WASHINGTON, D.C. – While the mainstream media continues to obsess over Paul Manafort and Gen. Michael Flynn’s supposed “Russian collusion,” totally ignored are the ties Tony Podesta, the brother of Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign chairman John Podesta, had to both Uranium One and to Sherbank, Moscow’s largest state-run bank with close ties to international terrorism and to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
As the Russians gained control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 through 2013, the Podesta Group was paid a total of $630,000 between 2010 and 2015 to represent Uranium One, the Russian-controlled firm with close financial ties to the Clinton Foundation that today controls 20 percent of all U.S. uranium produced.
Podesta ties to Russian Money, Putin, and Russian clandestine operations
Among the revelations made public through the 11.5 million documents leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists detailing the legal and financial arrangements behind secretive off-shore banking transactions dating back to the 1970s was the disclosure Russia’s largest bank, the state-owned Sherbank, uses the Podesta Group as its registered lobbyist in Washington.
“Sberbank (Savings Bank in Russian) engaged the Podesta Group to help its public image—leading Moscow financial institutions not exactly being known for their propriety and wholesomeness—and specifically to help lift some of the pain of sanctions placed on Russia in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine, which has caused real pain to the country’s hard-hit financial sector,” wrote former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer John R. Schindler in an article entitled “Panama Papers Reveal Clinton’s Kremlin Connection” published by the Observer on April 7, 2016.
“It’s hardly surprising that Sberbank sought the help of Democratic insiders like the Podesta Group to aid them in this difficult hour, since they clearly understand how American politics work,” Schindler continued.
“The question is why the Podesta Group took Sberbank’s money,” Schindler asked. “That financial institution isn’t exactly hiding in the shadows—it’s the biggest bank in Russia, and its reputation leaves a lot to be desired. Nobody acquainted with Russian finance was surprised that Sberbank wound up in the Panama Papers.”
Schindler noted that since the 1990s, Sberbank has grown to be Russia’s dominant bank, controlling nearly 30 percent of Russia’s aggregate banking assets and employing a quarter-million people. The majority stockholder in Sberbank is Russia’s Central Bank, making Sberbank functionally an arm of the Russian government, though officially Sberbank is a private institution.
“Certainly, Western intelligence is well acquainted with Sberbank, noting its close relationship with Vladimir Putin and his regime. Funds moving through Sberbank are regularly used to support clandestine Russian intelligence operations, while the bank uses its offices abroad as cover for the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service or SVR,” Schindler pointed out.
A NATO counterintelligence official explained that Sberbank, which has outposts in almost two dozen foreign countries, “functions as a sort of arm of the SVR outside Russia, especially because many of its senior employees are ‘former’ Russian intelligence officers.” Inside the country, Sberbank has an equally cozy relationship with the Federal Security Service or FSB, Russia’s powerful domestic intelligence agency.
On April 17, 2014, the Moscow Times reported Ukraine opened criminal proceedings against Sberbank and 13 other banks on suspicion of “financing terrorism.”
Schindler noted the Ukrainian criminal infestation concluded Sberbank had distributed millions of dollars in illegal aid to Russian-backed separatists fighting in eastern Ukraine, with the bank serving as “a witting supporter of Russian aggression against Ukraine.”
On April 5, 2016Lachlan Markay reporting in the Washington Free Beacon published the lobbying registration form the Podesta Group filed with the U.S. government proving Sberbank had contracted with the Podesta Group to advance their interests with banking, trade, and foreign relations.
Markay further reported that according to the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a consortium of journalists exploring the Panama Papers leak, Sberbank and Troika Dialog have ties to companies used by members of Putin’s inner circle to funnel state resources into lucrative private investments.
“Some of these companies were initially connected to the Troika Dialog investment fund, which was controlled and run by Sberbank after the bank bought the Troika Dialog investment bank. Troika and Sberbank declined to comment,” Markay noted the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, concluded in a report published in April 2016.
On March 30, 2016, Politico reported the Podesta Group registered to lobby for the U.S. subsidiary of Sherbank to see if relief could be obtained for the bank in the easing of U.S. sanctions against Russia for Russia’s role in the Ukraine conflict.
The Podesta Group and the Russian uranium scam
As first documented in Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book “Clinton Cash,” and confirmed in Jerome Corsi’s bestselling book “Partners in Crime: The Clinton’s Scheme to Monetize the White House,” Uranium One directed millions to the Clinton Foundation as the Russian government gained ownership of the company.
New York Times reporters Jo Becker and Mike McIntire, in an article entitled “Cash Flowed to Clinton Foundation Amid Russian Uranium Deal,” that the newspaper printed on April 23, 2015, documented the tie between the Russians and the Clinton Foundation as the Uranium One deal evolved.
“As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation,” Becker and McIntire wrote.
“Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million,” the New York Times reporters continued. “Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.”
Becker and McIntire further noted that shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.
CIFUS is the acronym for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the inter-agency committee of the U.S. government, operating out of the U.S. Treasury, that is responsible to review and authorize transactions of a U.S. business that could result in a foreign person or entity undermining U.S. national security interests.
As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton was a member of CIFUS and she was the only presidential candidate in 2008 to make an issue of the importance of strengthening CIFUS to protect U.S. economic sovereignty and national security.
In October 2010, CIFUS reviewed and approved the Rosatom acquisition of majority control in Uranium One before the deal was done.
In 2013, Rosatom acquired all remaining shares of Uranium One. Becker and McIntire estimated that by 2015, after getting CIFUS approval, the Russians ended up controlling one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States.
John Podesta served as Clinton Foundation CEO
According to a New York Times report published Aug. 13, 2013, in 2011, a wave of midlevel program staff members departed the Clinton Foundation, “reflecting the frustration of much of the foundation’s policy personnel with the old political hands running the organization.”
Around that time, in 2011, Bruce Lindsey, then the Clinton Foundation’s CEO, suffered a stroke, underscoring concerns about the foundation’s line of succession. John D. Podesta, a chief of staff in Mr. Clinton’s White House, stepped in for several months as temporary chief executive.
An earlier version of this report was published by Jerome R. Corsi, “Media Neglect Clinton-Linked Firm’s Role in Russia Scandal, WND.com, Sept. 28, 2016, http://www.wnd.com/2016/09/media-neglect-clinton-linked-firms-role-in-russia-scandal/.