bribery

October 1, 2018 – Opinion – The FBI refuses to declassify and release 37 pages of memos about Russia, Clintons and Uranium One

Eight years after its informant uncovered criminal wrongdoing inside Russia’s nuclear industry, the FBI has identified 37 pages of documents that might reveal what agents told the Obama administration, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and others about the controversial Uranium One deal.

There’s just one problem: The FBI claims it must keep the memos secret from the public.

Their excuses for the veil of nondisclosure range from protecting national security and law enforcement techniques to guarding the privacy of individual Americans and the ability of agencies to communicate with each other.

(…) “I was the reporter who first disclosed last fall that a globetrotting American businessman, William Douglas Campbell, managed to burrow his way inside Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear giant, Rosatom, in 2009 posing as a consultant while working as an FBI informant.

Campbell gathered extensive evidence for his FBI counterintelligence handlers by early 2010 that Rosatom’s main executive in the United States, Vadim Mikerin, orchestrated a racketeering plot involving kickbacks, bribes and extortion that corrupted the main uranium trucking company in the United States. That is a serious national security compromise by any measure.

The evidence was compiled as Secretary Clinton courted Russia for better relations, as her husband former President Clinton collected a $500,000 speech payday in Moscow, and as the Obama administration approved the sale of a U.S. mining company, Uranium One, to Rosatom.

The sale — made famous years later by author Peter Schweizer and an epic New York Times exposé in 2015 — turned over a large swath of America’s untapped uranium deposits to Russia.

Mikerin was charged and convicted, along with some American officials, but not until many years later. Ironically, the case was brought by none other than current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — a magnet for controversy, it turns out.

But the years-long delay in prosecution mean that no one in the public, or in Congress, was aware that the FBI knew through Campbell about the Russian bribery plot as early as 2009 — well before the Obama-led Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) approved Uranium One in fall 2010.

Since the emergence of Campbell’s undercover work, there has been one unanswered question of national importance.

Did the FBI notify then-President Obama, Hillary Clinton and other leaders on the CFIUS board about Rosatom’s dark deeds before the Uranium One sale was approved, or did the bureau drop the ball and fail to alert policymakers?

Neither outcome is particularly comforting. Either the United States, eyes wide open, approved giving uranium assets to a corrupt Russia, or the FBI failed to give the evidence of criminality to the policymakers before such a momentous decision.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/01/2018)

December 21, 2017 – Trump EO targets 13 individuals with ties to the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation, or their associates

“The Trump Administration quietly issued an Executive Order (EO) last Thursday which allows for the freezing of US-housed assets belonging to foreign individuals or entities deemed “serious human rights abusers,” along with government officials and executives of foreign corporations (current or former) found to have engaged in corruption – which includes the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, and corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources. 

(…) In regard to the 13 listed individuals targeted by this order – several of whom have ties to the Clintons, the Clinton Foundation or Clinton associates – we find the following:

Goulnara Islamovna Karimova, 45, daughter of former Uzbekistan leader Islam Karimov, headed a powerful organized crime syndicate that leveraged state actors to expropriate businesses, monopolize markets, solicit bribes, and administer extortion rackets.

In early 2016, Amsterdam-based telecom giant VimpelCom (now VEON) admitted to a conspiracy in which they paid millions in bribes to Karimova for entry into the Uzbek telecom market. In a series of related cases, the U.S. Justice Department has sought the forfeiture of $850 million in bribe money from various bank accounts across Europe. In July, Uzbek officials arrested Karimova for fraud, money laundering, bribery, and embezzlement and a variety of other claims.

In 2009, a WikiLeaks cable notes that Karimova set her sights on Bill Clinton to gain access to then-Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

(WikiLeaks, 7/31/2009)

Three years later, Karimova co-sponsored a 2012 Clinton Foundation fundraiser in MonacoHillary Clinton’s State Department was asked to weigh in on Bill Clinton’s contacts with Karimova. Pictured below with Bill Clinton at an AIDS charity event in Cannes, France.

Goulnara Karimova and Bill Clinton (Credit: public domain)

Dan Gertler (Credit: public domain)

Dan Gertler is an Israeli billionaire mining magnate revealed by the Paradise Papers to be chief negotiator between the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and his primary business partner – mining company Glencore, founded by Marc Rich – who was pardoned for corruption by Bill Clinton on his last day in office after his wife gave $450,000 to the Clinton Library foundation.

Glencore immediately cut ties with Gertler following Trump’s Executive Order.

In 2001 Gertler gave $20m in cash to DRC President Joseph Kabila to use to buy weapons and fund his war against rebels to consolidate his grip on power. In exchange, Gertler’s company IDI was granted a monopoly on the DRC diamond trade, worth hundreds of millions a year. In 2013, Gertler sold the DRC rights to mine oil for $150 million, a 300x increase on an asset he   purchased from President Kabila 7 years prior for just $500,000.

In 2012, Kabila offered Bill Clinton $650k for a speech in the DRC – for which Clinton sought State Department approval -only to have his speaking agency recommend against the appearance which would require photos with the dictator.

Gertler’s family foundation is also linked to John McCain – sharing a seat on the board of directors of “Operation Smile” with Cindy McCain for a period of time.

Yahya and Zeinab Jammeh with Barack and Michelle Obama in 2014. (Credit: public domain)

Yahya Jammeh is the former President of Gambia who came to power in 1994 and stepped down in 2017. He has a long history of serious human rights abuses and corruption – creating a terror and assassination squad called the Junglers that answered directly to him.

Jammeh was installed as President during a 1994 CIA-led coup in Gambia authorized by the Clinton administration, and in 2014, the Obama administration effectively sidelined an attempted coup. Indeed, Jammeh appears to have been a friend to both the Clinton and the Obama Administrations.

Angel Rondon Rijo; Dominican Republic – Sanctioned for funneling a $92 million bribe from Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht to Dominican Republic officials as kickbacks. Odebrecht Donated $50-$100k to the Clinton Foundation.

Benjamin Bol Mel; Sudan – Financial Advisor to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and president of ABMC construction company accused of corruption. Hillary Clinton pushed for a waiver from the Obama Admin on the prohibition of military aid due to the use of child soldiers in South Sudan.

Artem Yuryevich Chayka; Russia – Son of Russia’s Prosecutor General, Yuri Chayka (Chaika) – used father’s connections to win state owned contracts. Curiously, Russian Attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya met with Yuri Chayka before her involvement in the infamous Trump Tower meeting arranged by Fusion GPS associate Rob Goldstone – a meeting many believe was one of several schemes used by the Obama administration to justify wiretapping the Trump campaign. Of note – Donald Trump Jr. reportedly shut down the Trump tower meeting when Natalia Veselnitskaya began discussing lifting sanctions under the Magnitsky act – the very legislation Trump’s Executive Order is now leveraging against Artem Chayka.

Mukhtar Hamid Shah; Pakistan – surgeon specializing in kidney transplants, believed to be involved in kidnapping, wrongful confinement, and the removal of and tracking in human organs from Pakistani laborers.

The rest of the 13 individuals have engaged in a variety of corruption and human rights abuses ranging from a Serbian arms dealer believed to be linked to a $95 million deal with Yemen, to government officials who ordered journalists murdered, to several instances of serious human rights violations. (h/t @HNIJohnMiller) (Read more: Zero Hedge, 12/28/2017)

December 15, 2017 – FBI informant, William Douglas Campbell, is interviewed by FBI agents from Arkansas, regarding Clinton donors connected to Uranium One

William Dennis Campbell (Credit: Tenam, USA)

(…) In his first on-camera interview, William Douglas Campbell told The Hill he was interviewed for about five hours in December by FBI agents from Little Rock, Ark., who were investigating whether donations to the Clinton’s charitable empire were used to influence U.S. nuclear policy during the Obama years.

(…) “Campbell worked as an FBI undercover informant from 2008 through 2014 inside Russia’s nuclear industry, helping to uncover a bribery, kickback, money laundering and extortion scheme that sent several Russian and U.S. executives to prison.

He was summoned for a closed-door congressional interview last month by Republicans, who believe the criminal wrongdoing Campbell uncovered should have stopped the Obama administration from approving the sale of the Uranium One mining firm and billions of dollars in U.S. nuclear fuel contracts to Russia. House Democrats issued a blistering memo attacking Campbell’s credibility, saying he couldn’t identify specific crimes committed by the Clintons and suffered from memory lapses that required him to rely on written notes.

Campbell dismissed the Democrats’ attacks as partisan.

(…) Campbell also disputed allegations by anonymous Justice officials and Democrats that while undercover he may have engaged in illegal payments with the Russians without approval. He said Moscow asked him to pay $25,000 in 2010 to hire a consultant to train him on nuclear issues and that his FBI handlers “sanctioned and were aware that I was transferring those monies.” When the Russians didn’t provide the consulting and asked for more money, the agents recognized it was a kickback scheme and authorized him to keep making payments so they could make a criminal case, he said.

He dismissed suggestions he lacked credibility, noting the FBI recently asked him for fresh information and paid him a $51,000 reward in 2016.

“I was embraced and told what a good job I had done,” he said. (Read more: The Hill, 3/22/2018)

October 22, 2010 – Red flags are raised in national security assessments of the Uranium One deal

(Credit: public domain)

“My sources tell me President Trump is putting the finishing touches on a White House initiative to declassify documents that have remained hidden from the public for far too long.

This welcome effort to provide more public transparency and accountability almost certainly will focus early on the failings of the now-debunked Russia collusion probe. And I’m sure it will spread quickly toward other high-profile issues, such as the government’s UFO files that have been a focus of clamoring for decades.

But my reporting indicates three sets of documents from the Obama years should be declassified immediately, too, because they will fundamentally change the public’s understanding of history and identify ways to improve governance.

The first includes the national security assessments that the U.S. intelligence community conducted under President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concerning the Russia nuclear giant Rosatom’s effort to acquire uranium business in the United States.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) – made up of Secretary Clinton and eight other senior federal officials – approved Rosatom’s purchase of mining company Uranium One’s U.S. assets in fall 2010, even as the FBI was gathering evidence that the Russian company’s American arm was engaged in bribery, kickbacks and extortion.

Sources who have seen these classified assessments tell me they debunk the last administration’s storyline that there were no national security reasons to oppose Rosatom’s Uranium One purchase or Vladimir Putin’s successful efforts to secure billions of dollars in new nuclear contracts with American utilities during the Obama years.

“There were red flags raised, and the assessments expose other weaknesses in how CFIUS goes about these approval processes,” one knowledgeable source told me.

Under Obama, sensitive foreign acquisitions almost routinely were rubber-stamped by CFIUS, and the approval process sometimes was delegated by Cabinet officials on the CFIUS committee to lower-ranking aides.

Clinton, for example, claims she allowed a deputy to decide the Uranium One purchase, even as her family foundation collected millions in donations from parties interested in the transaction and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, collected a $500,000 speech fee from Moscow.

Since Trump took office and Steve Mnuchin took over as Treasury secretary, laudable legislative and administrative changes have been designed to tighten up the CFIUS process, and the percentage of rejected foreign acquisitions has increased because of more aggressive national security vetting.

But sources say the release of the Rosatom intelligence assessments would identify additional steps that can improve the process, and finally would give Americans a complete picture of what happened during one of the most politically controversial CFIUS decisions in history.” (Read more: The Hill, 8/28/2019)

October 22, 2010 – The Obama administration and CFIUS committee approve the Uranium One deal

(Credit: public domain)

“Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.” (Read more: The Hill, 10/17/2017)

August 2009 – The FBI investigates a Russian bribery plot connected to Rosatom and Uranium One

Bill Clinton meets with Vladimir Putin in Moscow, 2010. (Credit: Mikhael Metzel/The Associated Press)

“Fifteen months before the 13 members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, approved the sale of the Canadian company Uranium One to Russia’s nuclear arm giant Rosatom, the FBI began investigating persons who were connected to the Russian state corporation. The FBI said in court documents and in interviews conducted by Circa that by 2010 they had gathered enough evidence to prove that Rosatom-connected officials were engaged in a global bribery scheme that included kickbacks and money laundering. FBI officials said the investigation could have prevented the sale of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium supply under U.S. law.

The deal which required approval by CFIUS, an inter-agency committee who reviews transactions that leads to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the United States. At the time of the Uranium One deal the panel was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.

By the time CFIUS approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom the FBI’s investigation had already gathered substantial evidence of bribery and kickbacks against a Russian national, Vadim Mikerin, who was then a top official with Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary, according to court documents. The FBI said while at Tenex, which was located in Maryland, Mikerin was involved in multiple bribery and kickback schemes.

(…)The Justice Department didn’t move forward an indictment with prosecution of bribery by people tied to Rosatom, through subsidies and other entities, until 2014 after CFIUS approved the sale of Uranium One, leaving the American public without knowledge of the Russian company’s allegedly illegal actives as it went to procure one-fifth of U.S. uranium supply.

(…) “A Russian state-owned enterprise responsible for selling Russian nuclear materials, contracted with a U.S. public relations expert in 2009 to provide public relations and marketing consulting services to TENEX in the United States,” states a court warrant. “The contractor approached the FBI and received authorization to participate in the scheme.”

Victoria Toensing, a lawyer for the FBI informant, said her client “is not only afraid of the Russian people, but he is afraid of the US government because of the threats the Obama administration made against him.”

“My client was providing information for a couple years before this really got voted on by CFIUS, and here’s the rub. High-ranking law enforcement officials in the Obama Administration knew that there was corruption in this company and that information about the corruption in this Russian entity never made it to CFIUS, evidently, because CFIUS authorized the purchase in 2010.” -Victoria Toensing, lawyer (Video interview at source link)

(…) One of the points of contention for people investigating the Clinton’s connections with Russia and the Uranium One deal was a $500,000 payment given to Bill Clinton by the Russian bank Renaissance Capital for a speech he gave in Moscow in June 2010. Analysts at Renaissance Capital, who paid the Bill Clinton for the speech, spoke highly of Uranium One’s stock saying in July 2010 research report that it was “the best play” in the uranium markets. The speech by Bill Clinton and the 2010 research report by Renaissance Capital happened while CFIUS, of which Hillary Clinton was a sitting member, was looking at the Uranium One sale to Rosatom. A spokesperson for Hillary Clinton did not return calls seeking comment and no evidence has been presented the speech payment made to Bill Clinton had any connection to the passage of the deal. Officials at Renaissance Capital could not be reached immediately for comment.At the time of the investigation did any of the U.S. law enforcement, intelligence or other agencies involved in the case inform the CFIUS board of the ongoing investigation? If not, why not? If they were informed, why did they make the decision they did to approve the Uranium One transaction? Did the president, himself, know?,” a U.S. official who worked counterintelligence cases related to Russia told Circa.

During the time of the FBI’s investigation which began in 2009, Tenex was able to expand its American foothold with $6 billion in new utility contracts, according to documents and news reports obtained by Circa.

The case being built against Mikerin in 2010 was under the supervision of Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, then an Obama appointee who now serves as President Trump’s deputy attorney general. According to court documents, the case was also handled by then Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is currently the deputy FBI director under Trump. The Department of Justice and the FBI would not comment on the bribery investigation of Mikerin.” (Read more: Circa, 10/17/2017)