Tag Archives: Robert Mueller

Key Trump + Russia Figures and Entities

All information here is gathered from open-source (Wikipedia) and from news sources (links cite where information was gathered)

Joseph Mifsud (The Professor)

Maltese academic, with high level connections to the Russian state.

He is a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malta, a former principal in the London Centre of International Law Practice, a professorial teaching fellow at the University of Stirling in Scotland, and director of the London Academy of Diplomacy, where he held seminars on Brexit.

He was awarded a PhD entitled “Managing educational reform: a comparative approach from Malta (and Northern Ireland); a headteachers’ perspective” in 1995 from Queen’s University Belfast.

Investigators say Mifsud enticed George Papadopoulos, an advisor to the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, with a promise of Russian “dirt” on Hillary Clinton.

He is a Member of the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR) and a former President of EMUNI in Slovenia. He was a regular at meetings of the Valdai Discussion Club, an annual conference held in Sochi, Russia, attended by Vladimir Putin.

http://observer.com/2017/11/the-mystery-of-joseph-mifsud-george-papadopoulos-russian-contact/

Alexander Dugin

https://www.thedailybeast.com/russias-alt-right-rasputin-says-hes-steve-bannons-ideological-soul-mate

Lev Leviev

Billionaire real estate tycoon and diamond mogul.

Leviev, a global tycoon known as the “king of diamonds”, was a business partner of the Russian-owned company Prevezon Holdings Limited that was at the center of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit launched in New York. Under the leadership of US attorney Preet Bharara, who was fired by Trump in March, prosecutors pursued Prevezon for allegedly attempting to use Manhattan real estate deals to launder money stolen from the Russian treasury.

The scam had been uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant who died in 2009 in a Moscow jail in suspicious circumstances. US sanctions against Russia imposed after Magnitsky’s death were a central topic of conversation at the notorious Trump Tower meeting last June between Kushner, Donald Trump Jr, Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer with ties to the Kremlin.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/24/jared-kushner-new-york-russia-money-laundering

Denis Katsyv

Denis Katsyv is a Russian businessman based in Moscow and owner of Prevezon Holdings Limited. He was linked in a civil assets case to money laundering through real estate investments in the United States, in violation of the Magnitsky Act of 2012; the case was settled in 2017 with the United States Justice Department by Prevezon agreeing to pay $5.9 million in fines.

Katsyv has been represented by attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with Donald Trump Jr in the summer of 2016, during his father’s presidential campaign before Donald Trump was elected as president of the United States. Veselnitskaya was seeking an end to sanctions against Russian nationals under the Magnitsky Act.

Prevezon Holdings Limited

In May 2017, Prezevon settled a case brought by the U.S Department of Justice for $5.9 million in fines. It was related to Russian tax fraud and money laundering originally uncovered by the late Russian lawyer and auditor Sergei Magnitsky. Denis Katsyv is a Russian businessman based in Moscow and owner of Prevezon Holdings Limited.

Katsyv was represented by attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya. He provided financial support to the “Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation” a lobbying agent against the Magnitsky act that was created February 2015 in Delaware. Denis Katsyv was specifically named in testimony by American-British financier Bill Browder to the United States House Judiciary Committee of the 115th Congress on July 27, 2017 in regards to the Magnitsky Act. Katsyv had lobbied against this legislation.

Natalia Veselnitskaya

In 2009, Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who had accused Moscow law enforcement of stealing $230 million tax in tax rebates from his client, was beaten to death in jail. In 2012, Magnitsky’s client, Bill Browder, secured passage of the Magnitsky Act, which imposed sanctions on the officials involved. Russian President Vladimir Putin responded by banning adoptions by Americans.

In February 2015, the “Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation” was created in Delaware. Rinat Akhmetshin, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Russia who has worked as a Washington lobbyist since 1998, agreed to lobby for the foundation backed by Denis Katsyv.[12][13] From 1986 to 1988, Akmetshin had served in the Soviet Army, where he obtained the rank of sergeant and worked in a counterintelligence unit for the KGB.[12] Veselnitskaya’s campaign included an unsuccessful attempt in Washington to repeal the Magnitsky Act and to “keep Mr. Magnitsky’s name off the Law.

On June 9, 2016, Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner in Trump Tower, which they had scheduled after Emin Agalarov‘s publicist, Rob Goldstone, had told Donald Jr. that she was a “Russian government attorney” offering incriminating information on Hillary Clinton due to “its government’s support for Mr. Trump”. Donald Trump Jr. later claimed in July of 2017 that Veselnitskaya instead used the meeting to criticize the Magnitsky Act.

Akhmetshin says he met with Veselnitskaya for lunch before the meeting where she then asked him to attend, which he did. According to Akhmetshin, Veselnitskaya’s translator, Anatoli Samachornov, also attended. He also says Veselnitskaya left a document with Trump Jr.

Two days after the Trump Tower meeting, the foundation registered to lobby Congress on the Magnitsky Act.[12]
Later that June, Veselnitskaya screened a film by Andrei Nekrasov at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., that was critical of Magnitsky.

She was “deeply involved in the making of The Magnitsky Act — Behind the Scenes. She provided the film crew with “the real proofs and records of testimony” according to RussiaTV5, a “station whose owners are known to be close to Mr. Putin”.

Veselnitskaya represented Pyotr Katsyv’s son, Denis, when Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, charged him with money laundering. Federal prosecutors accused Katsyv of using Manhattan real estate deals to launder money stolen from Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management in violation of the Magnitsky Act. The Russian government then banned Bharara from traveling there.

In October 2015, Veselnitskaya traveled to Manhattan with her clients for a deposition in the case. After being told at the end of the deposition that the counter-party would be required to reimburse her expenses, she billed the U.S. government for $50,000, including an $800 meal, eight grappas, and a $995-a-night room at the Plaza Hotel. Two months after President Donald Trump fired Bharara, the case settled, with Katsyv’s company, Prevezon Holdings, paying $6 million without admitting any wrongdoing. The settlement was for less than 3% of the amount prosecutors had initially sought.

In March 2017, Senator Chuck Grassley filed a complaint alleging that the foundation, Akhmetshin, Prevezon Holdings, and Fusion GPS had violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

In a July 14, 2017 intervew with the Wall Street Journal, Veselnitskaya acknowledged that she was in regular contact with the Russian prosecutor general’s office and with Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.

Rinat Akhmetshin

Akhmetshin served as a counterintelligence officer under the Soviet Union and, according to some U.S. officials, is suspected of “having ongoing ties to Russian Intelligence”. According to his statements, from 1986 to 1988 Rinat Akhmetshin served as a draftee in a unit of the Soviet military that had responsibility for law enforcement issues as well as some counterintelligence matters.

He moved to the United States in 1994. In 1998, he set up the Washington D.C. office of the International Eurasian Institute for Economic and Political Research to “help expand democracy and the rule of law in Eurasia.” He has been tied to lobbying for political opposition to Kazakhstan’s ruling president Nursultan Nazarbayev, efforts to discredit former member of Russia’s parliament Ashot Egiazaryan who fled to the U.S., as well as major corporate disputes.

In 2009, he obtained citizenship of the United States.[9] In 2016 Akhmetshin told Politico: “Just because I was born in Russia doesn’t mean I am an agent of [the] Kremlin.’

In 2010, he submitted an op-ed to The Washington Times on behalf of the then director of Russia’s anti-narcotic police, Viktor Ivanov.

On the night of April 11, 2017, Akhmetshin met with US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher in the lobby of The Westin Grand Berlin in Berlin, Germany. There was a discussion about a high profile money laundering case, along with related sanctions against Russia. The two had meet previously in May 2016 in a meeting in Rohrabacher’s office.

Felix Sater

Felix Henry Sater (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky; Russian: Феликс Михайлович Шеферовский; March 2, 1966) is a Russia-born American real estate developer and former managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate conglomerate based out of New York City, New York. Sater has been an advisor to many corporations, including The Trump Organization, Rixos Hotels and Resorts, Sembol Construction, Potok (formerly the Mirax Group), and TxOil.

In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia.[7][8] In exchange for his guilty plea, he agreed to become an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors, assisting with organized crime.

On July 20, Bloomberg News reported that the special counsel had taken over a preexisting money-­laundering investigation launched by ousted U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and was said to be examining, among other things, the development of the Trump Soho. The Financial Times said Sater was cooperating in the investigation.

Trump discussing Felix Sater in BBC interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N5Kun2sJPA

Sater + Carter Page + Global Habitat Solutions + 590 Madison: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-felix-sater-ties_us_58d2b6cbe4b02d33b747cb8b

Cambridge Analytica

Cambridge Analytica (CA) is a privately held company that combines data mining and data analysis with strategic communication for the electoral process. It was created in 2013 as an offshoot of its British parent company SCL Group to participate in American politics.[2] In 2014, CA was involved in 44 U.S. political races.[3] The company is partly owned by the family of Robert Mercer, an American hedge-fund manager who supports many politically conservative causes.[2][4] The firm maintains offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., and London.

In 2015 it became known as the data analysis company working initially for Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign.[4] In 2016, after Cruz’s campaign had faltered, CA worked for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign,[6] and on the Leave.EU-campaign for the United Kingdom‘s withdrawal from the European Union. CA’s role and impact on those campaigns has been disputed and is the subject of ongoing criminal investigations in both countries.

https://medium.com/textifire/a-special-relationship-the-birth-of-cambridge-analytica-97633129cb06

Renaissance Technologies (RenTech)

Renaissance Technologies LLC is an East Setauket, New York-based[4] American investment management firm founded in 1982 by James Simons, an award-winning mathematician and former Cold War code breaker, which specializes in systematic trading using only quantitative models derived from mathematical and statistical analyses. Renaissance is one of the first highly successful hedge funds using quantitative trading—known as “quant hedge funds”—that rely on powerful computers and sophisticated mathematics to guide investment strategies.

In 1988 the firm established its most profitable portfolio, the Medallion Fund, which used an improved and expanded form of Leonard Baum‘s mathematical models, improved by algebraist James Ax, to explore correlations from which they could profit. Simons and Ax started a hedge fund and named it Medallion in honor of the math awards that they had won.[5][6]
Renaissance’s flagship Medallion fund, which is run mostly for fund employees,[7] “is famed for one of the best records in investing history, returning more than 35 percent annualized over a 20-year span”.[4] From 1994 through mid-2014 it averaged a 71.8% annual return.[8] Renaissance offers two portfolios to outside investors—Renaissance Institutional Equities Fund (RIEF) and Renaissance Institutional Diversified Alpha (RIDA).

Simons ran Renaissance until his retirement in late 2009.[10] The company is now jointly run by Peter Brown and Robert Mercer, two computer scientists specializing in computational linguistics who joined Renaissance in 1993 from IBM Research.[1][9][11] Simons continues to play a role at the firm as non-executive chairman and remains invested in its funds, particularly the secretive and consistently profitable black-box strategy known as Medallion.[12] Because of the success of Renaissance in general and Medallion in particular, Simons has been described as the best money manager on earth.[13][14][15] By October 2015, Renaissance had roughly $65 billion worth of assets under management, most of which belong to employees of the firm.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Renaissance is the top financial firm contributing to federal campaigns in the 2016 election cycle, donating $33,108,000 by July.[34]By comparison, over that same period sixth ranked Soros Fund Management has contributed $13,238,551.[34] Renaissance’s managers have also been active in the 2016 cycle, contributing nearly $30 million by June, with Mercer ranking as the #1 individual federal donor, largely to Republicans, and Simons ranked #5, largely to Democrats.

During the 2016 campaign cycle Simons contributed $26,277,450, ranking as the 5th largest individual contributor. Simons directed all but $25,000 of his funds towards liberal candidates. Mercer contributed $25,059,300, ranking as the 7th largest individual contributor. Mercer directed all funds contributed towards conservative candidates.

Since 1990 Renaissance has contributed $59,081,152 to federal campaigns and since 2001 has spent $3,730,000 on lobbying.

Robert Mercer

Robert Leroy Mercer (born July 11, 1946),[2] better known as Bob Mercer, is an American computer scientist, a developer in early artificial intelligence, and co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund.

Mercer is a major funder of organizations supporting a right-wing agenda, such as Breitbart News,[4] Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign for president[5] and Brexit in the United Kingdom.[6] He is the principal benefactor of the Make America Number 1 super PAC.

In November 2017, he announced he will be stepping down from Renaissance Technologies and selling his stake in Breitbart News.

In 2015, The Washington Post called Mercer one of the ten most influential billionaires in politics.[17] Since 2006, Mercer has donated about $34.9 million to federal campaigns.[18]
Mercer has given $750,000 to the Club for Growth, $2 million to American Crossroads,[19] and $2.5 million to Freedom Partners Action Fund.[20] In 2010, he financially supported Art Robinson‘s efforts to unseat Peter DeFazio in Oregon’s 4th congressional district.[21] In the 2013-2014 election cycle, Mercer donated the fourth largest amount of money among individual donors and the second most among Republican donors.[2]
Mercer joined the Koch brothers conservative political donor network after the 2010 Citizens United v. FEC, but Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer, decided to establish their own political foundation.[22] The Mercer Family Foundation, run by Rebekah, has donated to a variety of conservative causes.[2]
Mercer has donated to the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Media Research Center, Reclaim New York, and GAI.[23][9] In 2013, Mercer was shown data by former Jimmy Carter pollster Patrick Caddell, who has been critical of top Democrats, and commissioned more research from Caddell that showed “voters were becoming alienated from both political parties and mainstream candidates”.[9]
Mercer was the main financial backer of the Jackson Hole Summit, a conference that took place in Wyoming in August 2015 to advocate for the gold standard.[4] He has also supported Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, Fred Kelly Grant (an Idaho activist who encourages legal challenges to environmental laws), a campaign for the death penalty in Nebraska, and funded ads in New York critical of the so-called “ground-zero mosque“.[4] According to associates interviewed by Bloomberg, Mercer is concerned with the monetary and banking systems of the United States, which he believes are in danger from government meddling.[4] He invested $11 million in media outlet Breitbart.com in 2011.[24]

Brexit

Mercer was an activist in the campaign to pull the United Kingdom out of the European Union, also known as Brexit. Andy Wigmore, communications director of Leave.EU, said that Mercer donated the services of data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica to Nigel Farage, the head of the United Kingdom Independence Party. The firm was able to advise Leave.EU through its ability to harvest data from people’s Facebook profiles in order to target them with individualized persuasive messages to vote for Brexit. However, Leave.EU did not inform the UK electoral commission of the donation despite the fact that a law demands that all donations valued over £7,500 must be reported.[6]

2016 U.S. election

According to the Center for Responsive Politics Mercer is currently ranked the #1 donor to federal candidates in the 2016 election cycle, ahead of Renaissance founder James Harris Simons, who is ranked #5 and generally donates to Democrats.[18] By June 2016, Mercer had donated $2 million to John R. Bolton‘s super PAC and $668,000 to the Republican National Committee.[18] Mercer was a major financial supporter of the 2016 presidential campaign of Ted Cruz,[25] contributing $11 million to a super PAC associated with the candidate.[26] Reporter Zachary Mider, writing for Bloomberg in January 2016, called Mercer “the biggest single donor” in the 2016 U.S. presidential race.[4]
Mercer was a major supporter of Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign for president.[5] Mercer and his daughter played a role in the elevation of Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conwayinto senior roles in the Trump campaign.[23] Rebekah worked with Conway on the Cruz Super-PAC Keep the Promise in the 2016 Republican primaries.[9] Mercer also financed a Super PAC, Make America Number One, which supported Trump’s campaign.[23] Nick Patterson, a former colleague of Mercer’s, has said, “In my view, Trump wouldn’t be President if not for Bob.[13]

Race relations

Mercer has said that the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark federal statute arising from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, was a major mistake. In 2017, David Magerman, a former Renaissance employee, alleged in a lawsuit that Mercer had said that African Americans were economically better off before the civil rights movement, that white racists no longer existed in the United States, and that the only racists remaining were black racists.[13]

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/03/27/the-reclusive-hedge-fund-tycoon-behind-the-trump-presidency

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/feb/26/robert-mercer-breitbart-war-on-media-steve-bannon-donald-trump-nigel-farage

Rebekah Mercer

Mercer directs the Mercer Family Foundation and served on the Executive Committee of the transition team of United States President-elect Donald Trump.[3] Mercer is the daughter of Diana Lynne (Dean) and billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer.[4] During the 2016 U.S. presidential primaries, Mercer led Keep the Promise I, a Super PAC which was the largest outside benefactor of Ted Cruz.[2] Renamed Make America Number 1, it supported Donald Trump in the general election. She has consulted extensively with former Democratic strategist and pollster Patrick Caddell on campaigns.[5] She also worked with Stephen Bannon to create the film Clinton Cash.[6] In September 2016, Politico described her as “the most powerful woman in GOP politics.”

Under Mercer’s leadership, the family foundation increased its donations from $1.7 million in 2009 to $18.3 million in 2014, with $35 million going to conservative think tanks and policy groups in that time period.

During the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Mercer proposed creating a searchable database for Hillary Clinton’s e-mails in the public domain and then forwarded this suggestion to several people, including Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, who e-mailed a request to Julian Assange for Clinton’s emails.[8][9] Assange responded to the report by saying he denied Nix’s request.

In the Trump transition, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mercer had helped in successfully lobbying against Mitt Romney as secretary of state and for Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. Politico reported that some said she had not favored Corey Lewandowski as possible Republican National Committee chair and that Lewandowski had reportedly resisted paying for services from data firm Cambridge Analytica–a company funded by the Mercers–early in the campaign, though a close associate of Mercer’s denied the stories. Paul Manafort, Kellyanne Conway‘s predecessor as campaign director, was also said to be critical of Cambridge Analytica, which had worked for Ted Cruz and was financially backed by the Mercers. Conway reportedly said that after the inauguration, the expectation was that Mercer was likely to lead an outside group, funded by her father, aimed at bolstering Mr. Trump’s agenda. It was assumed that Cambridge Analytica would also assist the group’s efforts.

Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller

After a business meeting before the Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to “send five women” to Donald Trump’s hotel room in Moscow, his longtime bodyguard told Congress this week, according to three sources who were present for the interview.

Two of the sources said Keith Schiller viewed the offer as a joke, and immediately responded, “We don’t do that type of stuff.”

The two sources said Schiller’s comments came in the context of him adamantly disputing the allegations made in the Trump dossier, written by a former British intelligence operative, which describes Trump having an encounter with prostitutes at the hotel during the pageant. Schiller he described his reaction to that story as being, “Oh my God, that’s bull—,” two sources said.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/trump-bodyguard-testifies-russian-offered-trump-women-was-turned-down-n819386

Dmitry Budanov

Recently hired to provide security for the US embassy in Moscow: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dmitry-budanov-2355804/

Sergei Millian (Source D)

In June, a Belarusan American businessman who goes by the name Sergei Millian shared some tantalizing claims about Donald Trump.

Trump had a long-standing relationship with Russian officials, Millian told an associate, and those officials were now feeding Trump damaging information about his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. Millian said that the information provided to Trump had been “very helpful.”

Unbeknownst to Millian, however, his conversation was not confidential. His associate passed on what he had heard to a former British intelligence officer who had been hired by Trump’s political opponents to gather information about the Republican’s ties to Russia.

The allegations by Millian — whose role was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and has been confirmed by The Washington Post — were central to the dossier compiled by the former spy, Christopher Steele. While the dossier has not been verified and its claims have been denied by Trump, Steele’s document said that Millian’s assertions had been corroborated by other sources, including in the Russian government and former intelligence sources.

Kirill Dimitriv

Russian businessman and CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a $10 billion sovereign wealth fund created by the Russian government to co-invest in the Russian economy alongside the sovereign wealth funds of other countries.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-01-17/in-davos-trump-aide-talks-deals-with-sanctioned-kremlin-fund

https://theintercept.com/2017/11/28/blackwaters-erik-prince-met-with-ceo-of-russian-direct-investment-fund/

Shortly before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater and head of Frontier Services Group, traveled to the Seychelles, an island nation in the Indian Ocean, and met with a Russian official close to President Vladimir Putin. According to the Washington Post, the meeting between the Russian and Prince, who presented himself as an unofficial envoy of Trump, took place “around January 11” and was brokered by Mohammed bin Zayed, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, to establish a backchannel between the president-elect and Putin.

The identity of the Russian individual was not disclosed, but on January 11, a Turkish-owned Bombardier Global 5000 charter plane flew Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, to the Seychelles, flight records obtained by The Intercept show. Dmitriev’s plane was an unscheduled charter flight and flew to the island with two other Russian individuals, both women. The RDIF is a $10 billion sovereign wealth fund created by the Russian government in 2011.

On August 7, Prince told CNN that he was in the Seychelles “on business” in January to meet with Emirati officials and met “some fund manager — I can’t even remember his name.” Prince said the meeting “probably lasted about as long as one beer.”

George “Guido” Lombardi

https://medium.com/@ScottMStedman/exclusive-long-time-trump-confidant-george-lombardi-has-been-misleading-with-his-story-329c5c258bc0

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/14/world/europe/trump-tower-neighbor-europe-populists-orban-wilders-le-pen.html?_r=0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ik9Iy3J24w

Simona Mangiante

Fiancee of George Papadopoulos.

The Italian fiancee of George Papadopoulos offered the first public defense of the embattled former Trump campaign adviser, who in October was revealed as the first campaign adviser to plead guilty and cooperate with the special counsel’s Russia probe.

Mangiante said Papadopoulos “set up meetings with leaders all over the world” for senior campaign officials. He was “constantly in touch with high-level officials in the campaign,” she added. That included direct communication with now-former senior Trump advisers Steve Bannon and Michael Flynn, Mangiante said, adding that she had seen correspondence supporting the assertion.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/george-papadopoulos-fiancee-patriot-trump-campaign-coffee-boy/story?id=51654250