(…) In another message sent from his State Department email account, Winer also touted Steele to an executive at APCO Worldwide, Ariuna Namsrai.“Ariuna, my friend Chris Steele from London is in town and working on Russian matters as always,” Winer emailed Namsrai on Nov. 20, 2014. “I thought it might make sense for the two of you to get together if you had any time tomorrow.”
“Great to hear from you!” she enthused in reply. “I met Chris before so it’s nice to hear that he is in DC.” In the same email, Namsrai asks, “Chris — what time is convenient for you?”
The arrangements having been made for Namsrai to meet with Steele, she closed by saying, “Miss you Jonathan, and hope to see you soon! Hugs, Ariuna.”
As one lawyer who specializes in federal employment law told RealClearInvestigations, it is “wildly inappropriate” for a State Department official to be recommending contractors to lobbyists with business before the department.
But there’s more to it. Who, after all, is Ariana Namsrai, with whom Winer is on a “hugs” basis? She is APCO’s managing director for Russia. Born in Mongolia, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
APCO is of particular interest because Winer was a senior director and “business diplomacy consultant” for the firm from May 2008 to August 2013. After he left the State Department in 2017, Winer returned to APCO as a “senior counselor.”
During his first stint, Winer worked with Namsrai representing a Russian nuclear power company called Techsnabexport. Or at least they did their best to make it appear they were primarily working for that company when they were actually working for the Russian government.
APCO’s 2011 Foreign Agents Registration Act filing names Techsnabexport as the “foreign principal” for which it was working. The firm described their client as “an open joint-stock company wholly owned by the JSC Atomenergoprom.” In the fine print, one discovers that the company in turn is “wholly owned by State corporation for Atomic Energy, ‘Rosatom,’ which is wholly owned by the Russian government.”
A “Contract for Lobbying Services and Consulting Services” was drawn up by APCO in April 2010, a copy of which was attached as a secondary appendix to the FARA filing. The “Scope of Work” includes “Creating and promoting a new image of State Atomic Energy Corporation ‘Rosatom,’” supporting “the interests of Rosatom in the USA,” and overcoming “existing political and trade barriers.”
In October 2010, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved Rosatom’s controversial acquisition of Uranium One, a Canadian company with extensive mining projects in the U.S.
Namsrai did not respond to emails from RealClearInvestigations asking why APCO listed Techsnabexport as its “foreign principal” client and not the official Russian state nuclear power enterprise, Rosatom, and whether Steele performed any work for the company.” (Read more: RealClearInvestigations, 8/25/2020) (Archive)