermediary who brought Flynn’s firm together last summer with Alptekin’s Dutch-based company, Inovo BV. Kian was also the “main one” representing Flynn Intel in contract talks with him last fall, Alptekin said, adding Flynn “wasn’t involved at all” in the talks, though he signed the contract.
Inovo ended up paying Flynn Intel $530,000 for research and lobbying aimed at persuading authorities to file criminal charges against Fethullah Gulen, a political foe of Erdogan. Flynn Intel disclosed its contract and other details of its Turkish work last March to the Justice Department, which regulates lobbying and other political activities for foreign interests in the U.S. Flynn and Kian were the only individuals who personally registered as foreign agents for Inovo.
Kian and Alptekin had an existing business relationship when Flynn Intel began its foreign work. Alptekin confirmed Kian had been vice chairman of his Istanbul-based aviation company, EA Havacilik, since November 2011. Alptekin said he and Kian regularly strategized to build an aviation customer base.” Continue reading the main story
“On June 18, 1997, following a series of ultimatums from the military, Erbakan resigned. His party, the Welfare Party, was banned, as were three other Islamist parties that Erbakan and Erdoğan had once belonged to. No shots were fired: the generals stood back and the civilians sheepishly slinked off the political stage. The event is still referred to as the “postmodern coup.”
Around the same time, a group of military officers calling themselves the Western Working Group began to reassert their authority and tried to remove any traces of what they regarded as undue Islamist influence. Public servants, even university professors, were required to attend lectures by military officers on the menace of political Islam. The generals aimed at getting rid of Erdoğan, who, as the mayor of Istanbul, was regarded as the most powerful local leader. Their opportunity came in December, 1997, when Erdoğan went to the city of Siirt and read aloud an Islamic-accented poem: ‘The mosques are our barracks; The domes our helmets; The minarets our bayonets; And the faithful our soldiers.’ In fact, the poem was written by Ziya Gökalp, one of the country’s most famous secular nationalists, in 1912. Nevertheless, Erdoğan was charged with “incitement of religious hatred,” sentenced to ten months in prison (of which he served four), and banned from politics.” The New Yorker
Erdogan was jailed in 1999.
Fethullah Gülen moved to the US for medical treatment, settling in the Poconos Mountains of Pennsylvania.
On or before February 20, 2012, the Turkish government requested the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) give evidence of Gulen-linked AKP politicians (the Justice and Development Party Erdogan became President of in August 2014) Wikipedia
March 12, 2012, The New Yorker published “The Deep State“: “When Erdoğan and his comrades in the A.K. Party came to power, there were widespread concerns that, as ardent Islamists, they were intent on foisting a religious regime on secular Turkey. Erdoğan, for his part, feared the resistance of what is commonly referred to as derin devlet, the “deep state.” The deep state is a presumed clandestine network of military officers and their civilian allies who, for decades, suppressed and sometimes murdered dissidents, Communists, reporters, Islamists, Christian missionaries, and members of minority groups—anyone thought to pose a threat to the secular order, established in 1923 by Mustafa Kemal, or Atatürk. The deep state, historians say, has functioned as a kind of shadow government, disseminating propaganda to whip up public fear or destabilizing civilian governments not to its liking.Friends and colleagues say Erdoğan worried that the deep state would never allow him to govern. But, to the surprise of many, he has pulled Turkey closer to the West, opening up the economy and becoming a crucial go-between for the West with Palestine, Iran, and Syria. He has called on the Assad government, in Damascus, to step down, and has tried to help build a bridge between the West and Tehran in the current nuclear standoff. In the eyes of American and European leaders, Erdoğan has fashioned Turkey into an indispensable Islamic democracy, offering a potential example for Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria.”
May 13, 2012, CBS News “US Charter Schools Tied To Powerful Turkish Imam “Over the past decade, followers of the mysterious Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen have opened scores of charter schools in the U.S., inspired by a man who is as powerful as he is reclusive. There are a total of about 130 charter schools like Harmony in 26 states. Together they form the largest collection of charter schools in the country. Here’s what’s curious: they’re founded and run by immigrant businessmen and academics from Turkey. The Turkish imam Fethullah Gulen who tells his followers that to be devout Muslims they shouldn’t build mosques – they should build schools; and not to teach religion, but science. In sermons on the web, he actually says: “Studying physics, mathematics, and chemistry is worshipping God.” So Gulen’s followers have gone out and built over 1,000 schools around the globe – from Turkey to Togo; from Taiwan to Texas. Alp Aslandogan: His message is that if you want to solve any social problem for the longer term, the solution has to go through education. Businessman Alp Aslandogan chairs a foundation in Houston that advances Gulen’s teachings.”
August 2013: Proposal of a new law that would force the closure Gulen-Movement Cram Schools met with protests until it became law in February 2014 and took effect February 2015.Wikipedia
November 28, 2013 Taraf article “claiming that the decision to bring down the Gülen Movement had in fact been taken during a National Security Council (MGK) meeting in 2004. The article claimed that the formal decision to end the movement’s political influence had been signed in August 2004 by both Prime Minister Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül. Erdoğan’s chief advisor Yalçın Akdoğan denied the claims, but his denial failed to convince the pro-Gulen media.Samanyolu TV alleged that a decision for the National Intelligence Organisation to maintain surveillance on individuals was included in the leaked documents.In response to the leaking of MGK documents, Prime Minister Erdoğan made a statement reiterating his decision to abolish cram schools, while slamming the leak as an act of national treason.” Wikipedia
“The Cram school crisis created a split within the AKP’s parliamentary group, with pro-Gulen MPs openly voicing their concern over the new educational legislation. These included İdris Bal. Bal resigned from the AKP. Another key resignation was that of Hakan Şükür in December 2013, who is openly a follower of Gulen and strongly critical of his party’s cram school policy. Şükür revealed after his resignation that he had been to visit Gulen on numerous occasions while still an AKP Member of Parliament, telling Gulen that he wanted to resign from his party. He claimed that Gulen had delayed his decision.Wikipedia
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan Real Estate Corruption 80 Arrests (24 Charged) on December 17, 2013 Blamed on Gulen followers and Erdogan retaliated by Purging the Police forces of Hundreds: Corruption Scandal Is Edging Near Turkish Premier NY Times December 25, 2013 “A corruption investigation that has encircled the Turkish government moved an ominous step closer to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, as three top ministers whose sons have been implicated abruptly resigned — and one of them, on his way out the door, said Mr. Erdogan should step down as well. The resignations, coming only hours after the ministers welcomed Mr. Erdogan at the Ankara airport as he returned from Pakistan late on Tuesday, were enough to inspire new talk of a deepening crisis, which Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly denounced as a foreign plot. The corruption inquiry has targeted the ministers’ sons, a major construction tycoon with links to Mr. Erdogan and municipal workers, and it centers in part on allegations that officials received bribes in exchange for ignoring zoning rules and approving contentious development projects. On Wednesday morning, Economy Minister Zafer Caglayan and Interior Minister Muammer Guler, whose sons are among 24 people arrested in the corruption investigation, stepped down. A few hours later the environment and urban planning minister, Erdogan Bayraktar, closest among the three to Mr. Erdogan, said in a live television interview that he had resigned under pressure. He also said Mr. Erdogan was personally involved in unspecified property deals that are a focus of the investigation. The resignations came after a week in which Mr. Erdogan’s government sought to purge the police forces of those it believes are behind the investigation, which has been linked to Fethullah Gulen, a popular Muslim spiritual leader in exile in Pennsylvania who has millions of followers in Turkey, including some who hold high positions within the police and judiciary. Mr. Erdogan and others have called them a “criminal gang” and a “state within a state.” In a televised speech on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Erdogan used some of his strongest language yet to denounce his former allies in the Gulen movement and promised to dismiss them. “We will root out the bad apples or whatever is necessary,” he said. Dozens of high-level police officials, and hundreds of other officers, already have been removed. Reports emerged in the Turkish news media on Wednesday that prosecutors were pursuing other high-level officials, but that new police officials installed by the government had resisted pursuing them. This essentially highlights a power struggle within state structures.” NY Times. “the government branded the investigation as a ‘planned psychological attack’, ‘an illegal group within the state’ and ‘dirty games being played within and outside the Turkish state‘.”[61Wikipedia
December 25, 2013, “the same day that the HSYK ruled that the government’s demands were unconstitutional, prosecutor Muammer Akkaş issued an arrest warrant for 30 more individuals on charges of corruption, yet the Istanbul Directorate of Security refused to make the arrests. As a result, Akkaş issued a statement claiming that he was being prevented from doing his job. The government responded by accusing Akkaş of attempting to begin a second operation through unlawful means, thus taking him off the case and allegedly giving it to prosecutor Turan Çolakkadı. In the end, the case was transferred to five other prosecutors. Realising that the ministers involved in the 17 December operations did not initially know that investigations had begun into them, the government made it compulsory for such investigations to be reported to the most senior officials in government.The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) ruled this requirement unconstitutional.Wikipedia
December 26, 2013: “The three ministers that were incriminated in the corruption scandal, namely Zafer Çağlayan, Erdoğan Bayraktar and Muammer Güler, resigned from their cabinet ministers. Having also been mentioned in the corruption investigations, Egemen Bağış also lost his position in the ensuring reshuffle. Prime Minister Erdoğan claimed that Akkaş had disgraced the judiciary by issuing such a statement and claimed that the HSYK had committed a crime by refusing the government’s demands to notify senior ministers of investigations. He claimed that had he had the right, he would have ‘tried’ the HSYK himself, but claimed that the people would have the right to judge. A day later, the Turkish Council of State voted down the government’s demands, with Erdoğan subsequently issuing a statement saying ‘what needs to be done will be done, and then you will see’ and claiming that the judicial changes proposed in the 2010 constitutional referendum had been a mistake. Several pro-government ministers claimed that the judicial setback was the last open attack against the AKP by the Gulen Movement. A new law that would bring the HSYK directly under the control of the Ministry of Justice was passed on 1 February 2014 despite several breakouts of violence between government and opposition MPs.Wikipedia
December 31, 2013: “Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who was later himself accused of being a supporter of Gulen, claimed that the events of 17 December 2013 had been a mini-coup attempt. An intelligence report for the Prime Minister was leaked on the same day, with claims that the ‘parallel structure‘ had branches in 27 provinces and had over 2,000 police officers and several academics, journalists and bankers under its control. President Abdullah Gül issued a statement on 4 January 2014 claiming that a state within a state was ‘absolutely unacceptable’. Erdoğan claimed that the corruption scandal had been an attempt to tarnish the AKP’s image, to worsen his relations with President Gül, to sabotage the ongoing solution process with Kurdish rebels and to stop Turkey’s growth. A new spate of anti-corruption operations began on 7 January, in provinces such as İzmir, Amasya and İstanbul. These operations were mocked by the pro-AKP media.Wikipedia
January 1, 2014: MIT trucks were accused of carrying weapons into Syria and publicly stopped, FIRST BLAMED on GULEN in a failed smear campaign special intelligence operation, later claiming they were humanitarian aid as cover.
January 31, 2014 the “MIT Law” presented: National Intelligence Organization (MIT) allowing the MIT to “function as the intelligence branch of a party state.” Surveillance Police State. Al-Monitor
2014 Internet Censorship Law, blocked Twitter and Youtube
February 25, 2014, “A recording was posted on YouTube allegedly featuring Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan telling his son Necmettin Bilal Erdoğan to ‘nullify’ all the cash kept in their home due to the ongoing operations occurring in other government ministers’ homes. The Prime Minister called the tape a ‘dastardly, shameless and nasty montage’, adding that there was nothing that he could not give a justification to. He claimed that the perpetrators behind the montage were members of the parallel structure (i.e. the Gulen Movement) and committed to beginning legal proceedings into the recording, as well as proving that it was a forgery. The recording was broadcast in Parliament by opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who claimed that new revelations would emerge in the following days and called for the Prime Minister to ‘grab a helicopter and flee the country or resign’. Legal proceedings began into Kılıçdaroğlu for broadcasting the recording to Parliament, with him being accused of acquiring the recording through illegal methods. Despite the investigation later being abandoned, the court decided to restart the case in June 2015. The MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli claimed that the tapes put minds into shock, adding that the unjustifiable recording would go down in Turkish history as a disgrace. The pro-government newspaper Star claimed that the government had received a report from an American company (John Marshall Media) confirming the recording to be a fake. However, the company CEO later took to Facebook stating that they did deal with legal verifications of tape recordings and stated that the report bearing their company name was a fake, announcing that they would look into possible legal action into their brand name being used unlawfully.” Wikipedia
March 13, 2014: Turkish local election, AKP party won “In a balcony speech declaring the AKP’s victory, Erdoğan claimed that the population had given him a mandate to continue his fight against the parallel structure. He further stated that the parallel structure’s treachery would not be forgotten and that he had been a victim of his own good intentions, which was a perceived reference to the AKP’s traditionally cosy relationship with Gulen. Finally, Erdoğan pledged to have Gulen’s sympathisers tried before the people and not the courts that they had ‘infiltrated’.” Wikipedia
May 31, 2014 Anti-Erdogan Protests at Istanbul’s Taksim square.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) announced Erdogan would be their presidential candidate and he won after a 40-day campaign on August 28, 2014. The main campaign slogans were People’s Man Erdogan and Bring Strength to Turkey. Wikipedia
July 15, 2014, Free Coal to the Turkish region of Izmir campaign
İdris Bal “formed the Democratic Progress Party (DGP) in November 2014, with many media outlets describing the party as the party of the Gulen Movement. Before the June 2015 general election however, Bal resigned as the leader of his new party, accusing the pro-Gulen media of limiting his party’s ability to reach out to voters. This cast doubt over initial claims that the DGP was a pro-Gulen political party.”Wikipedia
February 5, 2015 “The United States Congress has urged Secretary of State John Kerry to push Turkey for a free press after the raids on pro-Gulen newspapers that saw the arrest of Samanyolu TV director Hidayet Karaca [tr] and Zaman editor-in-chief Ekrem Dumanlı. Following the police raids on pro-Gulen media, the US Congress condemned Turkey for an “assault on democracy”.“
“On February 10, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi declared that the two countries plan to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant together.
On February 14, 2015, a delegation of Egyptian nuclear power experts and officials headed to Moscow to meet with Russian officials for talks on the Egyptian nuclear power-generation program to be implemented in partnership with Russia. The delegation in Russia included the head of Egypt’s Nuclear Power Plants Authority, Khalil Yaso, the head of the Egypt’s Atomic Energy Authority, Atef El-Kadim, and the deputy president of Egypt’s Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Authority, Walid Zeidan, in addition to officials from the ministry of electricity. The delegation visited nuclear energy training centers and nuclear power plants in Moscow.” Israel Defense
GreenZone Systems, Inc: Secure Chips with Fmr. CIA Director James Woolsey
What Michael Flynn Could Tell the Russia InvestigatorsBloomberg By David Kocieniewski and Lauren Etter “Kian was chairman of a Persian cultural nonprofit group, the Nowruz Commission, that gave him entree into high Washington circles. He built a relationship with former CIA Director James Woolsey and, in 2013, used it to get Flynn, then the Pentagon’s top intelligence officer, to support his computer chip company’s bid for a contract. The next year, when Flynn was forced out by the Obama administration, his friendship with Kian blossomed into a business partnership. Kian brought him into the chip company, GreenZone Systems Inc., as a board member. According to Flynn’s financial disclosure, GreenZone and its parent company paid him more than $150,000 in cash, plus an undisclosed amount of stock in 2015. Kian also helped fund and found Flynn Intelligence Group, the ex-general’s consulting firm, and served as a senior partner. While it’s been known that Flynn was advocating in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel in 2015 for a consortium seeking to build several dozen nuclear power reactors, it’s not been reported that he and Kian were also trying to sell GreenZone’s secure chips as part of the deal. Flynn lied about the trip in his federal disclosures.”
June 19, 2015 Saudis said set to build 16 nuclear reactors with Russian help The Times of Israel “Saudi Arabia and Russia reached an agreement on Friday under which Riydah is reportedly to build up to 16 nuclear reactors under Moscow’s supervision, further bolstering ties between the two countries days ahead of the deadline for nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers. According to Saudi owned al-Arabiaya TV, the agreement, which provides for the “peaceful use of nuclear technology,” was signed at a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at an economic forum in St. Petersburg. Saudi Arabia, which has no industrial nuclear power plants, has recently increased efforts to forge new regional alliances and pursue nuclear capabilities in part to ward off a perceived threat from Iran. The Saudi TV report quoted the Saudi ambassador to Russia Abdulrahman Al-Rassi as saying that Moscow plays an “important” role in implementing a United Nations Security Council call to “maintain stability and security in the world” — apparently a reference to a UN resolution urging the withdrawal of the Iranian-backed Houthi militias from Yemen. Beginning in March, Saudi Arabia has spearheaded a military coalition of nine Arab states in an effort to restore power to Yemen’s president Mansour Hadi, who was ousted by the Shiite rebels last year. Saudi concerns have led to meetings between Saudi and Israeli officials over fears that a weak nuclear accord with Tehran would leave the Islamic republic as a nuclear threshold state. Saudi and other Gulf officials have been pressing for the United States to supply advanced weapons like F-35 stealth fighters as well as a written security guarantee in the face of the threat from Iran. Last month, US President Barack Obama failed to reassure Gulf leaders that the nuclear deal would not embolden Iran to act more aggressively in the region.”
July 26, 2015 Kurdish Rebellion Resumes: A car bomb killed two soldiers, response was to crack down on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)
October 22, 2015: 26 people arrested in wiretapping scandalwithin the prime ministry (scandal ongoing in 2014)BBC
November 24, 2015 Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on its border with Syria BBC
November 19, 2015 “Egypt and Russia signed an agreement, under which Russia will build and finance Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, in a ceremony attended by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.”Israel Defense. Financed by a Russian bank loan
Rick DavisDavis/Manafort 1996 Dole Deputy Campaign Manager
Scott Reed, Dole Campaign Managerwho managed Robert J. Dole’s 1996 presidential campaign, with Davis as a deputy, said Davis deserves credit for “being the manager of the most amazing political comeback in modern political history.”
Roger Stone–UNPAID DOLE ADVISER RESIGNS: September 12, 1996 CHICAGO TRIBUNE “An unpaid consultant to Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole was forced to resign Thursday after two supermarket tabloids reported he and his wife had advertised for group sex. Consultant Roger Stone was a member of Dole’s “Clinton accountability team,” whose job was to point out inconsistencies in the president’s record…The National Enquirer and the Star said Stone used the Internet and a “swingers’ magazine” called Swing Fever to find couples or single men to join him and his wife for group sex. Clinton’s top political strategist, Dick Morris, resigned from the president’s campaign two weeks ago when the Star reported he had a year-long liaison with a prostitute with whom he had shared confidential White House information.”
USA v Paul J. Manafort Jr. and Richard Gates III Superseding Indictment February 2018. CRIMINAL NO. 1:18 Cr. 83 (TSE)(S-1) COUNTS 1–5: 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1); 18 * Subscribing to False United States PAUL J. MANAFORT, JR., * (Counts 1 through 5, 11 through 14, and * 24 through 32) * and * RICHARD W. GATES III, *(Counts 6 through 10 and 15 through 32) *; Assisting in the Preparation of False United States Individual IncomeTax Returns COUNTS 6–10: 26 U.S.C. § 7206(2); 18 * U.S.C. § 3551 et seq.;COUNTS 11–14: 31 U.S.C. §§ 5314 and * 5322(a); 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 3551 et seq Failure To File Reports Of Foreign Bank; COUNTS 15–19: 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1); * 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 3551 et seq. Subscribing to False United States Individual Income Tax Returns; COUNT 20: 26 U.S.C. § 7206(1); 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 3551 et seq. Subscribing to a False Amended United States Individual Income Tax Return; COUNTS 21–23: 31 U.S.C. §§ 5314 and 5322(a); 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 3551 et seq. Failure To File Reports Of Foreign Bank And Financial Accounts; COUNT 24: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and 3551 et seq. Bank Fraud Conspiracy; COUNT 25: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344, 2, and 3551 et seq. Bank Fraud; COUNT 26: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and 3551 Bank Fraud Conspiracy; COUNTS 27: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344, 2, and * 3551 et seq. Bank Fraud; COUNT 28–29: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and * 3551 et seq. Bank Fraud Conspiracy; COUNT 30: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344, 2, and * 3551 et seq. Bank Fraud; COUNT 31: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1349 and 3551 * et seq. Bank Fraud Conspiracy; COUNT 32: 18 U.S.C. §§ 1344, 2, and * 3551 et seq. Bank Fraud *FORFEITURE NOTICE
Donald Trump’s advisers waged covert influence campaign By Chad Day and Jeff Horwitz – Associated Press – Friday, August 19, 2016 “WASHINGTON (AP) — A firm run by Donald Trump’s campaign chairman directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s then-ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country’s pro-Russian government, emails obtained by The Associated Press show. Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.
The lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine’s then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her.
Gates personally directed the work of two prominent Washington lobbying firms in the matter, the emails show. He worked for Manafort’s political consulting firm at the time.
Manafort’s and Gates‘ activities carry outsized importance, since they have steered Trump’s campaign since April. The pair also played a formative role building out Trump’s campaign operation after pushing out an early rival. Trump shook up his campaign’s organization again this week, but Manafort and Gates retain their titles and much of their influence. The new disclosures about their work come as Trump faces criticism for his friendly overtures to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump said Thursday night that, if elected, he will ask senior officials in his administration not to accept speaking fees, for five years after leaving office, from corporations that lobby “or from any entity tied to a foreign government.” He said it was among his efforts to “restore honor to government.”
Manafort and Gates have previously said they were not doing work that required them to register as foreign agents. Neither commented when reached by the AP on Thursday.
The emails show Gates personally directed two Washington lobbying firms, Mercury LLC and the Podesta Group Inc., between 2012 and 2014 to set up meetings between a top Ukrainian official and senators and congressmen on influential committees involving Ukrainian interests. Gates noted in the emails that the official, Ukraine’s foreign minister, did not want to use his own embassy in the United States to help coordinate the visits.
Gates also directed the firms to gather information in the U.S. on a rival lobbying operation, including a review of its public lobbying disclosures, to determine who was behind that effort, the emails show.
And Gates directed efforts to undercut sympathy for Yulia Tymoshenko, an imprisoned rival of then-President Viktor Yanukovych. The Ukrainian leader eventually fled the country in February 2014 during a popular revolt prompted in part by his government’s crackdown on protesters and close ties to Russia.
The emails do not describe details about the role of Manafort, who was Gates‘ boss at the firm, DMP International LLC. Current and former employees at Mercury and the Podesta Group, some of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they are subject to non-disclosure agreements, told the AP that Manafort oversaw the lobbying efforts and spoke by phone about them. Gates was directing actions and seeking information during the project using an email address at DMP International, which he still uses.
Ukraine’s anti-corruption body, meantime, has released entries from once-secret accounting documents that purport to show payments from the pro-Russian political party earmarked for Manafort. The documents now released show Manafort’s name listed as a recipient of funds totaling $12.7 million in 22 line-item entries. Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau said, however, that it cannot prove that Manafort actually received the money because other people including a prominent Party of the Regions deputy signed for him in those entries.
Manafort did not return phone and email messages Thursday from the AP to discuss the project. After the AP reported earlier this week that Manafort helped the Ukrainian political party secretly route at least $2.2 million to the two Washington lobbying firms, Manafort told Yahoo News that the AP’s account was wrong. “I was not involved in any payment plans,” Manafort said.
Gates said Thursday he was busy with Trump campaign focus groups and promised to review the AP’s questions in writing, then did not respond.
Manafort also said in a statement earlier this week that he never performed work for the governments of Ukraine or Russia. Gates previously told the AP, “At no time did our firm or members provide any direct lobbying support.”
Under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act, people who lobby on behalf of foreign political leaders or political parties must provide detailed reports about their actions to the Justice Department. A violation is a felony and can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
The emails illustrate how Gates worked with Mercury and the Podesta Group on behalf of Ukrainian political leaders. None of the firms, nor Manafort or Gates, disclosed their work to the Justice Department counterespionage division responsible for tracking the lobbying of foreign governments.
“There is no question that Gates and Manafort should have registered along with the lobbying firms,” said Joseph Sandler of Sandler Reiff Lamb Rosenstein & Birkenstock, a Democratic-leaning Washington law firm that advises Republican and Democratic lobbyists.
Manafort and Gates have said that they did not disclose their activities to the Justice Department because they did not oversee lobbying efforts and merely introduced the Washington firms to a Brussels-based nonprofit, the European Center for a Modern Ukraine, which they said ran the project. The center paid Mercury and the Podesta Group a combined $2.2 million over roughly two years.
The emails appear to contradict the assertion that the nonprofit’s lobbying campaign operated independently from Manafort’s firm. In papers filed in the U.S. Senate, Mercury and the Podesta Group listed the European nonprofit as an independent, nonpolitical client. The firms said the center stated in writing that it was not aligned with any foreign political entity. The 1938 U.S. foreign agents law is intended to track efforts of foreign government’s unofficial operatives in the United States.
Political consultants are generally leery of registering under it, because their reputations can suffer once they are on record as accepting money to advocate the interests of foreign governments — especially if those interests conflict with America’s. Moreover, registering under the law would have required Gates, Manafort or the lobbying firms to disclose the specifics of their lobbying work and their efforts to sway public opinion through media outreach.
Ina Kirsch, who runs the European nonprofit, has said the group’s work was independent and its goal was to bring Ukraine into the fold of Europe. The center has declined for years to reveal specific sources of its funding. Gates confirmed to the AP previously that he was working for Ukraine’s ruling party, the Party of Regions, at the time.
The chairman of the Podesta Group, Tony Podesta — the brother of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta — said his firm believed Gates was working for the nonprofit. Podesta said he was unaware of the firm’s work for the Ukraine’s Party of Regions, led by Yanukovych. On Thursday, his firm said it had nothing new to add.
Mercury’s founder, Vin Weber, an influential Republican and former congressman, told the AP that his firm was aware of Manafort’s and Gates‘ affiliation with Ukraine’s political party and said Gates never participated in Mercury’s lobbying work. Weber did not respond to questions after the AP said it had obtained emails contradicting this.”Associated Press writers Maria Danilova, Desmond Butler, Bradley Klapper and researcher Monika Mathur contributed to this report. Washington TImes”
Paul Manafort’s protege has followed him around for years. “Election campaigns in Eastern Europe and Africa. Business ventures with a Russian tycoon. The upper ranks of Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign.
Mr. Gates survived Mr. Manafort’s purge last summer amid allegations that his mentor had taken millions of dollars from Kremlin allies, retaining a central role on Mr. Trump’s campaign and transition team. But Mr. Gates, 45, soon followed in Mr. Manafort’s footsteps once again: In April, amid new questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election, he was abruptly forced out of a lobbying group formed to advance President Trump’s agenda.
Now, Mr. Gates has been drawn into the burgeoning federal investigations into diplomatic and financial dealings between Russian interests and the president’s inner circle. In a newly disclosed memo, a lawyer for the Trump campaign ordered members of the president’s transition team to preserve records relating to five Trump associates, among them Mr. Manafort — already known to be a subject of the investigation — and Mr. Gates. The memo indicates that transition lawyers believe Mr. Gates’s actions are under scrutiny by the Justice Department or the House or Senate Intelligence Committees — or soon will be.
As investigators examine Mr. Manafort’s financial and political dealings at home and abroad, they are likely to run into Mr. Gates wherever they look. During the pair’s heady days in Ukraine, it was Mr. Gates who flew to Moscow for meetings with associates of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch. His name appears on documents linked toshell companies that Mr. Manafort’s firm set up in Cyprus to receive payments from politicians and businesspeople in Eastern Europe, records reviewed by The New York Times show.
Following an inquiry from the Department of Justice, Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort are also now weighing whether to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act in connection with an effort in Washington several years ago to burnish the image of a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.” NY Times June 16, 2017
There are many different intelligence agencies, each with a specific purpose and under different departments of the government.
The Director of National Intelligence oversees all 17 intelligence agencies. James Clapper was DNI under Obama, March 15, 2017, Dan Coats was confirmed.
Michael K. Atkinson was nominated by Trump to be inspector general of the Intelligence Community, Office of the Director of National Intelligence on November 2, 2017.
The FBI (Federal Bureau Investigation) only investigates crimes on US soil and provides information to the Justice Department (Attorney General and US Attorneys) to prosecute the crimes. Until May 9, 2017, James Comey was Director.
Christopher Wray became the replacement, a federal prosecutor who served as NJ Gov. Chris Christie’s criminal defense attorney during “Bridgegate” and “his law firm — King & Spalding — represents Rosneft and Gazprom, two of Russia’s largest state-controlled oil companies…Rosneft was prominently mentioned in the now infamous 35-page dossier prepared by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele. The dossier claims that the CEO of Rosneft, Igor Sechin, offered candidate Donald Trump, through Trump’s campaign advisor Carter Page, a 19% stake in the company in exchange for lifting U.S. sanctions on Russia. The dossier claims that the offer was made in July while Page was in Moscow. Rosneft is also the company that had a $500 billion oil drilling joint-venture with Exxon in 2012, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was Exxon’s CEO. However, the deal was nixed by President Obama in 2014, when he imposed the sanctions that crippled Russia’s ability to do business with U.S. companies. The lifting of sanctions by the Trump administration would enable Exxon to renew its joint venture agreement with Rosneft, and the law firm of King & Spalding could end up in the middle of the contract negotiations between those two companies. The law firm’s representation of Gazprom raises even more serious conflict issues for Wray. Gazprom was a partner in RosUkrEnergo AG (“RUE”), which is controlled by Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash. He is under federal indictment in Chicago for racketeering charges, has had numerous financial dealings with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and is generally considered to be a member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle” USA Today
The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has jurisdiction outside of the United States and works with the International Intelligence community to track dangerous people and everything else we see at the movies. Mike Pompeo is the Director.
The NSA (National Security Agency) Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers became Director of the NSA, Commander of the US Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and Chief of the Central Security Service (CSS) on April 3, 2014. On November 19, 2016, Defense Sec. Ashton Carter recommended he be removed for poor performance and James Clapper thought it wise for the head to be a civilian. Trump considered Rogers for head of the DNI but that went to Dan Coats. “His testimony Tuesday has sparked additional interest in the wake of reports that Trump asked him along with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia after then-FBI Director James Comey revealed in March that the bureau had launched a probe into alleged collusion.” Who is Mike Rogers? on CNN
Jared Kushner,Donald Trump Jr., Steve Bannon, Sam Clovis, Erik Prince: Criminal referral for prosecution by the Senate Intelligence Committee to the DC US Attorney‘s Office under Jessie Liu, who was fired and replaced by Trump AG Bill Barr‘s associate Tim Shea (charged in the “We Build The Wall” scam), who then reduced Roger Stone‘s sentence & dropped the case against Mike Flynn on May 7, 2020, who already pleaded guilty twice. Fmr. DC US Atty.Glenn Kirschner Explains ItNY AG Leticia James v.DONALD TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP,IVANKA TRUMP, ERIC TRUMP, THE DONALD J. TRUMP FOUNDATION founded in 1987 November 7, 2019; Ordered to pay $2 million “(1) breach of fiduciary duty and waste under New York’s Not-for- Profit Corporation Law (“N-PCL”) against the Individual Respondents; (2) failure properly to administer Foundation assets and waste under New York’s Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (“EPTL”) against the Individual Respondents; (3) wrongful related party transactions against Mr. Trump as defined in the N-PCL and EPTL; (4) dissolution of the Foundation under the N-PCL §§ 112 and 1101; (5) dissolution of the Foundation under the N-PCL §§ 112 and 1102; and (6) an injunction pending resolution of this proceeding.” Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016 Donald Trump for Vets.com video Mike Huckabee: Fundraiser for military veterans was actually a campaign organized and planned event. The campaign contributed $2.8 million to the Trump Foundation. The following day, named donors C-Span.
Ivanka Trump – Under FBI Counterintelligence Investigation for Trump for the brand-licensed Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver that opened a Ivanka Trump™ Spa in February 2017 & developed by Malaysian billionaire Joo Kim Tiah’s Holborn Group for $360 million after Tiah befriended Donald Trump Jr.. in 2013 & pitched Ivanka onOctober 21, 2015 at a “Trump Luxe” VIP condo service launch in the YVR London Aviation Centre . Holburn is backed by Tony Tiah Thee Kian, chairman of TA Enterprise, who has securities laws violations and made “false statements to the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange”CNN. Trump International Hotel Vancouver operator files for bankruptcy Daily Hive UrbanizedKenneth Chan. August 28, 2020 “Records obtained by Daily Hive Urbanized from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada show TA Hotel Management has total liabilities of $4.8 million and total assets of $1.1 million.”
Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku, Azerbaijan-Never opened (2008 conception), 2009-10 US Embassy cables exposed by WikiLeaks; May 2012 developer contracts with former maintenance engineer turned parliamentarian Elton Mammadov & Baghlan Group‘s Baku XXI Century ($2.5m), 2014 hotel announcement with architect Pierre Baillargeon & Mace of London, Backers: “notoriously corrupt” Ziya Mammadov, Azerbaijani Transportation Minister & an oligarch, supposedly using son Anar’s company and a Trump license, the family shell zqan. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (F.C.P.A.)-(Trump’s SEC Chair, Jay Clayton, wrote a 2011 paper against it. In 2000, 3 cases, in 2016, 54): US Companies cannot reward a foreign government officials in exchange for material or immaterial, preferential benefit. even unknowingly by avoiding discovery of a partner’s corruption (closing the “head in the sand” loophole; see Frederic Bourke of Dooney & Bourke sentenced 1 year in prison for Azerbaijani deal, 2009 ; Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRG)– When TIH&T Baku was conceived (2008), Ziya gave the 2008-incorporated construction company Azarpassillo millions in contracts for the Baku-Iranian Astara highway & more, chaired by Keyumars Darvishi who was head of the construction company, Raman, owned by the IRG‘s main financial arm, the Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation. Keyumars has been the acting director of brotherHabil’sTehran Metro Co. & was a Sardar/Sr. Official of theIRG, and brotherKamal runs theIRG-controlled & 2007 US-sanctioned for Iran nuclear missile development co., Nasr that makes ballistic missile guidance systems. The Trump Org. knew by 2015. The US considers the 150,000 independent theocratic military IRG a terrorist organization involved in Drug Trafficking & Money Laundering, and supports HezbollahNew Yorker
Grew up on Long Island, exposed to the first Mafiya boss of Brighton Beach, Evsei Agron via Uncle Morton Levine’s El Caribe Country Club in Brooklyn. Married Laura Shusterman in 1994, daughter of Fima Shusterman, brother’s father-in-law is Alex Oronov.
Russiagate: Ukrainian Peace Plan with Felix Sater, Felix Sater arranged a (LOI) from Russian oligarch Andrey Rozovto develop Trump Tower Moscow received October 13, 2015, on behalf of Trump Acquisition LLC. CNN on September 7, 2017, Laundering Russian mob money through Trump properties since 2007, officially.
Payoffs for Trump- $130,000 to Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels & $150,000 to Karen McDougal involving David Pecker of AMI/National Enquirer and Atty. Keith Davidson
Taxi Business Partners:
“Gene” Evgeny A. Freidman,taxi mogul controlling $1b of medallions in 2015, a Russian immigrant, pleaded guilty to avoiding $5m in tax May 2018 and agreed to be a cooperating witness. “Citibank’s attempted grab to cover [$31.5m of Friedman’s] past-due loans would “destroy the medallion market,” said fleet owner Gene Friedman’s lawyer, Brett Berman. In court Tuesday, Berman also claimed that putting Friedman, who controls 900 medallions, out of business would harm the public by slashing the number of cabs on the road.” NY Post March 24, 2015
Ukrainian-born partner, the “taxi king” Simon V. Garber via Shusterman
Ukrainian-born Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, opened “Cannaboss LLC” in NV on 11/7/16, which Cohen loaned $6m from 2014-18 against collateral property in Sunny Isles, FL. Shtayner was auto repair business partners in the 1990s with
Cohen’sUkrainian-born father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, who introduced Cohen to Trump and pleaded guilty in 1993 to federal money laundering in tax evasion case involving taxis. His business partners were Shalva Botier and Edward Zubok “More recently, Mr. Cohen and his father-in-law lent more than $25 million to a Ukrainian businessman who has a checkered financial record and a history of defaulting on loans. And Mr. Cohen long held a small stake in his uncle’s catering hall, which was frequented by Russian and Italian mobsters. On one day in 2014, he sold four buildings in Manhattan for $32 million, entirely in cash. That was nearly three times what he paid for them no more than three years earlier.” NY Times. Known among “Red Star” to funnel money into Sunny Isles and Trump Properties and Cohen was one of several attorneys who helped money launderers purchase apartments in a development in Sunny Isles Beach. Seth Hattena
Brother Bryan Cohen also married a Ukrainian woman and did business with her father, Alex Oronov.
South Florida Casino Boats The Atlantic and Victory 2went bust in 2003. Cohen, Arkady Vaygensberg(Ukrainian) and Leonid Tatarchuk(Ukrainian) were 30%/30%/30% partners. Atty David M. Goldstein established it, in business with Alvin Malnik (NJ Casino Control accused of Meyer Lansky mob associates in 1980, in 1970 acquitted for tax fraud). “At the same time that Atlantic Casino was operating in Miami Beach, one of the partners invested in a gambling boat in Tampa Bay. This casino was managed by Tatiana Varzar, a Brighton Beach restaurateur, and her husband, Michael, who had been sentenced to 52 months in federal prison for a tax scheme linked to four New York crime families. In 2008, Tatiana Varzar operated a catering company out of a Trump condominium in South Florida. A fourth, Valentin Laskov, controlled the remaining 10%. Cohen promised to finance the business with $1.5 million, while Laskov promised $800,000. Vaygensberg and Tatarchuk did not put up any money, but were given shares because of their “expertise and experience” in the casino industry.” Buzzfeed
A $75,000/year attorney since 1992, Michael Cohen gained Trump’s trust after Cohen’s condo board had decided to remove “Trump” from the building and Cohen gained residents’ support to replace the entire board and preserve the signage. Soon after Cohen became the Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization and “Special Counsel” to Trump at $500,000/year where he remained until January 2017 when he started Michael D. Cohen and Associates and Essential Consultants LLC. These firms operated from the NYC offices of Squire Patton Boggs. New York Law Journal April 2018. “Cohen also secured a substantial amount of consulting business for himself throughout 2017 by marketing to corporations what he claime to be unique insights about and access to Trump.” Sentencing Memorandum
Taxi Cab Medallions worth millions in NYC and Chicago provided Cohen monthly income.
“He grew up on Long Island, the son of a physician who survived the Holocaust in Poland, and like Tom Hagen [The Godfather Corleone consigliore] spent a childhood around organized crime, specifically the Russian Mafiya. Cohen’s uncle, Morton Levine, was a wealthy Brooklyn doctor who owned the El Caribe Country Club, a Brooklyn catering hall and event space that was a well-known hangout for Russian gangsters. Cohen and his siblings all had ownership stakes in the club, which rented for years to the first Mafiya boss of Brighton Beach, Evsei Agron, along with his successors, Marat Balagula and Boris Nayfeld. (Cohen’s uncle said his nephew gave up his stake in the club after Trump’s election.)
I spoke to two former federal investigators who told me Cohen was introduced to Donald Trump by his father-in-law, Fima Shusterman, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Ukraine who arrived in the U.S. in 1975. Shusterman was in the garment business and owned a fleet of taxicabs with his partners, Shalva Botier and Edward Zubok – all three men were convicted of a money-laundering related offense in 1993. “Fima may have been a (possibly silent) business partner with Trump, perhaps even used as a conduit for Russian investors in Trump properties and other ventures,” a former federal investigator told me. “Cohen, who married into the family, was given the job with the Trump Org as a favor to Shusterman.” (“Untrue,” Cohen told me. “Your source is creating fake news.”)
Shusterman, who owned at least four New York taxi companies, also set his son-in-law up in the yellow cab business. Cohen once ran 260 yellow cabs with his Ukrainian-born partner, the “taxi king”Simon V. Garber, until their partnership ended acrimoniously in 2012. Glenn Simpson, the private investigator who was independently hired to examine Trump’s Russia connections during the real estate mogul’s presidential run, testified before the House Intelligence Committee that Cohen “had a lot of connections to the former Soviet Union, and that he seemed to have associations with organized crime figures in New York and Florida – Russian organized crime figures,” including Garber.
A curious episode in Cohen’s life came in 1999 when he received a $350,000 check from a professional hockey player named Vladimir Malakhov, who was then playing for the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens. According to Malakhov, the check was a loan to a friend. The friend, however, swore in an affidavit that she never received the money and never even knew the check had been written until it was discovered years later in a Florida lawsuit. So what happened to the money? One interesting lead was an incident involving Malakhov, who was approached in Brighton Beach and shaken down for money by a man who worked for theRussian crime boss,Vyacheslav Ivankov.
Regardless of what he did or didn’t know Cohen was able to purchase a $1 million condo at Trump World Tower in 2001, persuading his parents, his Ukrainian in-laws and Garber to do the same in other Trump buildings. Cohen’s in-laws Fima and Ania Shusterman bought three units in Trump World Tower worth a combined $7.66 million (one of which was rented to Jocelyn Wildenstein, the socialite known as “Catwoman” for undergoing extreme facial plastic surgery to please her cat-loving husband [designer Lloyd Klein]). Cohen later purchased a nearly $5 million unit in Trump Park Avenue.In a five-year period, he and people connected to him would purchase Trump properties worth $17.3 million.”
Cohen and Felix Sater have known each other for nearly 30 years. They met in Brighton Beach when Cohen started dating his future wife, Shusterman’s daughter, Laura, who Sater says he knew from the neighborhood.” Cohen graduated law school in 1991 and started practicing in 1992, married 1994.
Regarding the Cohen-Vladimir Malakhov $350,000 check referenced above, shaken down by: Vyacheslav Ivankov-Yaponchik, friend of the Crocus Group and Real Estate co-developer of Trump Tower Moscow and co-organizer of the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow 2013, Araz Agalarov-Azerbaijani “underworld figure Hikmet Mukhtarov [who] was shot in a car registered in the name of Crocus’s co-founder, Rail Zeynalov…According to some sources, Vyacheslav Ivankov-Yaponchik (the one who was detained at the Trump Tower) was present at the Hikmet’s funeral in Azerbaijan. In turn, when Yaponchik was shot dead in 2009, Azerbaijani crime boss Mammad Masallinsky was noticed at his funeral…in the early 1990s, the group run by the thief in law Hikmet were in charge of security for Agalarov and his family. In the 90’s it was impossible to work without backing form the criminal world. Hikmet had a team of 500 “athletes”…Then the thieves became businessmen. ”
“In 1999, Mr. Cohen would find himself in the middle of a Sunny Isles real estate deal involving a hockey player [Vladimir Malakhov]and a purported figure from the Russian underworld. Nearly 20 years later, the details of the transaction remain unclear, but Mr. Cohen received a check for $350,000 from a Russian player for the Montreal Canadiens that was part of a deal involving an apartment in Sunny Isles. The player’s agent later testified that the money was intended to go to Vitaly Buslaev. Mr. Buslaev, who has been identified by multiple Russian media outlets as a Mafia figure, was a friend of one of Mr. Cohen’s business partners, according to two people who knew both men.
The son of a Holocaust survivor, Mr. Cohen grew up in the Five Towns area of Long Island, just east of the New York City borough of Queens. It was a comfortable life — both his father and an uncle were doctors, and he attended a local private school then called Woodmere Academy. “My cousins are all either lawyers or doctors,” Mr. Cohen told The New York Times last year.
One of those relatives was his uncle Dr. Morton W. Levine. Uncle Morty, as he was known to his family, had no children of his own, and he and Mr. Cohen were close. He even let his nephew drive his Bentley. Dr. Levine, a family practitioner, provided medical assistance to members of the Lucchese crime family, “which aided their illegal activities,” according to a sworn affidavit in 1993 from an F.B.I. special agent. The agent was involved in the investigation of the Lucchese underboss, Anthony (Gaspipe) Casso, who “regarded Levine as someone who would do anything for him,” according to the affidavit. That account was buttressed by testimony from a longtime Lucchese associate in an unrelated 2006 federal trial. In 1992, Dr. Levine bought Mr. Casso’s home while Mr. Casso was a fugitive. Dr. Levine has acknowledged in court documents that Mr. Casso was a patient. But he said he did not know that the house belonged to Mr. Casso and denied any wrongdoing.
Dr. Levine also owned El Caribe, a Brooklyn catering hall that for decades was the scene of mob weddings and Christmas parties. Two of New York’s most notorious Russian mobsters once maintained offices there. Mr. Cohen was among the minority owners of El Caribe, Dr. Levine has said, although he added that Mr. Cohen gave up his ownership stake after the 2016 election.
Dr. Levine had crossed paths with Mr. Trump years before his nephew went to work for him. The doctor was part of an investment group with some garment executives that unsuccessfully challenged Mr. Trump’s 1989 bid for the Atlantis Casino in Atlantic City.
Mr. Cohen began his professional legal career at a personal injury firm in 1992, the year after he graduated from Cooley Law School in Michigan. His boss at that first job would later plead guilty to bribery.” NY Times
“A significant business partner of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, has agreed to cooperate with the government as a potential witness, a development that could be used as leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen to work with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Under the deal reached with the New York attorney general’s office, the partner, Evgeny A. Freidman, a Russian immigrant who is known as the Taxi King, specifically agreed to assist government prosecutors in state or federal investigations, according to a person briefed on the matter.
In the 1990s, there was an informal group of federal and local law enforcement agents investigating the Russian Mafiya in New York that called themselves “Red Star.” They shared information they learned from informants. It was well known among the members of Red Star that Cohen’s father-in-law was funneling money into Trump ventures. Several sources have told me that Cohen was one of several attorneys who helped money launderers purchase apartments in a development in Sunny Isles Beach, a seaside Florida town just north of Miami. This was an informal arrangement passed word-of-mouth: “We have heard from Russian sources that … in Florida, Cohen and other lawyers acted as a conduit for money.”
A year after Trump World Tower opened in 2002, Trump had agreed to let Miami father-and-son developers Gil and Michael Dezer use his name on what ultimately became six Sunny Isles Beach condominium towers, which drew in new moneyed Russians all too eager to pay millions. “Russians love the Trump brand,” said Gil Dezer, who added that Russians and Russian-Americans bought some 200 of the 2,000 or so units in Trump buildings he built. A seventh Trump-branded hotel tower built up Sunny Isles into what ostensibly has become a South Florida Brighton Beach.
An investigation by Reuters found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in the seven Trump-branded luxury towers. And that was a conservative estimate. At least 703 – or about one-third – of the 2044 units were owned by limited liability companies, or LLCs, which could conceal the property’s true owner. Executives from Gazprom and other Russian natural resource giants also owned units in Trump’s Sunny Isles towers. In an observation that several people I spoke with echoed, Kenneth McCallion, a former prosecutor who tracked the flows of Russian criminal money into Trump’s properties, told me, “Trump’s genius – or evil genius – was, instead of Russian criminal money being passive, incidental income, it became a central part of his business plan.” McCallion continued, “It’s not called ‘Little Moscow’ for nothing. The street signs are in Russian. But his towers there were built specifically for the Russian middle-class criminal.”
Cohen joined the Trump Organization around the time that the second Sunny Isles tower was being built. A few years earlier, he had invested $1.5 million in a short-lived Miami-based casino boat venture run by his two Ukrainian business partners, Arkady Vaygensberg and Leonid Tatarchuk. Only three months after its maiden voyage, it would become the subject of a large fraud investigation. But Cohen was saved from his bad investment by none other than Trump himself, who hired Cohen as an attorney just before his casino ship sank. A source who investigated Cohen’s connections to Russia told me, “Say you want to get money into the country and maybe you’re a bit suspect. The Trump organization used lawyers to allow people to get money into the country.” NY Times
September 2015, During a radio interview, Cohen suggested that Trump meet with Putin during the UN General Assembly meeting in NY. Cohen discussed. Cohen lied; he spoke with Trump about contacting the Russian government before reaching out to gauge Russia’s interest. Sentencing Memorandum
November 2015, “Cohen received the contact information for, and spoke with, a Russian national who claimed to be a “trusted Person” in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a governments level.” The defendant [Cohen] recalled that this person repeatedly proposed a meeting between Individual 1 [Trump] and the [Putin]. The person told Cohen that such a meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact “not only in political but in a business dimension as well,” referring to the Moscow Project, because there is “no bigger warranty in any project than consent of [Putin]. ³[Cohen] explained that he did not pursue the proposed meeting, which did not take place, in part because he was working on the Moscow Project with a different individual who Cohen understood to have his own connections to the Russian government.Sentencing Memorandum
Cohen does not have a cooperation agreement or a 5K1.1 letter and is not a “cooperating witness.”
Willful Tax Evasion
From 2012-2016, Cohen underreported >$4m income, avoiding $1.4m tax, and “failed to report several different streams of income on his tax returns, which he swore were true and accurate. The largest source of undisclosed income was more than $2.4m that Cohen received from a series of personal loans that he made to a taxi operator [Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, Taxi Operator-1] to whom Cohen leased certain of his Chicago taxi medallions, between 2012-2015, for a total principal of $6m. Each of these loans carried an interest rate in excess of 12%. Cohen funded the majority of these loans from a line of credit with an interest rate of <5% (such that Cohen was earning a substantial spread on the difference between the two loan rates). Cohen received more than $2.4m in interest payments from [Shtayner] between 2012 and 2016. In 2014, Cohen received $100,000 for brokering the sale of a piece of property in a private aviation community in Florida. In 2015 Cohen made approximately $30,000 in profit from the sale of a rare and highly valuable French handbag. In 2016, Cohen received more than $200,000 in consulting income from an assisted living company. Cohen reported none of this to the IRS or his accountant.” Sentencing Memorandum
Cohen “and the lawyer’s father-in-law [Fima Shusterman] have lent $26 million in recent years to a taxi mogul with Chicago ties who is shifting into the legalized marijuana industry, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press. Ukraine-born Semyon “Sam” Shtayner, 63, “a longtime business associate of Michael Cohen’s father-in-law Fima Shusterman, created Nevada-based Cannaboss LLCa day before the 2016 election. “He personally manages over 500 taxi medallions, but he is looking to transition from the medallion business to the cannibas” [sic], according to the personal narrative that Shtayner submitted in October to city officials in Henderson, Nevada. It couldn’t be determined whether Shtayner used any of the loans — $6 million of which have come directly from Cohen since 2014 — to finance his grow operation.
Records show Shtayner’s wife Yasya Shtayner and companies they control have used their properties in Chicago and Sunny Isles, Florida, as collateral for the loans from Cohen and his father-in-law, the Chicago Sun-Times has reported. The business relationship among Cohen, Shusterman and Shtayner stretches back years. Property records in New York show Shtayner and Shusterman were among investors in an upper Manhattan taxi garage and auto repair shop in the 1990s.
Last August , Shusterman lent at least $12 million against Chicago properties owned by Yasya Shtayner or their companies, the Sun-Times has reported. In a second series of four transactions in March, Shusterman lent the Shtayners or their companies an additional $8 million. Four of the loans were made to Shtayner’s wife and four others were directed to two Chicago taxi companies she manages, according to corporate documents.
Cohen has a fleet of 22 cabs in Chicago and, with his wife and father-in-law, has owned 30 medallions in New York after initially going into business with his father-in-law, records show. Shusterman — who, like Shtayner, started as a cab driver after emigrating from Ukraine — pleaded guilty in 1993 to federal money-laundering charges in a tax-evasion case involving cab drivers and a Brooklyn accountant. Shtayner’s Chicago cab empire has grown rapidly, though 99 of his medallions are in foreclosure, and 15 have some sort of violation. Forty-nine have been taken over by the city for failure to pay taxes and fees.” Chicago Sun-Times
Making False Statements to a Financial Institution
December 2015 HELOC application (“Bank-3”) failing to disclose >$20m and $70,000 monthly interest payments for debt to (“Bank-2”) “By February 2013, Cohen had obtained a $14m Lin of credit from (“Bank-1”), collateralized by his taxi medallions. Cohen separately maintained a $6.4m medallion-related loan with Bank-1. This loan as disclosed in Cohen’s subsequent credit applications to Bank-2 and Bank-3. In November 2014, Cohen refinanced this medallion debt at Bank-1 with Bank-2. Bank-2 shared the debt with a New York-based credit union, pursuant to a participation agreement. For ease of reference, this memorandum will simply refer to the debt at Bank-2. The transaction was structured as a package of individual loans to the entities that owned Cohen’s New York medallions, totaling more than $20m, and personally guaranteed by Cohen. Following the closing of these loans, the $14m line of credit with Bank-1 was closed. In 2013, Cohen made a successful application to Bank-3–the bank to which he later would make false statements in connection with the HELOC application-for a mortgage on his Park Ave. condominium. In that application, Cohen did not disclose the $14m line of credit he had with Bank-1 at the time. In February 2015, Cohen attempted to secure financing from Bank-3 to purchase a summer home for approximately $8.5m. Once again, he concealed the $14m line of credit, which by this point took the form of the $20m in refinanced loans with Bank-2. In connection with the summer home application, Cohen had to go to great and deliberate lengths to keep the debt hidden from Bank-3…In 2017 and early 2018, Cohen wanted Bank-2 to restructure his more than $20m in medallion debt on terms more favorable to Cohen. Cohen thus shifted gears, halting monthly payments to Bank-2 and falsely representing orally and in writing that he had a negative net worth and less than $1.5m in cash, despite his receipt of nearly $4m in “consulting” fees between January 2017 and March 2018. By early April 2018, Bank-2 and Cohen reached a deal in principle, premised on Bank-2’s receipt of an updated personal financial statement confirming, in writing, the negative financial information represented by Cohen. On April 9, 2018, the FBI executed a series of search warrants on Cohen, including at his residence, hotel, and office, which put him on notice that he was being investigated for, among other things, bank fraud and explicitly referenced Bank-2…To save the deal,Cohen agreed to post his Park Ave. residence as collateral, which he had previously refused to do. An updated financial statement Cohen provided at closing reflected a positive $17m net worth in addition to previously undisclosed liquid assets, a nearly $20m increase from the false financial information Cohen had provided to Bank-2 just weeks earlier in the negotiations.” Sentencing Memorandum
Illegal Campaign Contributions-Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels
“During the campaign, Cohen played a central role in two similar schemes to purchase the rights to stories-each from women who claimed to have had an affair with Trump-so as to suppress the stories and thereby prevent them from influencing the election. With respect to both payments, Cohen acted with the intern to influence the 2016 presidential election. Cohen coordinated his actions with one or more members of the campaign, including through meetings and phone calls, about the fact, nature, and timing of the payments. In particular, and as Cohen himself has now admitted, with respect to both payments, he acted in coordination with and at the direction of Trump. As a result of Cohen’s actions, neither woman spoke to the press prior to the election.” Sentencing Memorandum
“In August 2014, Chairman-1 [David Pecker] had met with Cohen and Trump, and had offered to help deal with negative stories about Trump’s relations with women by identifying such stories so that they could be purchased and “killed.” Consistent with that offer, after Editor-1 [Dylan Howard] told Pecker about McDougal’s story, they contacted Cohen to tell him about the offer…Between August 2016 and September 2016, Cohen agreed with Pecker to assign the rights the non-disclosure portion of AMI’s agreement with McDougal to Cohen for $125,000. Cohen then incorporated a shell entity called “Resolution Consultants LLC” to be used in the transaction. Both Pecker and Cohen ultimately signed the agreement, and a consultant for AMI, using his own shell entity, provided Cohen with an invoice for the payment of $125,000. That assignment was never completed, however.” Sentencing Memorandum
“On October 8, 2016, an agent for (“Woman-2”) [Stephanie Clifford a.k.a. Stormy Daniels] informed Dylan Howard that she was willing to make public statements and confirm on the recorder alleged past affair with Trump. Pecker and Howard contacted Cohen and put him in touch with Attorney-1 [Keith Davidson], who was [representing McDougal and Clifford]. Over the course of the next few days, Cohen negotiated a $130,000 agreement with Davidson to purchase Clifford’s silence. Cohen received a signed confidential settlement agreement and a separate side letter from Davidson. Cohen did not immediately execute the settlement agreement, nor did he pay Clifford. On the evening of October 25, 2016, with no final deal in place with Clifford, Davidson told Howard that Clifford was close to completing a deal with a media outlet, under which she would make her story public. Howard texted Cohen that “[w]e have to coordinate something on the matter [Davidson is] calling you about or it could look awfully bad for everyone.” Pecker and Howard then called Cohen through and encrypted telephone application. Cohen agreed to make the payment and then called Davidson to finalize the deal. On October 26, 2016, Cohen emailed an incorporating service to obtain the corporate formation documents for another shell corporation, Essential Consultants, LLC, which he had incorporated a few days prior. That afternoon, he directed that $131,000 from his HELOC – the same HELOC he had obtained by means of false statements, see p. 8-10, supra – be deposited into an account he had just opened in the name of Essential Consultants LLC. The next day, Cohen wired $130,000 from that account to Davidson. On the wire form, Cohen falsely indicated that the purpose of the wire was to pay a “retainer.” On November 1, 2016, Cohen received copies of the final, signed confidential settlement agreement and side letter agreement from Davidson.
After the election, Cohen sought reimbursement for election-related expenses, including the $130,000 payment he had made to Clifford. Cohen presented an executive of the Company with a copy of a bank statement reflecting the $130,000 wire transfer. Cohen also requested reimbursement of an additional $50,000, which represented a claimed payment for campaign- related “tech services.” Executives of the Company agreed to reimburse Cohen by adding$130,000 and $50,000, “grossing up” that amount to $360,000 for tax purposes, and adding a$60,000 bonus, such that Cohen would be paid $420,000 in total. Executives of the Company decided to pay the $420,000 in monthly installments of $35,000 over the course of a year.
At the instruction of an executive for the Company, Cohen sent monthly invoices to the Company for these $35,000 payments, falsely indicating that the invoices were being sent pursuantto a “retainer agreement.” The Company then falsely accounted for these payments as “legal expenses.” In fact, no such retainer agreement existed and these payments were not “legal expenses” – Cohen in fact provided negligible legal services to Trump or the Company [Trump Organization] in 2017 – but were reimbursement payments. Cohen then received the $420,000 during the course of 2017.
“They each involve deception, and were each motivated by personal greed and ambition. While Cohen-as his own submission makes clear-already enjoyed a privileged life, his desire for even greater wealth and influence precipitated an extensive course of criminal conduct.”
Cohen first gave a written response to Congress in late August 2017, and then in a public appearance in October 2017, lied that Trump Tower Moscow “was terminated in January of 2016”. “By presenting this false narrative, the defendant deliberately shifted the timeline of what had occurred in the hopes of limiting the investigations into possible Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election-an issue of heightened national interest…The fact that Cohen continued to work on the project and discuss it with [Trump] well into the campaign was material to the ongoing congressional and SCO investigations…Similarly it was material that Cohen, during the campaign, had a substantive telephone call about the project with an assistant to the press secretary for the President of Russia.”
August 7, 2018, Cohen requested a meeting, and September 12, 2018, Cohen was interviewed by Mueller’s SCO during 7 proffer sessions. After pleading guilty in US v Cohen, 18-cr-00602-WHP, he admitted to prior false statements about Trump Tower Moscow. He admitted to”discussion during the first half of 2016 about the possibility of travel to Russia in connection with the Moscow Project…Cohen explained financial aspects of the deal that would have made it highly lucrative for the Company and himself. The information provided by Cohen about the Moscow Project in these proffer sessions is consistent with and corroborated by other information obtained in the course of the SCO’s investigation.”
November 29, 2018, Cohen pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements to Congress, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)
Hon. William H. Pauley III, US Attorneys: Robert Khuzami, Andrea M. Griswold, Rachel Maimin, Thomas McKay, Nicolas Roos October 11, 2018: The New York Times sought “an order unsealing materials related to certain searches conducted in connection with the above-referenced case.” SDNY Intent to oppose request before November 2. h/t @SpicyFiles
William Barr, Attorney General for the US, not Trump, but neither acts like it.
Don McGahn– Trump’s White House Council;George W Bush-appointed Chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC-July 10, 2008 – December 31, 2008) during Citizens United & the non-profit’s president, David Bossie, suggested that Trump use McGahn as his campaign lawyer; Trump Transition Team attorney, disobeyed Congressional Subpoena & overruled by federal court of appeals; Uncle Patrick McGahn, a NJ attorney worked for Trump on casino projects earning his namesake bar, “Paddy’s Saloon” at the Atlantic City Trump Taj Mahalbefore they fell “out over billings…During the campaign, Mr. McGahn helped lead the development of a list of 21 candidates Mr. Trump said he would consider for the court, according to people involved in the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity…Jones Day, with Benjamin Ginsberg, a colleague at the firm who was a mentor to Mr. McGahn when he was starting out in election law…Ann M. Ravel, another Democratic commissioner, who joined the panel after Mr. McGahn, said she found it “shocking” that Mr. McGahn would be the president’s top legal adviser. “His record indicates that he’s not particularly concerned about conflicts or ethics issues,” she said…“I don’t see any way that Don McGahn is going to be a yes man,” said Bradley A. Smith, a professor in election law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, who has worked with Mr. McGahn on election issues…At one hearing at the election commission in 2011, Mr. McGahn ripped the pages out of an election regulation book and tossed the scraps in the air to demonstrate his claim that Democratic commissioners were ignoring their own rules in a case involving ads by American Crossroads, the conservative group founded by Karl Rove. “I just don’t understand how you can do this,” he said…His clients have included Tom DeLay, the former House majority leader from Texas, who resigned in 2006 under indictment and a cloud of ethics charges; Bob Ney, a former Ohiocongressman imprisoned in the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal; and, this year,Aaron Schock, the former Illinois congressman who redesigned his congressional office in a “Downton Abbey” style and was indicted last month on charges of misspending about $100,000. (Mr. McGahn no longer represents him.)..Mr. McGahn’s first big prize for Mr. Trump came 10 months ago in the Republican primary contest in New Hampshire, where Mr. McGahn went to court to fight efforts to keep Mr. Trump off the ballot on procedural grounds.” New York Times
Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., Steve Bannon, Sam Clovis,Erik Prince: Criminal referral for prosecution by the Senate Intelligence Committee to the DC US Attorney‘s Office under Jessie Liu, who was fired and replaced by Trump AG Bill Barr‘s associate Tim Shea (charged in the “We Build The Wall” scam), who then reduced Roger Stone‘s sentence & dropped the case against Mike Flynn on May 7, 2020, who already pleaded guilty twice. Fmr. DC US Atty.Glenn Kirschner Explains It NY AG Leticia James v.DONALD TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP,IVANKA TRUMP, ERIC TRUMP, THE DONALD J. TRUMP FOUNDATION founded in 1987 November 7, 2019; Ordered to pay $2 million “(1) breach of fiduciary duty and waste under New York’s Not-for- Profit Corporation Law (“N-PCL”) against the Individual Respondents; (2) failure properly to administer Foundation assets and waste under New York’s Estates, Powers and Trusts Law (“EPTL”) against the Individual Respondents; (3) wrongful related party transactions against Mr. Trump as defined in the N-PCL and EPTL; (4) dissolution of the Foundation under the N-PCL §§ 112 and 1101; (5) dissolution of the Foundation under the N-PCL §§ 112 and 1102; and (6) an injunction pending resolution of this proceeding.” Des Moines, Iowa on January 28, 2016 Donald Trump for Vets.com video Mike Huckabee: Fundraiser for military veterans was actually a campaign organized and planned event. The campaign contributed $2.8 million to the Trump Foundation. The following day, named donors C-Span.
Ivanka Trump – Under FBI Counterintelligence Investigation for Trump for the brand-licensed Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver that opened a Ivanka Trump™ Spa in February 2017 & developed by Malaysian billionaire Joo Kim Tiah’s Holborn Group for $360 million after Tiah befriended Donald Trump Jr.. in 2013 & pitched Ivanka onOctober 21, 2015 at a “Trump Luxe” VIP condo service launch in the YVR London Aviation Centre . Holburn is backed by Tony Tiah Thee Kian, chairman of TA Enterprise, who has securities laws violations and made “false statements to the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange”CNN. Trump International Hotel Vancouver operator files for bankruptcy Daily Hive UrbanizedKenneth Chan. August 28, 2020 “Records obtained by Daily Hive Urbanized from the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada show TA Hotel Management has total liabilities of $4.8 million and total assets of $1.1 million.”
Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku, Azerbaijan–Never opened (2008 conception), 2009-10 US Embassy cables exposed by WikiLeaks; May 2012 developer contracts with former maintenance engineer turned parliamentarian Elton Mammadov & Baghlan Group‘s Baku XXI Century ($2.5m), 2014 hotel announcement with architect Pierre Baillargeon & Mace of London, Backers: “notoriously corrupt” Ziya Mammadov, Azerbaijani Transportation Minister & an oligarch, supposedly using son Anar’s company and a Trump license, the family shell zqan. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (F.C.P.A.)-(Trump’s SEC Chair, Jay Clayton, wrote a 2011 paper against it. In 2000, 3 cases, in 2016, 54): US Companies cannot reward a foreign government officials in exchange for material or immaterial, preferential benefit. even unknowingly by avoiding discovery of a partner’s corruption (closing the “head in the sand” loophole; see Frederic Bourke of Dooney & Bourke sentenced 1 year in prison for Azerbaijani deal, 2009 ; Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRG)– When TIH&T Baku was conceived (2008), Ziya gave the 2008-incorporated construction company Azarpassillo millions in contracts for the Baku-Iranian Astara highway & more, chaired by Keyumars Darvishi who was head of the construction company, Raman, owned by the IRG‘s main financial arm, the Islamic Revolution Mostazafan Foundation. Keyumars has been the acting director of brotherHabil’sTehran Metro Co. & was a Sardar/Sr. Official of theIRG, and brotherKamal runs theIRG-controlled & 2007 US-sanctioned for Iran nuclear missile development co., Nasr that makes ballistic missile guidance systems. The Trump Org. knew by 2015. The US considers the 150,000 independent theocratic military IRG a terrorist organization involved in Drug Trafficking & Money Laundering, and supports HezbollahNew Yorker
July 28, 2020-Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak sentenced “to 12 years in jail on one count of abuse of power, 10 years each for three counts of criminal breach of trust, and 10 years each for three counts of money laundering, as well as a fine of 210 million ringgit ($49.4 million). But he ordered the sentences to run concurrently, meaning that Najib will face only up to 12 years in jail.” AP
The committee also authorized subpoenas to current and former Trump administration officials related to the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that led to the separation last year of migrant families who crossed the southern border illegally. The vote was approved on party lines, 21-12.”
Thus far, the most visible example of “obstruction” is the firing of James Comey as FBI Director on May 9. In his testimony on June 8, 2017, he stated that he felt he was fired for how he was handling the Russian investigation. On June 9, Rep. Al Green-TX filed for articles of impeachment, based upon Comey’s firing. His proposed replacement was Christopher Wray, later FBI director, but “Bridgegate” defense attorney for Trump’s friend NJ Gov. Chris Christie. Wray’s law firm represents the Russian state-owned oil giants Gazprom and Rosneft, whose biggest deal in history with Sec. of State Rex Tillerson‘s ExxonMobil was stopped by Obama’s sanctions for annexing Crimea and Ukraine. These sanctions were the subject of a June 9, 2016, meeting between Russians including Natalia Veselnitskayaand the Trump Campaign.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) called on Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) to invite Trump before panel to testify under oath as Trump declared in the Rose Garden press conference following Comey’s testimony. The HillLetter June 9, 2017
Preet Bharara on ABC News, June 11, 2017 There’s “absolutely evidence” to begin obstruction of justice case on Trump: Bharara
“Trump spoke to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers after Comey revealed in March that the bureau had launched a probe into alleged collusion. Both Coats and Rogers were uncomfortable with the nature of the President’s request and refused to comply, the sources with knowledge of the situation told CNN.” CNN
“I hope you can let this go,” the president told Mr. Comey, according to the memo.
The documentation of Mr. Trump’s request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and F.B.I. investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia. Late Tuesday, Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee, demanded that the F.B.I. turn over all “memoranda, notes, summaries and recordings” of discussions between Mr. Trump and Mr. Comey.”
Such documents, Mr. Chaffetz wrote, would “raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede” the F.B.I.
Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo.” NY Times
“Graham on Sunday called for legislation to protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III; House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) dismissed the idea. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) decries attacks on the Mueller; House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) lifts not a finger to restrain, let alone remove, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who is prepared to endanger national security with the release of his memo and spends waking hours thinking up new smears to hurl at the intelligence community.
The Senate Intelligence Committee faced “specious” claims of executive privilege from the White House counsel’s office that impeded a years-long and bipartisan probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to the committee’s final report in the investigation released Tuesday.”
“The new rule states that records created, generated or received by the congressional office of a House member “are exclusively the personal property of the individual member” and that the member “has control over such records,” according to a report by OpenSecrets.org. After congressional ethics experts, voters, and President-elect Donald Trump forced House Republicans to back down last week from a rules change that would have eviscerated the independent Office of Congressional Ethics, one important sentence quietly slipped through another rule change. That sentence enables individual members to hide official documents that could prove embarrassing or even incriminating if they were suddenly investigated by the ethics office or the Justice Department for criminal activity. Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, said Monday that the rules change “is not good” and threatens to erode ethical oversight in government further. She said it leads to a situation where “There’s no cop on the beat – that we’ve lost a critical element of independent oversight” over government records and members’ activities.” Business Insider
It’s become clear that Putin intends to sway elections in the Western world. The US, France and UK have been hacked and the US election was influenced by the combined efforts of hackers, American voices of the Alt-Right and the trolls from the US and abroad. Actual interference into voter rolls and machine vote tallies is being investigated…but not by the agency designed to investigate. Trump’s shutting that down…and instead suggesting a Cyber Security Taskforce with Putin himself at the G20 summit. Many speculate that Putin’s trying to win the war without firing a bullet, so to speak… taking over one free country at a time and encouraging authoritarian, far-right regimes which restrict women’s rights and freedoms of all kinds.
Foreign governments hacking US elections is a real threat. We need to be ready. “According to the NSA, the Russian government began its hacking efforts by attempting to infiltrate an American election technology vendor that the Intercept says is a Florida-based company called VR Systems. The attackers used a “spear phishing” technique, sending personalized emails to several employees of the company to try to trick the employees into entering their passwords into a fake Google login form.Next, the attackers posed as employees of the voting technology company to attack election officials in jurisdictions that used the company’s products. Using real documentation stolen from VR Systems, the hackers created malicious Microsoft Word documents that compromise a victim’s computer when they are opened. The documentation was for EVid, software that manages the voter checkin process at a polling place. We don’t know how many of those 122 election officials clicked on the malicious link and had their computers compromised. We don’t know if Russian spies did anything malicious once they gained access. The attackers sent out malicious emails to 122 election officials around the country” —Vox News
September 1, 2016 – During an interview with Bloomberg News,President Vladimir Putin says that he and the Russian government have no ties to the hackers. He says that the identity of the culprit or culprits is not as important as the content of the leaks, and ultimately the hackers revealed important information for voters.
September 22, 2016 – Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Adam Schiff, ranking members of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, issue a joint statement declaring that based on information they received during congressional briefings, they believe that Russian intelligence agencies are carrying out a plan to interfere with the election. They call on Putin to order a halt to the activities.
October 6, 2016 – DCLeaks, a self-described collective of “hacktivists” seeking to expose the influence of special interests on elected officials, publishes a batch of documents stolen from Clinton ally Capricia Marshall.
January 5-6, 2017 – Intelligence officials meet separately with Obama and Trump to present the results of their probe into cyber espionage during the presidential campaign. After the president and the president-elect are briefed, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence releases a declassified version of the report. According to the report, hackers did not breach voting machines or computers that tallied election results but Russians meddled in other ways. Among the findings: Putin ordered a multifaceted influence campaign that included hacking and pro-Trump propaganda; bracing for a possible Clinton win, Russian bloggers were prepared to spread a hashtag #DemocracyRIP on Election Night; paid social media users, aka “trolls,” shared stories about Clinton controversies to create a cloud of scandal around her campaign.
February 13, 2017 –Flynn resigns. In his resignation letter, he explains that, “because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the Vice President Elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador.”
July 12, 2017 Cyber Berkut started publishing emails starting a rumor that was played on Fox News for the next 5 days. It is believed to be an alter ego of Fancy Bear, pro-Russian hacker group Rachel Maddow Show
Quoting the Steele Dossier about planting malware in cheap Russian IT games: “In terms of the FSB’s recruitment of capable cyber operatives to carry out its, ideally deniable, offensive cyber operations, a Russian IT specialist with direct knowledge reported in June 2016 that this was often done using coercion and blackmail. In terms of ‘foreign’ agents, the FSB was approaching US citizens of Russian (Jewish) origin on business trips to Russia. In one case a US citizen of Russian ethnicity had been visiting Moscow to attract investors in his new information technology program.
The FSB clearly knew this and had offered to provide seed capital to this person in return for them being able to access and modify his IP, with a view to targeting priority foreign targets by planting a Trojan virus in the software. The US visitor was told this was common practice. The FSB also had implied significant operational success as a result of installing cheap Russian IT games containing their own malware unwittingly by targets on their PCs and other platforms.
In a more advanced and successful FSB operation, an IT operator inside a leading Russian SOE, who previously had been employed on conventional (defensive) IT work there, had been under instruction for the last year to conduct an offensive cyber operation against a foreign director of the company. Although the latter was apparently an infrequent visitor to Russia, theFSB now successfully had penetrated his personal IT and through this had managed to access various important institutions in the West through the back door.
6. The senior Russian government figure cited above also reported that non-state sponsored cyber crime was becoming an increasing problem inside Russia for the government and authorities there. The Central Bank of Russia claimed that in 2015 alone there had been more than 20 attempts at serious cyber embezzlement of money from corresponding accounts held there, comprising several billions Roubles. More generally, s/he understood there were circa 15 major organised crime groups in the country involved in cyber crime, all of which continued to operate largely outside state and FSB control. These included the so-called ‘Anunak’, ‘Buktrap‘ and ‘Metel’ organisations.
– Further evidence of extensive conspiracy between campaign team and Kremlin, sanctioned at highest levels and involving Russian diplomatic staff based in the US
– TRUMP associate admits Kremlin behind recent appearance of DNC e-mails on WikiLeaks, as means of maintaining plausible deniability
– Agreed exchange of information established in both directions.
Team using moles within DNC and hackers in the US as well as outside in Russia. PUTIN motivated by fear and hatred of Hillary CLINTON. Russians receiving intel from team on Russian oligarchs and their families in US
– Mechanism for transmitting this intelligence involves ‘pension’ disbursements to Russian emigres living in US as cover, using consular officials in New York, DC and Miami
– Suggestion from source close to TRUMP and MANAFORT that Republican campaign team happy to have Russia as media bogeyman to mask more extensive corrupt business ties to China and other emerging countries”
Trump’s Server, Revisited “Sorting through the new evidence, and competing theories, about the Trump server that appeared to be communicating with a Russian bank. By Franklin FoerSlate November 2, 2016 “In a detailed post critiquing my piece, cybersecurity expert Rob Graham wrote, “The evidence available on the Internet is that Trump neither (directly) controls the domain trump-email.com, nor has access to the server.” This echoes the point raised by Vox, the Intercept, and others that the server was not operated by the Trump Organization directly. Rather, it was run and managed by Cendyn, a vendor that organizes email marketing campaigns for hotels and resorts…I entered the internet protocal address for mail1.trump-email.com to check if it ever showed up in Spamhaus and DNSBL.info. There were no traces of the IP address ever delivering spam…There’s a much smaller spike during the Democratic convention and no apparent increase before or during the Republican convention,” he noted. “In short, this chart seems to be totally unrelated to the political calendar.” He wonders why the largest spike occurs in August, after the party conventions. This happened to be a moment of potential interest in Russia, since those weeks were the denouement of the Paul Manafort era in the Trump campaign, with the exposure of logs showing he received $12.7 million in off-the-book payments from the Putin-backed Party of Regions. But Lee’s fundamental response is understandable: The chart shows possible correlations, not proven causation. There were reports that the Trump campaign had ordered the Republican Party to rewrite its platform position on Ukraine, maneuvering the GOP toward a policy preferred by Russia, though the Trump campaign denied having a hand in the change. Then Trump announced in an interview with the New York Times his unwillingness to spring to the defense of NATO allies in the face of a Russian invasion. Trump even invited Russian hackers to go hunting for Clinton’s emails, then passed the comment off as a joke. (I wrote about Trump’s relationship with Russia in early July.) After Tea Leaves posted his analysis on Reddit, a security blogger who goes by Krypt3ia expressed initial doubts—but his analysis was tarnished by several incorrect assumptions, and as he examined the matter, his skepticism of Tea Leaves softened somewhat. I asked nine computer scientists—some who agreed to speak on the record, some who asked for anonymity—if the DNS logs that Tea Leaves and his collaborators discovered could be forged or manipulated. They considered it nearly impossible.
* * *
Tea Leaves and his colleagues plotted the data from the logs on a timeline. What it illustrated was suggestive: The conversation between the Trump and Alfa servers appeared to follow the contours of political happenings in the United States. “At election-related moments, the traffic peaked,” according to Camp. There were considerably more DNS lookups, for instance, during the two conventions.
In September, the scientists tried to get the public to pay attention to their data. One of them posted a link to the logs in a Reddit thread. Around the same time, the New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau and Steven Lee Myers began chasing the story.* (They are still pursuing it.) Lichtblau met with a Washington representative of Alfa Bank on Sept. 21, and the bank denied having any connection to Trump. (Lichtblau told me that Times policy prevents him from commenting on his reporting.) Slate
The spike in August was at the same time the Mercer camp and their SuperPac money publicly joined Trump, with Kellyanne Conway replacing Paul Manafort as Campaign Director and Steve Bannon getting more heavily involved in the Campaign.
4/3/17 Keith Olberman on Trump’s panic over the Russian election hack, which may be about Cambridge Analytica getting the official voter information rolls from about 20 States. Cambridge Analytica has been run by Steve Bannon and owned by Trump’s savior donors, Robert and Rebekah Mercer. Mikhael Kalugin identified as the Steele Dossier Russian spy under surveillance at the US Embassy, and the key player in the election scheme, suddenly pulled back to Moscow.
Trump gave a speech in New York City on June 22, which was written to be delivered on June 9, the same day as the Campaign was anticipating receiving Kompromat, or a Blackmail File, on Clinton’s campaign. The press conference was delayed until the 22nd because of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. The same day as this speech was delivered, the Trump Tower – Alfa Bank Pings began.Full Transcript and Video on Politico. “Because it’s not just the political system that’s rigged. It’s the whole economy. It’s rigged by big donors who want to keep down wages. It’s rigged by big businesses who want to leave our country, fire our workers, and sell their products back into the U.S. with absolutely no consequences for them. It’s rigged by bureaucrats who are trapping kids in failing schools. It’s rigged against you, the American people. Hillary Clinton has perfected the politics of personal profit and theft. She ran the State Department like her own personal hedge fund – doing favors for oppressive regimes, and many others, in exchange for cash. Then there are the 33,000 emails she deleted. While we may not know what is in those deleted emails, our enemies probably do. So they probably now have a blackmail file over someone who wants to be President of the United States. This fact alone disqualifies her from the Presidency. We can’t hand over our government to someone whose deepest, darkest secrets may be in the hands of our enemies.”
June 22, 2016: “10 days after Trump’s Reddit gets a big spike in members, less than 2 weeks post-Jr.’s meeting, Trump Tower -Alfa Bank pings begin. Seth Abramson
He faces a maximum 30 years in prison and up to $1m in fines if convicted on charges including computer intrusion, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy, damaging computers and trafficking in illegal access devices.
Meanwhile, Russia has responded to the American extradition request against Nikulin by tabling one of its own, demanding that he be returned to face allegations dating back to 2009 that he hacked another person’s bank account and stole 111,000 roubles (£1,465).
“He was never formally accused at that time. I think the reason is that he was recruited [by the Russian security services],” said Ondrej Kundra, political editor with the Czech weekly magazine Respekt, which has reported that the Russian services offer alleged offenders immunity from prosecution in exchange for collaboration.
“There’s intense lobbying in this case. People from the US and Russian side are talking to the Czech authorities because both really want Nikulin in their countries.”
One theory is Nikulin – even if not personally involved in the election hacking – may know other hackers who were.
Fuelling speculation is the existence of sealed US court documents, tabled six days after the original indictment against Nikulin on 20 October but whose contents have not been revealed.
“A number of documents were filed under seal, which means you cannot talk about them,” a US justice department spokesman told the Guardian.
Adam Kopecky, Nikulin’s Czech lawyer, said his client denied both the US and Russian charges and suggested he had become a political pawn. “My client and myself think it’s a political affair,” Kopecky said.
“Given the international situation, when one superpower accuses a citizen of the other of hacking their computers and then the other superpower accuses the same citizen of another crime, it’s kind of strange.”
Nikulin has suffered health problems since his arrest, his lawyer said.
Kopecky lodged an official complaint after prison authorities put his client under high-level supervision that included monitoring his communications with the lawyer.
“He is unhappy about being detained for a long time in a foreign country and about the accusations against him. He wants to return to Russia – but as a free man,” Kopecky said.
The case is currently in the hands of Prague’s chief prosecutor, who is expected to issue a decision on the twin extradition requests at the end of this month or early in February, a spokeswoman for the city’s municipal court said.
Russia’s embassy in Prague declined to comment but cited a previous foreign ministry statement in which a spokeswoman compared the affair to other incidents and called it “another proof that the US law enforcement agencies are hunting for Russian citizens across the world”.
A 32-year-old Russian computer programmer named only as Lisov was arrested by Spanish police at Barcelona airport this month on another US arrest warrant. Police in Spain said he was suspected of leading a financial fraud network and having designed and used software to steal account details from banks and individuals.
Another Russian citizen, Roman Valerevich Seleznev, was convicted last year of 38 hacking-related charges by a US court after he was arrested and extradited from Guam in 2014. Russia said Seleznev’s arrest amounted to “kidnapping”.” The Guardian
“White House claims Alisa Shevchenkowas involved in hacking the US election but in an interview she says authorities misinterpreted facts or were fooled
Alisa Shevchenko is a talented young Russian hacker, known for working with companies to find vulnerabilities in their systems. She spends her winters in Asia, meditating and training in Thai kickboxing.
Her company was a surprise inclusion on the US sanctions list released last week, alongside top officers in Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency and two well-known criminal hackers. The company “provided the GRU with technical research and development”, according to the fact sheet released by the White House. No further details were given.
In addition to the sanctions, the US expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the country, and said it would take further, non-public measures in response.
After a week in which Russian interference in the election – apparently with the goal of helping Donald Trump to victory – has dominated the news agenda, Shevchenko has spoken out to decry the sanctions against her.
Shevchenko told the Guardian she was furious at her company’s inclusion on the list, and denied ever having knowingly worked for the Russian government. She communicated via encrypted email, from a location she said was “a wild countryside area a few hours away from Bangkok”.
In answers that were defiant, and occasionally abrasive, she decried the “insane level of hysteria around the entire ‘Russian hacking’ story”.
She suggested that the US authorities were guilty either of “a technically incompetent misinterpretation of the facts” or had been fooled by a “counterfeit in order to frame my company”. Those who could have had an interest in framing her could include competitors, US intelligence or Russian intelligence, with the goal of screening the real culprits, Shevchenko said.
“A young female hacker and her helpless company seems like a perfect pick for that goal. I don’t try to hide, I travel a lot, and am a friendly communicative person. And most importantly, I don’t have any big money, power or connections behind me to shrug off the blame. So really, it could be anyone.”
Russian authorities are known to offer a mixture of carrot and stick to engage prominent hackers in work for the state, and third-party contracting of state information security tasks is common in most countries. A number of Russian security experts declined to comment, citing the sensitivity of the subject.
“Pretty much everyone in the community has done some work for their government at some point,” said Dave Aitel, who runs Immunity, a US software security company. He described Shevchenko as “extremely well known in the information security community”.
Shevchenko described herself as “a typical introverted computer geek” who is largely self taught. She declined to say how old she was, deeming it an “impolite question”, saying instead: “If you really need a number then go ahead and make it up based on my photographs”.
She said she dropped out of three different universities, as she was passionate about learning but did not enjoy the structure of a university course. Around 2004, she joined Kaspersky Lab, a high-profile Russian cybersecurity firm.
She left to set up her own company, initially called Esage Lab (“I was thinking of something ‘sage’, as in a wizard or a magician,” she said). Later, she changed its name to ZOR. Both names are on the US sanctions list.
Shevchenko specialises in finding so-called “zero-days”, previously undisclosed software bugs that could leave companies vulnerable. “We have not only searched for bugs but exploited them, but only with the customer’s sanction,” she said. She said she never hired anyone she knew to have a criminal background for her companies.
Shevchenko said she had been approached repeatedly by people she believed to be from the Russian government. She insisted, however, that she had always rejected the advances. She said she had not been threatened or intimidated as a result.
A 2014 profile of Shevchenko in Russian Forbes magazine noted that she worked with DialogNauka, a Russian company that listed among its clients the Russian ministry of defence and parts of the security services. Questioned by the Guardian, she insisted that none of her own work for DialogNauka “was even remotely possible to use as a nation-state attacks supply”.
Shevchenko said she had turned down plenty of offers of work on ideological grounds: “I never work with douchebags. I only work with honest and open people that I feel good about.” Asked directly if she had ever worked on a government contract in any capacity, she answered “not that I know of”.
Shevchenko said ZOR was closed more than a year ago, because it was difficult and expensive to do the requisite public relations work required to drum up business. She now works as a “one-man army”, she said.
Many analysts have said it seems very likely that Russian state actors are behind Fancy Bear, but concede that the publicly released evidence does not include a smoking gun.
Brian Bartholomew, of Kaspersky Lab’s US office in Massachusetts, said the biggest clue was an in-house piece of software called XAgent, which he had never seen elsewhere.
“Assange said it could have been a 14-year-old hacker – if you look at the collective operations of this group, there’s no way a 14-year-old has this much money, time and effort to conduct all of these operations together,” he said.
Of the entities on the sanctions list, including Shevchenko’s company, Bartholomew said: “There’s probably a good reason that those names were put in the document.”
Aitel said he had no doubt Russian intelligence was behind the hack and said authorities would certainly use third-party contractors for operations, but he added that it was problematic to sanction individuals without releasing evidence. “No matter what she did technically, she’s not a policy maker. It doesn’t make much sense to sanction individuals on the basis that ‘we know something secret so we’re going to sanction you’.”
Only Shevchenko’s company – rather than Shevchenko personally – is on the US treasury’s list of specially designated nationals (SDNs), which are subject to an asset freeze in any dealings with US persons or the US financial system.
“If she starts a new company, then that company is clean, but a lot of people might not want to do business with her if they do their due diligence and find that she’s one step removed from an SDN,” said Louis Rothberg, an expert in export control with the international law firm Morgan Lewis & Bockius.
Shevchenko said she assumes it is “not possible” for her to travel to the US now, and she does not particularly want to.
“I am now de facto blocked from the world’s major information security market,” Shevchenko said.
On the other hand, she allowed, there was apparently a certain cachet in being named as someone who hacked a US election. “I have received a number of employment, business partnership or collaboration offers” in the days since the sanctions list was released, she said. ” The Guardian
Sam Thielman and Spencer Ackerman Analysts and the US government suspect an official hand behind the breach of the DNC’s emails – but if so it would represent a major escalation of cyber-activity A link between the DNC hack has not been proved or officially alleged, but, one analyst observed, ‘if everything else looks completely implausible, what’s left is probably what’s happening’. Photograph: Alamy
In April of last year, at 10pm on a Wednesday, French network TV5Monde suddenly began to broadcast Islamic State logos and slogans in French, Arabic and English. Simultaneously the broadcaster’s Facebook page began to post inflammatory messages. “Soldiers of France, stay away from the Islamic State!” read one. “You have the chance to save your families, take advantage of it.”
“Je suIS IS,” read another. But the second message was a lie.
According to security researchers, the culprit was a Russian hacking team long believed by cybersecurity analysts in and outside the US government to be working for the country’s largest intelligence agency, GRU. Fascinated researchers have given it a variety of names: APT 28, Strontium, the Sofacy Group, and Fancy Bear.
Last week, WikiLeaks distributed 20,000 emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) obtained after Fancy Bear and another hacking team believed to be tied to a competing Russian intelligence service, known as Cozy Bear, breached the DNC’s internal network. Cozy Bear is believed to have entered the network a year before and waited quietly, gathering information and cataloging emails. Fancy Bear came later. WikiLeaks’ consistent position is not to discuss its source and to push back against suggestions that it gained the data from either Bear.
The Bears have three important things in common: expensive digital tools, suggesting state sponsorship; an interest in pursuing sensitive, embarrassing or strategically significant information, rather than financially beneficial data; and a choice of targets that align with Russian political objectives. Both Bears infiltrated the DNC: Cozy beginning in summer 2015, Fancy in April this year.
Senior US government sources are not primarily concerned with WikiLeaks’ role in the affair. Their alarm, shared by cybersecurity researchers, is that a Russian hacking operation they consider tied to the Russian government has taken a step toward attacking an element of the US political apparatus.
Previously the Bears stalked eastern European countries and multinational organizations implicated in Russian national objectives. Now, although attributing responsibility for online breaches is an inferential affair, many in the US government and cybersecurity circles see the Bears in their backyards. And not only are they grabbing data, they are taking the highly unusual step of spreading it, where it can be published to the embarrassment of prominent US politicians.
“Targeting a political campaign, trying to find out everything you can about the next leader of the free world, is fair game for intelligence services, as much as we hate it. That’s a valid intelligence target,” said Toni Gidwani, a former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analyst who is now chief researcher for the cybersecurity firm ThreatConnect.
“Dumping this much information and [leaving] very much the sense that there’s more to come, we have to ask different questions about what the Russian objectives are and what they think is going to happen.”
Neither the DIA nor the FBI, which has an investigation open into the DNC hack, would address whether it assesses Fancy Bear to be an instrument of the Russian intelligence apparatus. Some administration officials are unsure whether the US would make a public accusation against the Russians. But, one said, the administration is coming to the conclusion that Moscow is responsible for the hack, despite foreign minister Sergey Lavrov’s protestations.
The blurred distinction between espionage and attack online has outpaced thinking about deterrence and reprisal, meaning both an intrusion and an accusation carries the risk of escalating beyond tolerable levels. One senior official notes that the executive branch tends to be “highly circumspect” about pointing a finger at Russia.
That escalation risk is heightened because of the mystery surrounding the DNC hack. If it is the Russians, the change represented by making stolen data public raises questions on questions: did something go wrong? Or did Russia mean to push the envelope with its principal geopolitical rival? Or could cybersecurity analysts be wrong, and the ties between the Bears and Russian government objectives be less substantial than they believe?
“The implications of those assessments have some pretty stark recommendations for our leadership, so it is only appropriate to go back and double-check,” said Gidwani. “But by the same token, if everything else looks completely implausible, what’s left is probably what’s happening.”
Patterns of infiltration
Cozy Bear has a sense of humor.
According to Kaspersky, one of its most effective methods of intrusion involved hiding a virus inside a email message that played a Career Builder ad from Super Bowl XL. The ad showed a human office worker trying to tell his colleagues, who are all chimpanzees, to stop wrecking the office.
“These videos are quickly passed around offices with delight while systems are infected in the background silently,” wrote despondent Kaspersky researchers.
A key characteristic of Bear attacks – and high-quality attacks from many seasoned intruders – appears to be its adroit disguise of malicious files. In another operation, a group Kaspersky believes to be Cozy Bear sent “highly relevant and well-crafted content” – such as PDFs about Ukraine possibly joining Nato – to people who would open them and find them interesting without becoming suspicious. Sophisticated users who would spot a “YovTube.com” address or an amateurish website inviting them to type in a login might eagerly open an official-seeming white paper.
Fancy Bear has its own signatures: its identifiable suite of tools has, since 2007 or perhaps even 2004, been updated with the frequency of a software company, according to security firm FireEye. FireEye gave all the tools names – Sourface, Chopstick and Eviltoss, among others – and described them as demonstrating “formal coding practices indicative of methodical, diligent programmers”.
Rather than send its malware broadly, a pattern used by hackers who hope a fraction of their recipients will click on a dubious link, Fancy Bear sends them to specific users, in a pattern Gidwani said indicates reconnaissance on its targets. Microsoft reported that Fancy Bear finds unsuspecting users both by sifting through social media and other online data for associations with its target – say, a LinkedIn page that lists the DNC as an employer – and also by meticulously cataloging the data it has stolen in previous hacks.
“They customize their attack to thrive in that environment,” said Gidwani. “Somebody who could do that has resources, has time and a test environment to try all the stuff out to make sure they’ve got the right package they’re going to deploy. Those are hallmarks of nation-state operations. Criminals are going to hit a million people in the hope that they get a hundred.”
Fancy Bear also favors infected files, in which it usually hides Sourface, the program that creeps on to a target computer and downloads malware allowing that computer to be controlled remotely. A list of “lure” emails compiled by FireEye includes a file named “military cooperation.doc”, a Georgian-language IT document for the ministry of internal affairs, and an offer of work to a journalist from the editor of a fictitious division at Reason magazine.
Cooper Quintin, a security researcher for digital rights activists the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said that when his organization was spoofed by Fancy Bear last year, it was part of an attack on a different target. “Some friends at Google” tipped him off that someone was squatting on electronicfrontierfoundation.org, a domain the company didn’t own then, though now it links to Quintin’s post on the event.
Curious, Quintin used the fake version of his company’s site to peer into the hack. “We pulled down a couple of files and noticed some similarities to an attack that was going on called Operation Pawn Storm.”
Quintin notes that Fancy Bear benefits greatly from general ignorance about digital security: high-quality spearphishing works often, and zero-days are pricey. “Why run [a zero-day] when people still open email attachments?” Quintin asked. “It’s usually associated with criminals but it works for nation-states, too.”
Attribution is tricky, Quintin said – often, patterns only become clear after a team has been completely exposed. But there are ways to make educated guesses.
Even if a user doesn’t fall for the login page trap, Fancy Bear can glean information from the click: the user’s IP address and location, his or her browser type and version, and the target computer’s operating system.
Metadata associated with the malicious code used by Fancy Bear suggests a point of origin. Its language settings are Russian, and the malware FireEye found was overwhelmingly built during the workday in Moscow and St Petersburg.
Information worth more than money
Once either group acquires the credentials it needs for its current operation, it uses flaws in popular software to secretly send data back to its own networks without its targets’ knowledge. These flaws, known as zero-day exploits, are critical tools of any hacking organization, from thieves to spy agencies – by definition, they’re difficult for administrators to defend against. The NSA is fond of them.
Zero-day exploits are not for novice hackers. They are difficult to design and keep stable. Purchasing them on the black market is very expensive. Misused, they can collapse forever when an exploited company notices them and fixes the weakness in its software.
Used effectively, zero-day exploits can be used to steal huge amounts of money. That objective has been a hallmark of other sophisticated state-sponsored hackers. China’s famous Unit 61398 tends to steal intellectual property and information beneficial to economic activity.
But Fancy Bear and Cozy Bear don’t do that.
FireEye notes that Fancy Bear wants to exfiltrate sensitive data by camping out on a network undetected for long periods of time – a network controlled or associated with a political, military, diplomatic, activist or journalistic entity. The team acquires “intelligence that would only be useful to a government”, the firm said. The targets chosen by the Bears suggest the government who would primarily find that intelligence useful is Russia.
Famously, when the Russian military attacked Georgia in 2008, its ground assault was presaged by overloading the servers used by the president, the foreign ministry and the parliament. “Georgia in a lot of ways was one of the real opening shots in how we see Russia using cyber as an instrument of national power, fully integrated with their national objectives,” Gidwani said.
In 2013, employees at the Georgian ministry of internal affairs began receiving “a weaponized Excel file that presented a decoy document containing a list of Georgian drivers’ license numbers”, FireEye researchers wrote. A second example used the name of an actual system administrator as the author of the lure document. A third attack targeted a partnership between the Georgian military and a US defense contractor. Fancy Bear hid Sourface in a list of group members’ birthdays.
Other targets show Bear attacks moving westward – much as Russia’s intervention in Syria, its first beyond its historical frontiers in a generation, followed years of unanswered military boldness against its neighbors.
Also in 2013, Kaspersky noticed a group it called MiniDuke – now believed to be Cozy Bear, as well – sneaking into targets in Hungary, Luxembourg and Belgium. Other targets include prime Russian multilateral adversaries like Nato and the Office of Security Cooperation in Europe. And in July 2015, an infiltration into an email system used by the US military’s joint chiefs of staff led military officials to suspect Russian culpability; CrowdStrike points a finger at Cozy Bear. Around the same time, Cozy Bear made its way into the DNC’s network.
Doubt as an objective
While the FBI investigates the DNC hack, politics has taken the place of digital forensics.
Democrats have already begun to seize upon the hack to imply, as yet without evidence, that the Russians executed the attack to benefit GOP nominee Donald Trump, who has openly praised the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, something that sets him apart from any other major Republican figure in recent memory.
Cozy Bear infiltrated the DNC months before Trump surprised the political world by winning the nomination; nevertheless, the senior Democrats on the congressional intelligence committees on Wednesday called for an extraordinary declassification of intelligence assessments about the hack. The White House said it would “carefully review” the request, but the National Security Council spokesman, Ned Price, said that the just-launched FBI inquiry into the hack “will necessarily limit what we will be able to say”.
A major question at issue in the inquiry is whether the Russians, should they be culpable, intended the DNC infiltration and subsequent publication to influence the outcome of the 2016 election. ThreatConnect’s Gidwani suspects that Russia may not have had so sophisticated a plan.
“Part of me feels like that might be a more aggressive reading of what’s happening. If their objective is primarily to be a distraction, to sow confusion, to sow doubt, that doesn’t require the creation of this airtight persona,” she said, referencing the hacker persona Guccifer2.0, who claims to have passed the documents to WikiLeaks and whose authenticity has come under serious doubt.
Gidwani continued: “It allows you a lot more wiggle room and ability to fudge around the edges to create that type of effect. It’s an incredibly important question, whether Russia is trying to push the outcome of the election one way or the other. But I think we may not be sufficiently considering that that might not be the primary outcome they’re seeking.
“And that shouldn’t necessarily be cause for relief. Trying to sow this much doubt and discord is also very troubling. These types of actions, what we’ve seen thus far, they had been limited to eastern Europe, Georgia, Ukraine in the 2014 election. Moscow no longer sees the same line, if you will, between that near-abroad and the US.” The Guardian
“Ransom Hackers Who Hit Hospitals Dealt Setback; May Return,” by Bloomberg’s Jordan Robertson: “The cyber-attack that spread rapidly around the globe was stifled when a security researcher disabled a key mechanism used by the worm to spread, but experts said the hackers were likely to return as many computers remain at risk. Hackers can still gain easy access to personal computers that lack a security update issued in March by Microsoft Corp. to fix the vulnerability in its Windows operating system. … More than 75,000 computers in 99 countries were compromised in Friday’s attack, with a heavy concentration of infections in Russia and Ukraine.”
Russia has actual spy college, wherein people get trained in a variety of legitimate careers and then placed in strategic companies and organizations for espionage. They acually employ hackers, as the investigations have shown.
Victor Pinchuk– 2019 ext $2.31 billion UkrainianOligarch“Trump Foundation reported a $150,000 gift from the foundation of Viktor Pinchuk, a powerful Ukrainian steel magnate…the gift was made as part of an agreement for Trump to speak — via video link — to a conference Pinchuk organized in September 2015. The conference, called the Yalta European Strategy annual meeting, was held in Kiev. At the time of his 20-minute speech, titled “How New Ukraine’s Fate Affects Europe and the World,” Trump was already a presidential candidate.” Washington Post. Metals
Loaned mortgages to Trump World TowerBuyers at 845 United Nations Plaza, NYC (rare in luxury)
1976 Commodore Hotel with Hyatt Corp.- Kislin sold hundreds of TVs toTrump
FL Group-Iceland BV investment bank into Trump SoHo-2013 lawsuit alleging an unrealized $250 million tax avoidance scheme on a 2007 FL $50 million investment into Bayrock with $2 billion tied to Trump.
Why Did a Russia-Friendly Icelandic Fund Want To Invest In Trump Projects? Talking Points Memo By Sam Thielman August 22, 2017 “A former finance director at Bayrock, Jody Kriss, sued the company in 2010 for allegedly misrepresenting Sater’s role—though the complaint remained sealed by the court until 2016. In an interview with Bloomberg, Kriss said another Icelandic bank called offering a counter investment to FL Group’s proposed $50 million, and Sater and Arif told him to stick with that firm because it was “closer to Putin.” The $50 million payment was unusual, to say the least. According to Kriss’s complaint, FL Group bought 62 percent of the profits from four Bayrock properties, which was the developer’s entire stake. Those properties were a development called Waterpointe on a blighted 20-acre property in Whitestone, New York that Bayrock had agreed to detoxify; Trump SoHo; a Trump tower in Phoenix, Arizona; and the Trump Merrimacin Ft. Lauderdale, Florida…Another bank owned in large part by FL, Kaupthing, had made loans to Alexander Shnaider, the Russian-Canadian billionaire who financed the failed Trump tower in Toronto, which he used to buy a yacht. It also had other wealthy Russians on the books, among them Smirnoff Vodka magnate Yuri Shefler. ”
Viktor Yanukovych UkrainianOligarch Former President works with an organized crime syndicate that includes Azarov M.Ya., Arbuzov S.G., Pshonka V. P., Pshonka AV, Klimenko O.V., Zakharchenko V.Yu., Bakulin Y.M., Borisov Yu.S., Tamrazov O.G., Kurchenko S.V. and others per Ukraine’s Complaint against Viktor Yanukovych brought by General Prosecutor of Ukraine Lutsenko, Yu.V. and the deputy of Ukraine Chornovil Tetyana, M. “It was established that during the period of 2010-2014 the participants of the aforementioned criminal organization as a result of criminal activity received at their own disposal financial resources at the amount of more than 40 billion US dollars…at the end of April 2011, Arbuzov S.G. and Kurchenko S.V. planned and agreed with Viktor Yanukovych and other participants of the criminal organization the scheme of legalization (laundering) of the proceeds from crime through the commission of the financial transactions and transactions for the acquisition of securities by their control nominees securities – government bonds of Ukraine (hereinafter – bonds) in order to legally highly profitable and highly guaranteed income as a result of currency fluctuations of the national currency of Ukraine and the preservation of their foreign currency assets in one of the most secure and liquid forms of government securities.For the purchase of government bonds Arbuzov S.G. and Kurchenko S.V. used the controlled business entities – residents, especially companies Wonderbliss Ltd., Sabulong Trading Ltd., Opalcore Ltd., Akemi Management Ltd., Wellar Investments Inc., Quickpace Ltd., Loricom Holding Group Ltd., Katiema Enterprises Ltd., Kviten Solution Ltd., Aldoza Investments Ltd. and others having accounts in banking institutions of the Republic of Latviaand Ukraine. Paul Manafort
-needed a favor from Fmr. US Amb. Ukraine Marie Yanovovich
help in his repatriating $21 million of infrastructure bonds that Fmr. Ukraine Pres. Viktor Yanukovych stole from Ukraine in 2014 and was laundered through a Cypriot-based shell structure. Kislin sold Trump TVs and made loans to Trump World Tower buyers.:
Trans Commodities New York Inc.– Sam Kislin’s 1990s Russian Metals investment company for Makiivka Metallurgical Combine, laundered millions of Russian mob money
Financial Crimes-Fmr. Ukraine Pres. Viktor Yanukovych-stole more than $1 billion from Ukraine‘s treasury before fleeing in 2014, including $21 million of Sam Kislin‘s government bonds in 2013, into a Cyprus-based firm called Opalcore Ltd. formed with Yanukovych’s Deputy Prime Minister Kurchenko and Arbuzov via UK firm Exbridge Properties LP.Arbuzov acquired the Opalcore in 2016.Kislin’s Trans Commodities bought Opalcore LTD in November 2016; Opalcore accounts were frozen & transferred to government-controlled bank,Oschadbank .The Center for Investigative Reporting Reveal News; Kislin asked for U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s help retrieving the funds from Ukraininan Oschadbank.
Sam Kislin, American lawyer Jeffrey Dannenberg, Ukrainian lawyer Dmytro Shcherbyna
The search for dirt on VP Biden and his son, Hunter’s work for Burisma Holdings resulted in the Impeachment of Donald Trump in December 2019 because Trump et al. called President Zelensky on July 25, 2019, and extorted Ukraine for arms it needed to defend Eastern Ukraine against Russia. Also, funding through Ukrainian oligarchs, removingFmr. US Amb. to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a former European affairs director at the National Security Council who testified against Trump.
Lawsuits and Federal Investigations are underway for violation of the Emoluments Clauses, Money Laundering, Racketeering (a rumor until made official), and Obstruction of Justice, as public statements and actions, investigation and intelligence, have shown good cause that any separation of Trump from personal gain does not exist and may include foul play. See the Lawsuits page for information. The Tenants and Properties pages have links to Trump’s Mafia and Russian ties.
While Trump is President, income from his 500+ businesses and licensing deals flow into DJT Holdings LLC and then The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust. Propublica.org
The first big real estate sale after Trump’s inauguration “was signed by Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, whom Trump tapped to serve along with his sons on the three-person panel that will run his company while he serves as president.” Mother Jones
“Previously unreported changes to President Trump’s trust documents stipulate that the trust “shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request…There is nothing requiring Trump to disclose when he takes profits from the trust, which could go directly into his bank or brokerage account. That’s because both the trust and Trump Organization are privately held. The only people who know the details of the Trump trust’s finances are its trustees, Trump’s son, Donald Jr., and Allen Weisselberg, the company’s chief financial officer. Trump’s other son, Eric, has been listed as an adviser to the trust, according to this revised document.”
“Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger signed letters of intent “with more than 20 developers to build the hotels… The last three were signed in just one week earlier this month (March 2017).” Propublica.org
Under the brand Scion, “One of the first going up could be in Dallas. A development company there originally planned to raise money from unnamed investors in Kazakhstan, Turkey and Qatar, but recently told the Dallas Morning News that it now will tap only the company’s U.S. partners…A review of trademark databases by The Associated Press shows the Trump family has applied for rights to use the Scion name in several countries, including China, Indonesia, Canada and 28 nations in Europe. An application for trademark rights in the Dominican Republic was approved as late as December.” AP News
THE TRUMP FOUNDATION
Trump shuffles money and gifts between his corporations and foundation for his own benefit as the following illustrates:
Trump Foundation admits to violating ban on ‘self-dealing,’ new filing to IRS shows Washington Post By David A. FahrentholdNovember 22, 2016 “In one section of the form, the IRS asked whether the Trump Foundation had transferred “income or assets to a disqualified person.” A disqualified person, in this context, might be Trump — the foundation’s president — or a member of his family or a Trump-owned business. The foundation checked yes. Another line on the form asked whether the Trump Foundation had engaged in any acts of self-dealing in prior years. The Trump Foundation checked yes again. NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman declined to comment, other than to say “our investigation is ongoing. During the presidential campaign, The Post revealed several instances — worth about $300,000 — where Trump seemed to have used the Trump Foundation to help himself. From 2009 until this year, the charity was funded exclusively with other people’s money, an arrangement that experts say is almost unheard of for a family foundation.” Trump 2015 Tax “The Trump Foundation’s tax filing also shows that — for the first time in six years — the foundation received a donation from an entity controlled by Trump himself. It lists a donation of $566,370 from the Trump Corporation, an entity 100 percent owned by Trump himself. It also lists a $50,000 gift from Trump Productions, a Trump-owned business that produced “The Apprentice.” Previously, the last donation to the foundation from Trump or one of his businesses had come in 2008. Trump’s spokesmen did not respond to a question about the reason for these new gifts. In addition, the Trump Foundation reported a $150,000 gift from the foundation of Viktor Pinchuk, a powerful Ukrainian steel magnate. That was the first such gift from him.”
“In two cases, The Post reported, the Trump Foundation appeared to pay legal settlements to end lawsuits that involved his for-profit businesses.
In one case, Trump settled a dispute with the town of Palm Beach, Fla., over a large flagpole he erected at his Mar-a-Lago Club. The town agreed to waive $120,000 in unpaid fines if Trump’s club donated $100,000 to Fisher House, a charity helping wounded veterans and military personnel. The Trump Foundation paid that donation instead — effectively saving his business $100,000.
In another, Trump’s golf course in New York’s Westchester County was sued by a man who had won a $1 million hole-in-one prize during a tournament at the course. The man was later denied the money because Trump’s course had allegedly made the hole too short for the prize to be valid. The lawsuit was settled, and details on that final settlement have not been made public. But on the day that the parties told the court that their lawsuit had been settled, the Trump Foundation donated $158,000 to the unhappy golfer’s charity. Trump’s golf course donated nothing.
Trump Portraits with Foundation money: In three other cases, Trump’s foundation paid for items that Trump or his wife purchased at charity auctions. In 2012, Trump bid $12,000 for a football helmet signed by then-Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. In another case from 2007, Trump’s wife, Melania, bid $20,000 on a six-foot-tall portrait of Trump painted by “speed painter” Michael Israel during a gala at Mar-a-Lago. And in 2014, Trump bid $10,000 to buy a four-foot painting of himself by artist Havi Schanz at another charity gala. In all three cases, the Trump Foundation paid the bill. Tax experts said that, by law, the items had to be put to charitable use. Trump’s representatives have not said what became of the helmet or the $20,000 portrait. The $10,000 portrait was, however, located by Post readers, following coverage of the Trump Foundation. It was hanging on the wall of the sports bar at Trump’s Doral golf resort, outside Miami. In September, a Trump campaign spokesman rejected the idea that Trump had done anything wrong, by using his charity’s money to buy art for his bar. Instead, spokesman Boris Epshteyn said, the sports bar was doing the charity a favor by “storing” its art free of charge. In the new 2015 tax filing, the Trump Foundation acknowledged for the first time that it owned these items. But it listed market values far below what the foundation had paid: The helmet was valued at $475, the portrait purchased for $20,000 was valued at $700, and the portrait purchased for $10,000 was valued at $500. [How a Univision anchor found the missing $10,000 portrait that Trump bought with his charity’s money]
In addition, the Trump Foundation reported a $150,000 gift from the foundation of Viktor Pinchuk, a powerful Ukrainian steel magnate. That was the first such gift from him. A spokesman for Pinchuk’s foundation said that the gift was made as part of an agreement for Trump to speak — via video link — to a conference Pinchuk organized in September 2015. The conference, called the Yalta European Strategy annual meeting, was held in Kiev. At the time of his 20-minute speech, titled “How New Ukraine’s Fate Affects Europe and the World,” Trump was already a presidential candidate. Trump’s spokesmen did not respond to a question about Pinchuk’s gift.” Washington Post
The Netherlands’ ZEMBLA network VARA created a documentary exposing money laundering through the Netherlands and Trump’s SoHo development. Rudy Giuliani‘s law firm, Bracewell & Giulliani, former mayor of New York, advisor to the Trump Administration, and defense attorney for Trump, provided legal backing for Bayrock. “it’s pure money laundering, by setting up in the Netherlands in 2007, it laundered $1,5 million dollars. And the company is in hot water already, the State of New York is doing investigations into their tax fraud, large scale tax fraud – and Donald is a key figure. According to attorney F. Oberlander – prosecuting on behalf of New York State – the maximum jail term could be as long as 30 years! Trump, and Bayrock, have been working closely with some third parties, namely the Georgian-born Tamir Sapir and Kazakhstani Tevfik Ari and formed a new joint company Bayrock/Sapir Organization, LLC. Guess what? That company has been accused of grand scale fraud. Oh, and guess what else? That company was the developer behind Trump SoHo, the hotel condiminium Trump bought into for nearly 20% back in 2005. Soviet/Russian-ties confirmed. ZEMBLA has access to the communications between Bracewell & Giulliani and several dark figures in the former USSR. And I really do mean dark – people that embezzled hundreds of millions, people that were fugitives and had fraudulent government roles supporting controversial regimes. These people have worked with, and are directly tied to, Donald J. Trump.” Dutch ReviewZEMBLA’S PROOF
TRUMP TOWER MOSCOW: November 12, 2013: “A replica of Bayrock/Sapir’s Trump Soho hotel may be Moscow’s first big new hotel in ten years. Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen of the Sapir Organization, co-developers on the Soho hotel at 246 Spring Street, met with Russian developer Aras Agalarov and Donald Trump over the weekend to discuss plans for the new project — Trump’s first in Russia. “The Russian market is attracted to me,” Trump told Real Estate Weekly. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room.” The Real Deal
“Sam Kislin, a Ukrainian immigrant, issued mortgages to buyers of multimillion-dollar apartments in World Tower. It’s highly unusual for individuals to issue formal mortgages for U.S. luxury real estate, and the tower loans are the only ones Kislin ever made in New York, public records show. Almost two decades earlier, Kislin had sold Trump about 200 televisions on credit. “I gave him 30 days, and in exactly 30 days he paid me back,” says Kislin, now 82. “He never gave me any trouble.” He says the televisions were for the Commodore Hotel, which Trump had bought in 1976 with Hyatt Corp. Trump purchased the sets from an electronics store that Kislin had opened in New York with Tamir Sapir, an immigrant from Georgia. It was famous among Soviets who would buy VHS players and tape recorders to take back home. Sapir later grew rich trading Russian oil. He invested the proceeds in New York real estate, eventually becoming one of Trump’s development partners in Trump SoHo, a frequent focal point in inquiries about Trump’s financial ties to Russia and questionable Russian money. Sapir died in 2014. Kislin became a fundraiser for Rudolph Giuliani’s mayoral campaign, bringing in millions for the future Trump surrogate. Investigated by the FBI in the 1990s for allegations including mob ties and laundering money from Russia, Kislin was never charged, and he maintains his innocence. At Trump World Tower, Kislin provided a mortgage to Vasily Salygin, a future official of the Ukrainian Party of Regions linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, to buy an 83rd-floor apartment. Salygin’s time in office overlapped with Paul Manafort’s tenure as an adviser to the party. Manafort later served as Trump’s campaign manager before his Russian links led to growing criticism and his resignation. The push to sell units in Trump World Tower to Russians expanded in 2002, when Sotheby’s International Realty teamed up with Kirsanova Realty, a Russian company. One reception at Moscow’s swank Hotel Baltschug Kempinski pitched the tower alongside Trump’s West Side condos and his building on Columbus Circle.Eduard Nektalov, an Uzbekistan-born diamond dealer, purchased a 79th-floor unit directly below Conway’s for $1.6 million in July 2003. He was being investigated by federal agents for a money-laundering scheme, which involved smelting gold to make it appear like everyday objects that were then hauled to drug cartels in Colombia. Nektalov sold his unit a month after he bought it for a $500,000 profit. Less than a year later, Nektalov, rumored to have been cooperating with authorities, was gunned down on Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue.
“If you keep f****** with Mr. Trump We Know Where You Live” Buzzfeed May 1, 2017 “Trump’s casino business went bankrupt, and then a lawyer representing investors told police he got a menacing call from a man who said “we’re going to your house for your wife and kids” if he didn’t stop “fucking with Mr. Trump.” The FBI determined the call came from a phone booth across the street from the theater where Trump was appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman.”
“In July, he refinanced $160 million of debt against the building [40 Wall Street] with Ladder Capital Corp., public records show. Even if some 40 Wall St. tenants have gone to prison, the building has done better than other Trump endeavors. Trump was in the process of renovating his career when he took over the tower in 1995. The billions of dollars of debt that fueled his 1980s rise almost wiped away his empire at the beginning of the next decade. His casinos went bankrupt, and he lost his yacht — built for Khashoggi. But a deal with lenders saved him from ruin. A few weeks before Trump signed the lease for 40 Wall St., friends threw him a lunch to celebrate his rebound, praising his comeback and even joking about a possible career in politics.Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc., the casino operator he founded, emerged from bankruptcy-court protection this year. He lost control of Trump Shuttle, his airline, in the early 1990s. Trump Vodka, the liquor he licensed even though he despises alcohol, collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis. Trump Steaks disappeared around the same time. Trump Mortgage, on the 25th floor [of 40 Wall St.], was launched at the height of the housing bubble and closed in 2007. ” Bloomberg June 22, 2016
Amanda Miller is a spokesperson for the Trump Organization.
Developed but sold most of the individual units since:
Trump Park Avenue at 502 Park Avenue
Trump World Tower 845 United Nations Plaza “Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and Michael Cohen, his personal lawyer, bought units. Cohen got his Ukrainian in-laws to buy, too. Most of the units were bought before the tower was built, and prices weren’t disclosed. Trump World Tower ended up as a model for future developments—with money drawn from sales in Moscow.
Two months before Trump broke ground in October 1998, Russia defaulted on $40 billion in domestic debt, the ruble plummeted, and some of the biggest banks started to collapse. Millionaires scrambled to get their money out and into New York. Real estate provides a safe haven for overseas investors. It has few reporting requirements and is a preferred way to move cash of questionable provenance. Amid the turmoil, buyers found a dearth of available projects. Trump World Tower, opened in 2001, became a prominent depository of Russian money. Michael Cohen Photographer: Richard Drew/AP Photo
“In 1986, Interstate Properties and Donald Trump each bought approximately 20% of Alexander’s, a failing retailer whose real estate holdings included its flagship store, occupying the entire block between East 58th and 59th streets and Lexington and Third avenues.  In 1988, they each raised their stakes to 27% but Trump pledged his interest as collateral for a personal loan from Citicorpand in 1991, Trump was forced to turn over his holdings to the bank. In 1992, Roth and Alexander’s creditors forced Alexander’s into bankruptcy. Alexander’s emerged from bankruptcy in 1993 as a real estate investment trust. That same year, Vornado Inc. was converted into a REIT, Vornado Realty Trust. In 1995, Vornado bought Citicorp’s interest in Alexander’s.Wikipedia
1976 Trump bought the Commodore Hotel with Hyatt Corp.
“It’s beginning to look like Special Counsel Mueller will catch President Trump and his three eldest children committing the first ever reality TV show assisted financial crime, all collaborating in a $350 million dollar bank fraud related to the Trump SoHo Condominium Hotel.
A Congresswoman has introduced a resolution calling for President Trump to undergo a physical and mental evaluation to determine if he is fit to continue in office as president. While the measure by Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) probably has little chance of passage in a House controlled by Republicans, it shows that there is growing concern about Trump’s ability to carry out his role as the nation’s chief executive.Washington Journal
CHRISTOPHER STEELE DOSSIER“A Russian emigre figure close to the Republican US presidential candidate Donald TRUMP campaign team…the emigre confirmed that an intelligence exchange had been running between them for at least 8 years. Within this context priority requirement had been for intelligence on the activities, business and otherwise, in the US of leading Russian oligarchs and their families. TRUMP and his associates duly had obtained and supplied the Kremlin with this information.”
The Mentor, Roy Cohn
Roy Cohn biographer Wayne Barrett said on Netflix’s “Get Me Roger Stone”, “I started hearing about Roger from people who were close to Roy…Roy Cohn is the single most evil person I have ever…If that’s a Magnet for you as a young man, it says you’re Soulless before you start.”
Trump is the son of a tough New York [slum/]landlord who treated him more like a business guy than a warm father. He died young and Trump ran into the notorious Roy Cohn, the McCarthy-era attorney who bragged about skirting numerous indictments and was a closeted homosexual who died of AIDS in 1986. “I hear Roy in the things he says quite clearly,” said Peter Fraser, who as Mr. Cohn’s lover for the last two years of his life spent a great deal of time with Mr. Trump. “That bravado, and if you say it aggressively and loudly enough, it’s the truth — that’s the way Roy used to operate to a degree, and Donald was certainly his apprentice.” NY Times
“Then New York’s most feared lawyer, Mr. Cohn had a client list that ran the gamut from the disreputable to the quasi-reputable: Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno.” NY TimesFat Tony Salerno went to prison in 1989 and died in 1992. “In a much-debated 1986 article, Fortune magazine rated him [Salerno] the most powerful and wealthiest gangster in America, citing earnings in the tens of millions from loan sharking, profit skimming at Nevada casinos and charging a “Mafia tax” on New York City construction projects. At the time, he maintained a home in Miami Beach, a 100-acre estate in Rhinebeck, N.Y., and an apartment in Gramercy Park.” NY Times
Mafia Consigliere Roy Cohn introduced Trump to Roger Stone, Ronald Regan campaign manager at the time. He started the most amoral lobbying firm to date with Paul Manafort just as Trump Tower was being built. Black, Manafort, Stone and later, Kelly, became Trump’s representatives and consultants throughout his career and Presidential campaigns. Trump Tower utilized illegal immigrant labor under the directive of Roy Cohn’s clients, Italian Mafia-run labor unions and owned concrete supplier. Trump used the inflated construction cost of Concrete, presumably for some gain or ease in development. Trump offered financing for his Trump Tower units from his own connection, and Manafort bought a unit. 3 units were sold to an unemployed girlfriend of the Mafia. This and the Polish illegal alien cases both ended up in court. Felix Sater, son of Russian Mafia and himself a criminal turned FBI informant, is the long-term business partner of Trump in Bayrock LLC. Bayrock is the subject of Dutch investigation into money laundering with former Soviet business partners and legally organized by Rudy Giuliani. Watch This Film, The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump: The Russians
Trump Fired FBI Director James Comey via letter delivered by private bodyguard on May 9, 2017. PODCAST How much power does a president have to affect an investigation? As the fallout from Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey continues, we take a look at the limitations of presidential power when it comes to investigations. Plus, we assess how history measures up, with Bob Woodward and Marc Fisher. Washington Post
May 10, 2017, Trump locked out US Press and Photographers out while he entertained Russian Ambassador/Explosive Expert Physicist Sergey Kislyak, central to the Flynn firing and inquiry, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Russia tweeted photos which alerted the US. Business Insider; H.R. McMaster, new National Security Advisor, was present and denied the importance of what was shared. This sharing of Israeli intelligence could end the sharing of intelligence with the U.S. “Trump allegedly revealed the city in ISIS-held territory where, according to his intelligence briefing, the U.S. ally retrieved evidence that the militant group is actively planning to smuggle a laptop wired with an explosive onto an airliner. The information of the location and nature of the plot threatens to give away Israeli intelligence methods to Russia. Israel fears that Moscow, allied with Iranian forces in Syria, may then pass the intelligence onto Tehran, its longtime enemy.”Newsweek
Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation “I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.” The White House document that contained Mr. Trump’s comments was based on notes taken from inside the Oval Office and has been circulated as the official account of the meeting. One official read quotations to The Times, and a second official confirmed the broad outlines of the discussion.” NY Times