Last year, I started playing soccer for the first time in about thirty years in a local adult league. I had a lot of success at it, scored a lot of goals despite my decrepitude, and made it through the season in much better shape than I started it. I was hoping to play again this spring, but my boy reached the age where he could play organized baseball, was playing soccer himself, and there’s a limit to how much sports I can fit into my schedule.
I’m going to play this morning, however, and I hope a few more weeks in July before I take a much needed vacation in August. I need to stretch out for this because a 47 year old body requires this, so I don’t have time right now to do what I’d like, which is try to tell you just how messed up it is that Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Donald Trump Jr. were meeting with Russian mob lawyers who are also pawns of the Kremlin back in June of 2016.
The story is very, very complicated and I spent several hours last night reading up on it. One lawyer involved in the case died in a Russian prison at the hands of the Interior Ministry. Another was recently pushed out of 4th story window. The key figure in the whole thing, Denis Katsyv, was represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya who was in the meeting with Trump’s inner circle. Another key figure, Andrey Pavlov, is described as “the consigliere for the Klyuev Group.” Members of the Klyuev Group are described as Russian mobsters linked to the Russian government.
One thing I did last night was sit down and read the complaint that Preet Bharara filed against Denis Katsyv. It makes for fascinating reading. The sophistication of their money laundering is dizzying. The reach of their corruption into Russian courts, the tax ministry and the Interior Ministry is simply astonishing. Preet Bharara was of course fired while conducting this case and it was recently settled for about 6 million dollars without Katsyv or his companies having to acknowledge any guilt.
Before you even tackle this material, one thing you should know is that Putin’s government has been ruthlessly defending these mobsters even though the root of the whole complaint is that they carried out the biggest tax fraud on the Russian treasury in recorded history.
Putin sent these folks to talk to Trump’s inner circle in June because he was pissed off that Congress passed a law after goons from his Interior Ministry beat the lawyer who uncovered this fraud to death. The law places sanctions on 44 individuals who are known to have been involved in this lawyer’s mistreatment and death. Putin suspended American adoptions of Russian orphans in retaliation, which is something he has done for other reasons in the past, too.
In any case, I’m just giving you the Cliff Notes here. Since I don’t have time to sift through this for you this morning, I recommend that you follow the links in this piece.
You won’t believe what you discover.