Sam Patten

Mid-late 1990s

2012 Bidzina Ivanishvili paid Patten $30,000/month via BGR-Garbara, LTD, on behalf Irakli Alasania, opposition leader of Georgia’s Free Democrats Party

Inside the other Georgian lobbying effort in Washington  Foreign Policy BY

There’s been plenty of reporting about the Georgian government’s extensive lobbying effort in Washington, but little is known about the new and expansive lobbying effort now in place on behalf of a Georgian billionaire and a leading opposition lawmaker, who are confronting Georgia’s president on the world stage. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is in Washington. “

Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili is in Washington today, having lunch with Vice President Joe Biden and meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office — a testament to the recent successes in the U.S.-Georgia relationship, as well as the successful efforts of Saakashvili’s Washington lobbying duo, made up of the firms Orion Strategies and the Podesta Group.

But if Saakashvili opened up his morning New York Times or Washington Post when he woke up at Blair House on Monday, he would have seena full-page ad sponsored by Bidzina Ivanishvili, a billionaire tycoon of Georgian descent who is working closely with Irakli Alasania, the leader of Georgia’s Free Democrats Party and the president’s main political rival. Ivanishvili is currently paying the lobbying firm BGR Group $25,000 per month, according to disclosure filings, in a contract signed last November. He is also paying another $20,000 per month to Sam Patten, a Tbilisi-based consultant who is working with BGR on behalf of Ivanishvili, the disclosure records show. That money is paid through a London-based entity called BGR-Garbara, LTD, which the records state is working on behalf of Ivanishvili.

BGR-Garbara, LTD, also pays Patten $10,000 per month to work on behalf of Alasania, according to disclosure filings, to “advise U.S. officials” on political developments in Georgia, and for “arranging meetings with U.S. officials on behalf of the foreign principal [Alasania].”

Another contract filing shows that BGR-Garbara, LTD, also pays BGR an undisclosed sum to work on behalf of Alasania and the Free Democrats. The filing defines BGR-Garbara, LTD, as “a pan-European government affairs and public relations firm engaged by ‘Free Democrats’… for the purposes of promoting a stronger Georgian democracy through fair, open, and honest elections in 2012.” Former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker is also working on the contract for BGR, according to lobbying e-mails sent out by BGR to journalists and non-governmental organizations.

We’re told by two sources that Alasania and Ivanishvili have also recently signed a contract with Patton Boggs, a powerful D.C. lobbying law firm, although no disclosure forms have yet been submitted. Both sources also confirmed that Ivanishvili’s representatives made a pass at the Podesta Group, offering to double their fee to switch teams, but Podesta declined. Ivanishvili is also working with Sam Amsterdam, the son of Robert Amsterdam, the Canadian lawyer made famous by his defense of imprisoned Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky.”

Patten and Kilimnik founded Begemot Ventures International (BVI) in February 2015.[1] Based in Washington, D.C.,[1] BVI is “a strategic and political advisory firm”[16] that Patten claims only has clients outside the United States.[2][1].  In August 2018, Patten was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act for failing to register as a foreign agent with the Justice Department when he represented the Opposition Bloc, a Ukrainian political party, from 2014 through 2018. [3][4][6][7] In the statement of the offense, Kilimnik is identified as “Foreigner A“, Begemot Ventures International as “Company A“,[9] and Serhiy Lyovochkin as “Foreigner B“.[5]” Wikipedia

STATEMENT OF THE OFFENSE FARA    Foreign Agents Registration Act  Violation 22 U.S.D.612 and 618(a)(1)

“Beginning in or around 2014 to the present, Patten worked with a Russian national [Konstantin Kilimnik] on lobbying and political consulting services. The two formed a company [Begemot Ventures International] in the United States, and were 50-50 partners. Beginning in or around 2015, [Begemont Ventures International], among other things, advised the Opposition Bloc (a Ukrainian political party) and members of that party, including a prominent Ukraine oligarch [Serhiy Lyovochkin]…[who] caused payments to be made to Begemon Ventures International through an offshore Cypriot account…receiv[ing] over $1,000,000 for its work for the Opposition Bloc and Ukraine consulting work…PATTEN violated [FARA] by contacting members of the United States legislative and executive branches as well as the media. Such communications included efforts to set up meetings between [Kilimnik, Lyovochkin] with Members of Congress and staff, without disclosing that he was an agent of the Opposition Bloc. Patten also drafted talking points for [Lyovochkin] on Capitol Hill as well as talking points for Congressional staffers to use to convince other Congressional Members and staff to meet with [Lyovochkin.] January 2017, PATTEN and Kilimnik drafted an op-ed article on behalf of Lyovochkin  to address concerns regarding Ukraine’s ability to work effectively with the new United Stateds administration. PATTEN then attempted to get the op-ed article placed with various United States media outlets. In or around February 2017, PATTEN successfully got the op-ed article published in a national United States media outlet.”

Patten concealed a $50,000 “straw” payment for 4 Inauguration Tickets on behalf of Lyovochkin, paid through the Cypriot bank, and lied about it.