Clinton Foundation donors

July 31, 2016 – Opinion: The Clinton Foundation, State and Kremlin Connections

The Skolkovo Innovation Center opens in 2010 and is often referred to as Russia’s “Silicon Valley.” (Credit: Valeny Meinkov/Sputnik)

By Peter Schweizer

“Hillary Clinton touts her tenure as secretary of state as a time of hardheaded realism and “commercial diplomacy” that advanced American national and commercial interests. But her handling of a major technology transfer initiative at the heart of Washington’s effort to “reset” relations with Russia raises serious questions about her record. Far from enhancing American national interests, Mrs. Clinton’s efforts in this area may have substantially undermined U.S. national security.

Consider Skolkovo, an “innovation city” of 30,000 people on the outskirts of Moscow, billed as Russia’s version of Silicon Valley—and a core piece of Mrs. Clinton’s quarterbacking of the Russian reset.

Following his 2009 visit to Moscow, President Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state directed the American side, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented the Russians. The stated goal at the time: “identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.”

The Kremlin committed $5 billion over three years to fund Skolkovo. Mrs. Clinton’s State Department worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, identify American tech companies worthy of Russian investment. Rusnano, which a scientific adviser to President Vladimir Putin called “Putin’s child,” was created in 2007 and relies entirely on Russian state funding.

What could possibly go wrong?

Soon, dozens of U.S. tech firms, including top Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel and Cisco , made major financial contributions to Skolkovo, with Cisco committing a cool $1 billion. In May 2010, the State Department facilitated a Moscow visit by 22 of the biggest names in U.S. venture capital—and weeks later the first memorandums of understanding were signed by Skolkovo and American companies.

By 2012 the vice president of the Skolkovo Foundation, Conor Lenihan —who had previously partnered with the Clinton Foundation—recorded that Skolkovo had assembled 28 Russian, American and European “Key Partners.” Of the 28 “partners,” 17, or 60%, have made financial commitments to the Clinton Foundation, totaling tens of millions of dollars, or sponsored speeches by Bill Clinton.

Russians tied to Skolkovo also flowed funds to the Clinton Foundation. Andrey Vavilov, the chairman of SuperOx, which is part of Skolkovo’s nuclear-research cluster, donated between $10,000 and $25,000 (donations are reported in ranges, not exact amounts) to the Clinton’s family charity. Skolkovo Foundation chief and billionaire Putin confidant Viktor Vekselberg also gave to the Clinton Foundation through his company, Renova Group.

Amid all the sloshing of Russia rubles and American dollars, however, the state-of-the-art technological research coming out of Skolkovo raised alarms among U.S. military experts and federal law-enforcement officials. Research conducted in 2012 on Skolkovo by the U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Program at Fort Leavenworth declared that the purpose of Skolkovo was to serve as a “vehicle for world-wide technology transfer to Russia in the areas of information technology, biomedicine, energy, satellite and space technology, and nuclear technology.” (Read more: Wall Street Journal, 7/31/2016)

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)

May 14, 2010 – Emails show Clinton ties to Russian oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, owner of Renova Group and head of the Skolkovo deal

Viktor Vekselberg (Credit: Dmitry Lovetsky/The Associated Press)

“New emails show Clinton Foundation staff pushed Hillary Clinton’s State Department to approve a meeting between Bill Clinton and a powerful Russian oligarch as her agency lined up investors for a project under his purview.

The Clintons’ relationship with Viktor Vekselberg, the billionaire whose name appears in the documents, has taken on new significance amid an expanding criminal investigation into his company. Last week, authorities raided the offices of Vekselberg’s firm, Renova Group, following allegations of bribery from several of Renova’s subsidiaries.

Vekselberg had been named head of a partnership dubbed the “Russian Silicon Valley” just three months before a Clinton Foundation employee began pushing the State Department to approve Bill Clinton’s proposed meeting with Vekselberg and a handful of other Russian executives.

(…) Vekselberg’s Renova Group has donated between $50,000 and $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation, donor records show. Another firm associated with Vekselberg, OC Oerlikon, donated $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation.

Renova’s interests in mining, oil and telecommunications have helped Vekselberg become one of Russia’s wealthiest individuals and an influential figure within the Kremlin.

Beginning in May 2010, Amitabh Desai, a Clinton Foundation employee who acted as a frequent liaison to the State Department on behalf of Bill Clinton, asked agency officials if they had any objections to the former president’s plan to meet with a handful of Russian executives on an upcoming swing through the country.

“Would State have concerns about WJC seeing any of these folks?” Desai wrote on May 14, 2010, using Bill Clinton’s initials. Vekselberg’s name appeared on the list of Russian businessmen.

After receiving no reply, Desai asked senior members of Hillary Clinton’s staff again 10 days later for their thoughts on Bill Clinton’s proposed meetings. On June 3, 2010, Desai said he and the former president “urgently need feedback” about what he had described as a “possible trip to Russia.”

Finally, after Desai entreated the State Department for a response to the list of names for the fourth time on June 7, 2010, Jake Sullivan, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, forwarded the request to another State Department official and asked: “What’s the deal [with] this?”

In April of that year, Bill Clinton’s staff had submitted to the State Department ethics office a request for the former president to deliver a paid speech in Moscow on June 28, 2010, an engagement that necessitated the trip to Russia that Desai described.

Renaissance Capital, a Russian investment bank, paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for that speech, according to his wife’s financial disclosures from 2010. The State Department had given its approval for the trip just two days after Bill Clinton’s office filed its request.

The former president’s travel to Russia for the speech and potential meetings with Vekselberg and others came as Hillary Clinton’s State Department labored to drum up interest in a technology-sharing project, led by Vekselberg, called Skolkovo.” (Read more: Washington Examiner, 9/12/2016)

2010 – 2011: Clintons understate support from firm hired by Russian nuclear company

Margery Kraus, founder and executive chairman, APCO Worldwide (Credit: public domain)

“The Clinton Foundation’s donor disclosure site vastly understated support that the Clinton Global Initiative received from APCO Worldwide, a global communications firm that lobbied on behalf of Russia’s state-owned nuclear company.

The site, created to detect conflicts of interest for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton because of her family’s various charitable efforts, shows APCO gave between $25,000 and $50,000 over the last decade.

But according to interviews and internal documents reviewed by The Hill, APCO was much more generous and provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in pro-bono services and in-kind contributions to the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) between 2008 and 2016.

For instance, an internal CGI document prepared in fall 2011 lists APCO’s in-kind contribution at $275,000 for that year alone. And APCO’s annual report on its global charitable efforts boasted of a large jump in support for CGI in 2011.

“In 2011, APCO significantly increased its pro-bono support for CGI and, for the first time, our team managed the press around CGI’s America meeting, as well as its global Annual Meeting,” APCO stated in a report submitted to the United Nations Global Compact.

The increase in the contributions came as APCO was paid $3 million in 2010 and 2011 to work for Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear company. Rosatom paid APCO to lobby the State Department and other federal agencies on behalf of its Tenex subsidiary, which sought to increase its commercial uranium sales in the United States.

In 2010 and 2011, APCO made more than 50 contacts with federal and congressional figures for Tenex, including at least 10 at the State Department, its foreign agent disclosure reports show.

APCO officials estimate their total cash support for CGI totaled $45,600 and their in-kind support to CGI exceeded $1 million since 2008. They also acknowledged that the firm’s pro-bono work increased significantly in 2011 while it worked for Tenex. But they insisted there was no connection between the professional and pro-bono work because separate units of the firm handled each.” (Read more: The Hill, 11/28/2017)

1995 -1999: Clinton donors and a Russian mafia kingpin, launder money, bilk investors and make a fortune, all while Clinton is president

Paul Reynolds (Credit Fred Lum/The Globe)

(…) “Clintons’ buddies from Canaccord Capital (Paul Reynolds) and GMP Securities (Eugene McBurney) have donated to both the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. But, what would really get everyone’s attention would be the YBM Magnex scandal.  Not familiar? Here, let me help.

In the late 1990s, both Eugene McBurney (GMP Securities) and Canaccord Capital became involved with Russian mafia kingpin Semion Mogilevich’s company, YBM Magnex. According to GMP Securities’ documents they “acted as underwriters for, provided research coverage of, and traded in securities of, YBM Magnex International Inc” between May, 1995 through May, 1998.  Canaccord Capital was another underwriter as was the “European arm of HSBC Asset Management,” James Capel.  

GMP founder Gene McBurney headlines the 2017 Subscriber Investment Summit in Toronto on March 4, 2017. (Credit: The Globe)

YBM Magnex which was actually established in the United States and located in Newtown, Pennsylvania was eventually shut down by U.S. authorities and pulled off the Toronto stock exchange. However, in the four years that the company was in business they went from “an obscure penny stock to a multinational worth nearly $1 billion.”  It was further reported that that their “net sales quadrupled, net income jumped nine-fold, earnings rose by a factor of five, and the future looked just as promising,”

If you want to run with the YBM Magnex story you could also throw in Semion Mogilevich’s ties to the Bank of New York money laundering scandal back in 1999.  That was a doozy, you have to admit. And not only was Mogilevich tied to the scandal, so was Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the Russian oligarch who was once worth $15 billion, was associated with Soros, and was represented by Kim Schmitz’s current attorney.  You see, Mogilevich took control of Inkombank in 1994, but the bank (along with its attorney, former Federal Prosecutor Arthur Christy) was sued by its stockholders in 1999 for defrauding investors and laundering their money.  At the same time, it was coming out in the wash that Mogilevich and Khodorkovsky had laundered over $7 billion (yes, billion) through the Bank of New York.

Sernion Mogilevich (Credit: public domain)

All of the accounts linked to the $7 billion had one common denominator: Benex.  Benex was a company set up by Russian Peter Berlin who’s wife was the vice president of the Bank of New York. Benex would later be “publicly listed as a customer of YBM Magnex International” and remember Boris Berezevsky that I talked about earlier, the guy working with both Soros and the Chechen warlords?  Yeah, that guy.  He owned part of Sobinbank and Flamingo, both of which were used as fronts for Peter Berlin’s companies.  The other cozy relationship in all of this was that Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s partner at Bank Menatep (which Khodorkosvsky owned), Kostantin Kagalovsky, was also married to Bank of New York employee, Natasha Gurfikel Kagalovsky.

During this time period Bill Clinton was still in office, his buddies who would later become major donors and involved in the uranium deal were in bed with a Russian mafia kingpin and making tons of money off of that by lying to investors while at the same time that very same Russia mafia figure and Soros’ friend, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, were money laundering billions of dollars through The Bank of New York. Huh.” (Read more: Jimmy’s Llama, 7/08/2017)