Will no stone be left unturned? Seeing is believing … Most likely Trump’s business friends will take a BIG, BIG hit and may lead to the downfall of the Trump business facade. Quite similar to HRC’s defeat led to drying uo funfs of the Clinton Foundation. Left and Right in America in the bulls eye of U.S. Congress … what has taken so long for the legislature to tax or dispossess illegal money transfers from global organized crime. The capitalist financial centra are reaping the profits of the oligarchs and dictators from totalitarian regimes for many decades. Corruption breeds more corruption as America sees in the undermining of what once was to be a democratic nation …
The United States follows in the footsteps of another liberal state that has grown into a fascist, military nation: Israel.
○ The crisis in Israel, danger of Fascism? | מצפן – June 1978 | By Avishai Ehrlich
The linked oligarchs from the Trump empire are mostly from former Soviet satellite states governed by an autocrat ruler and many flying in and out of Israel for financial deals. Not only ties to the Russian mafia, but also with Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Israel, Azerbaijan, and so on …
It is the specialities of Mueller’s team that is more likely to be a serious concern to the Trump camp, since they point to a wide-ranging inquiry that will look into all aspects of Trump’s complex links to Russia.
One of the more recent recruits is reported to be Lisa Page, a justice department trial attorney with a substantial record of investigating Russian and former Soviet organised crime and in particular its reputed godfather, Semion Mogilevich.
Continued below the fold …
Vladimir Putin is known to use oligarchs and organised crime bosses as instruments of Kremlin influence abroad.
“This pick really shows that Mueller recognises that Russian organised crime and sophisticated financial transactions involving them are going to be right at the centre and Page is definitely a leading expert there,” said Scott Horton, a U.S. lawyer with experience of working in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. [Scott Horton’s significant clients have included the governments of Georgia, Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Taiwan and South Korea as well as AIG, CBS, EBRD, IFC, Newmont Mining, Shell Oil and the financier George Soros]
Another sign that the Mueller team will take a “follow the money” approach is the recruitment of Andrew Weissmann, an organised crime expert who oversaw lengthy cases in the U.S. district court for the eastern district of New York focused on the city’s mafia families and their infiltration of Wall Street.
Weissmann formerly led the FBI’s fraud unit and the taskforce that unpicked the complex financial dealings of Enron [NYT], after the giant energy corporation collapsed in December 2001. It was the most complex white collar crime investigation in FBI history and led to the convictions of the firm’s top management.
“What is striking to me is that his team is a counter-intelligence team and is a money fraud, banking, laundering-type team. Andrew Weissman did the Enron cases, which is all about following the money trail,” said Paul Rosenzweig, a former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the homeland security department.
Another legal heavyweight Mueller has recruited is Michael Dreeben, a former deputy solicitor general who has argued more than 100 cases before the US supreme court. Rosenzweig described him on the Lawfare blog as “quite possibly the best criminal appellate lawyer in America” and said he represented even worse news for Trump last week than Comey’s damning testimony.
Perestroika did not create a freer market; it simply legalized the black market. As the Soviet system collapsed, organized crime expanded and helped to oversee the rise of the oligarchs. Yeltsin’s “shock therapy” market liberalization presented bigger and more profitable avenues to organized crime bosses already well-connected to the government. Financial criminals involved in scams, money laundering and fraud became rich during “shock therapy.” During this period, boundaries between government, private business (represented by the oligarchs) and organized crime did not properly exist. That is why, once the dust of the 1990s privatization bonanza settled, assessing blame and accountability was (and remains) so difficult.
Members of the government and civil services and organized crime bosses used their power and wealth to secure Russia’s lucrative assets — thus forming the Russian oligarchy that controlled the fledgling private sector. Oil, gas, minerals, telecommunications, weapons systems (thanks to the KGB) and many other state-owned assets were sold off to oligarchs who had special relationships with the government and who were linked to organized crime.
The oil industry, Russia’s most promising money maker, was corrupted by oligarchs who cheated investors (including the Russian government, Western countries, the International Monetary Fund and many more) by selling oil at below-market prices to holding companies that they owned, which then turned around and sold the oil abroad at market prices. Such deals enriched private businessmen at the expense of the Russian government, tipping the balance of power away from the state. With the Russian state all but bankrupt, organized crime bosses and networks aligned themselves with the new holders of Russian power: the oligarchs. Organized crime continued to grow, thanks to the activities of the oligarchs operating in a legal gray area. Overall, organized crime began focusing more on financial crimes, which were more profitable and less damning than violent crimes.
The United States and Europe were very attractive markets. Organized criminals set up front companies and formed partnerships with foreign banks to defraud investors and launder their earnings. They exploited existing Russian communities in such places as New York, Miami, the Baltic States and Ukraine as both agents and victims of their activities.
The marriage of business and organized crime is illustrated in the case of Semyon Mogilevich. Mogilevich was a major actor in Ukrainian oil and natural gas and was considered a kingpin in the Russian mob. Though he was a silent partner in RosUkrEnergo, he used this company as a front to sell oil and natural gas to certain political factions in Ukraine. His activities reached into the United States, where he defrauded investors out of $150 million through a scam that included a magnet producer as a front company and reached up to executives at the Bank of New York.
In 2004, the director of Ukraine’s secret police accused him of conducting backroom deals with Russia’s state-owned natural gas company, Gazprom. In January 2008, Mogilevich was arrested in Moscow after meeting with the owner of a cosmetics company. Mogilevich is an example of the new breed of Russian organized criminal who moved away from violence and mixed crime with business to create a highly profitable form of white-collar crime that ran across industries and borders. Mogilevich also exemplifies how prolific Russian organized crime can be. By expanding, Russian organized crime increased its profile along with its profits. Affected countries’ law enforcement — including the FBI — turned their attention to Russian crime bosses in an effort to stymie the proliferation of financial crimes.
YULIA TYMOSHENKO, SCOTT SNIZEK, CHRISTY GREGORY RULLIS and JOHN DOES 1 through 50, on behalf of themselves and all of those similarly situated,
Plaintiffs, 11-CV-2794 (KMW)
SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
DMYTRO FIRTASH a/k/a DMITRY FIRTASH, SEMYON MOGILEVICH, ARTHUR G. COHEN, KAREN COHEN; BRAD S. ZACKSON, PAUL J. MANAFORT, CMZ VENTURES, LLC, KALLISTA INVESTMENTS LLC a/k/a CALISTER INVESTMENTS LLC, THE DYNAMIC GROUP a/k/a THE DYNAMIC FUND, BARBARA ANN HOLDINGS LLC, VULCAN PROPERTIES, INC., GROUP DF, GROUP DF LIMITED, GROUP DF FINANCE LIMITED, GROUP DF REAL ESTATE, and JOHN DOES 1 through 100,
- The initial funds for the operation of defendants’ Racketeering Enterprise came from the unlawful profits that defendant Dmytro Firtash and others “skimmed” from RosUkrEnergo AG (“RUE”) which, from 2004 to early 2009, served as a middleman in natural gas dealings between Naftogaz, a Ukrainian state-owned gas company, and Gazprom, a Russian company. Firtash, who largely controls RUE, was able to secure profits from various corrupt Russia-Ukraine gas deals due to his close relationship with, and payment of illegal kickbacks to, Ukrainian government officials, including then Naftogaz Chairman Yuriy Boyko and Deputy Chairman Ihor Voronin, both of whom were nominated to RUE’s Coordination Committee after securing RUE’s initial brokerage contract.
- Firtash and the U.S.-based defendants and co-conspirators, which together constitute a domestic U.S. racketeering enterprise, used the proceeds from the Russia-Ukraine gas deals to acquire various U.S.-based companies and entities, which were then incorporated into defendants’ racketeering enterprise and used to generate unlawful proceeds by means of a series of racketeering acts spanning over a period of several years and continuing to the present.
- Throughout the relevant time period, former Prime Minister Tymoshenko was a vocal critic of RUE’s gas contracts and the government corruption that enabled RUE to secure these contracts. Early in 2008, for example, during Tymoshenko’s second term as Prime Minister, she revoked the authority of a RUE/Naftogaz joint venture to operate in Ukraine.