Chris Christie New Memoir, Charlie Kushner and the “Loathesome” Crime

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THE NEW YORK TIMES

Chris Christie Says Jared Kushner’s Father Committed a ‘Loathsome’ Crime

Chris Christie writes in a new memoir that Jared Kushner was determined to push him out of President Trump’s orbit because Mr. Christie had prosecuted his father.

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who clashed with Jared Kushner during his brief stint running President Trump’s transition team, issued a sharply personal attack on Mr. Kushner’s father on Tuesday, saying he had committed a “loathsome” and “disgusting” crime.

The former governor’s new memoir, released this week, depicts Mr. Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and adviser, as being hellbent on retribution for Mr. Christie’s prosecution of his father more than a decade ago, when Mr. Christie was a United States attorney. Mr. Christie says Stephen K. Bannon, the former Trump strategist, told him Mr. Kushner had directed his firing from the transition team, and he paints Mr. Kushner as a shadow campaign manager and chief of staff who offered questionable advice.

Mr. Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, a multimillionaire real estate executive, pleaded guilty in 2004 to 18 counts of tax evasion, witness tampering and making illegal campaign donations. He admitted hiring a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, who was cooperating in a federal campaign finance investigation, then videotaping the sexual encounter and sending it to the man’s wife, Mr. Kushner’s sister.

“Mr. Kushner pled guilty, he admitted the crimes. So what am I supposed to do as a prosecutor?” Mr. Christie said in an interview on “Firing Line With Margaret Hoover” on PBS. “If a guy hires a prostitute to seduce his brother-in-law, and videotapes it, and then sends the videotape to his sister to attempt to intimidate her from testifying before a grand jury, do I really need any more justification than that?”

He continued: “It’s one of the most loathsome, disgusting crimes that I prosecuted when I was U.S. attorney. And I was U.S. attorney in New Jersey, Margaret, so we had some loathsome and disgusting crime going on there.”

Charles Kushner served 14 months of a two-year sentence in federal prison. It was the maximum sentence allowed under a plea agreement he had reached with Mr. Christie, but Mr. Christie sought a three-year sentence regardless, arguing that Mr. Kushner had violated the deal by failing to accept responsibility for his crimes.

“It shows that no matter how rich and powerful you are in this state, you will be prosecuted and punished for crimes you commit,” Mr. Christie said after the sentencing in 2005. “This sends a strong message that when you commit the vile and heinous acts that he has committed, you will be caught and punished.”

In his new book, “Let Me Finish,” Mr. Christie said that Mr. Kushner had consistently tried to push him out. Mr. Bannon told him that Mr. Kushner was “obsessed with destroying me,” he wrote.

To read the article in its entirety in the New York Times click here.

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Investigation into Platinum Widens, The Direction it Should Take?

 

Our Take on Events –

PLATINUM PARTNERS AND THE NUMEROUS FRAUDS AND PONZI SCHEMES

Since 2016, LM has been reporting on Platinum Partners and the various partners and schemes. It is and has always been our position that Platinum Partners, as a firm, has been nothing more and nothing less than one giant Ponzi Scheme, with some pretty frightening tentacles. Platinum Partners’ establishment with the assistance of then Africa Israel employee Jona Rechnitz, along with other members of AFI is all the more unsettling because we believe the earlier Platinum Fund, itself, was partially financed by Lev Leviev and his connection to the Platinum and its partners cannot and should not be ignored, particularly not by law enforcement reviewing all angles.

We will provide continued information to our readers on investigations it becomes available. Having said that, we do not believe that Murray Huberfeld should be given anything but the harshest sentence and we further believe that if the Platinum Partners’ liquidators are looking for all Platinum’s assets they need begin to look at the personal family fortunes of Huberfeld, David Bodner and Huberfeld’s longtime friend and co-partner Mark Nordlicht.

The men involved in Platinum, Black Elk, Echo Therapeutics, and all of the associated businesses and investments, should be scrutinized, bar none. And Jona Rechnitz should not remain unpunished for his involvement. He knew what he was doing when he introduced Norman Seabrook to the Platinum investments that tanked COBA. He knew what he was doing when he elicited money from Hamilton Peralta.

As we mentioned in a previous post, Murray Huberfeld’s attorneys in their remarkable eloquence would have us believe that he is a great altruist, naive and burdened by a scheme he knew nothing about. That is pure and utter nonsense. The many men involved in years and years of frauds and schemes and their associates are savvy, creative and cunning businessmen. These are not men who should be permitted to walk a higher ground because they purport to believe in a “higher authority” [borrowed from an old advertisement]. We have little choice but to give credit where credit is due and these men, in all of their financially lucrative glory, deserve the lions’ share. On the flip side of that very valuable coin, their moral compasses do not necessarily all point in the same directions as their victims’.

There have been thousands of victims over the years. We should be focusing on them: compensation, investment returns, justice and retribution. The money was siphoned off into personal family funds and other investments. And it should be recovered. 

As to COBA and its heralding a $7M recovery for COBA members, that is a financial farce. Murray Huberfeld will be repaying $4M initially with the additional $3M over time. This is utterly reprehensible as he will have use of funds during that time. He will be generating income over the course of that time. Platinum Partners, the fund, the individuals, should all be repaying COBA and its members, plus interest, investment losses and other compensation. Only then should those currently in charge take pride in their recovery.

 

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Platinum Partners Hedge Fund Investigation Reportedly Widens

 

The Platinum Partners saga may have further twists in store.

The New York-based hedge fund has begun liquidating its funds, after the firm’s longtime associate Murray Huberfeld was accused last month of arranging for a $60,000 kickback to be delivered — in a Salvatore Ferragamo bag — to a correctional officers’ union official in exchange for directing the union’s retirement fund investments to Platinum.

Now, Platinum and its chief investment officer, Mark Nordlicht, may face scrutiny as the probe widens, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.

Platinum’s woes began with the June 8 announcement of bribery charges against Huberfeld and Norman Seabrook, president of the New York City Correction Officers Benevolent Association.

Prosecutors say that Huberfeld, through an intermediary, arranged for the delivery of the kickback to Seabrook after the union official directed $20 million in union investments into the Platinum Partners Value Arbitrage Fund. Huberfeld then arranged for the hedge fund to reimburse the intermediary for the kickback using a fraudulent invoice for the purchase of New York Knicks basketball tickets, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Both Seabrook and Huberfeld pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday.

The fund itself had not been implicated in the criminal case against Huberfeld, whom prosecutors describe as a co-founder and manager at Platinum, claiming he was not listed on the firm’s registration documents to avoid scrutiny. Huberfeld has been previously fined by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Federal agents raided Platinum’s office in late June, after the charges were announced, as part of an investigation that’s reportedly separate from the bribery case. And there are other rumblings of wider fallout.

Since its founding in 2003, Platinum Partners has appeared to be one of the world’s best-performing hedge funds, claiming a 17% annual return for its main fund as of last fall. But the firm has made investments in assets that are potentially hard to value or liquidate, such as private placements in a distressed company’s debt. These are known in accounting parlance as “Level 3” assets, which have significant “unobservable” value inputs. Nearly all of Platinum’s investments are Level 3, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Among the illiquid investments are several that have raised eyebrows. In 2007, according to SEC investigators, Platinum created a subsidiary called BDL Group for the purpose of investing in variable annuities for hospice patients, which paid out a bonus when the patient died. Several involved in the plan agreed to pay settlement fines to the SEC, but Platinum and Nordlicht were not accused of wrongdoing.

Other Platinum investments include financing for payday lenders, which offer short-term loans at the equivalent of a 400% annual rate or higher. The industry has long been the target of regulatory crackdowns.

Platinum’s payday borrowers include CashCall, according to Bloomberg. CashCall has been suedby the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for allegedly charging interest in excess of what state laws allow; the company contests those claims and the case is pending in federal court in Los Angeles.

All of this adds up to signals that, at best, it may take Platinum some time to liquidate its funds, a subject that was already making some investors antsy. Two prominent investors reported Platinum to the SEC in November for non-payment of redemptions, according to The Observer.

The Wall Street Journal, citing sources, now says that the investigation into Platinum is examining whether it overstated the value of its holdings, or paid out exiting investors from new investments or borrowings. A Platinum spokesperson rejected those claims in a statement to the Journal.

To read the article in its entirety click here.

Chris Christie – Jared Kushner – Charles Kushner, Political Hit…man?

Chris Christie sits next to Donald Trump in a White House briefing about the opioid crisis, as Jared Kushner, second left, watches on.

Chris Christie sits next to Donald Trump in a White House briefing about the opioid crisis, as Jared Kushner, second left, watches on. Photograph: UPI / Barcroft Images

Chris Christie accuses Jared Kushner of political ‘hit job’ in explosive new book

 

Chris Christie, who was ousted as chairman of Donald Trump’s White House transition team in 2016, has written a blistering attack on Jared Kushner, whom he accuses of having carried out a political “hit job” on him as an act of revenge for prosecuting his father, Charles Kushner, a decade ago.

In his soon to be published book, Let Me Finish, Christie unleashes both barrels on Trump’s son-in-law, who remains a senior White House adviser with responsibilities for Middle Eastern peacesentencing reform and “American innovation”.

Christie blames this key player in the president’s inner circle for his ignominious dismissal shortly after Trump’s election victory in November 2016. Christie, the former governor of New Jersey, writes that Kushner’s role in his sacking was confirmed to him by Steve Bannon, Trump’s campaign chief, in real time.

As Bannon was carrying out the firing, at Trump Tower in New York, Christie forced him to tell him who was really behind the dismissal by threatening to go to the media and point the finger at Bannon instead.

“Steve Bannon … made clear to me that one person and one person only was responsible for the faceless execution that Steve was now attempting to carry out. Jared Kushner, still apparently seething over events that had occurred a decade ago.”

The political assassination was carried out by Kushner as a personal vendetta, Christie writes, that had its roots in his prosecution, as a then federal attorney, of Charles Kushner in 2005. The real estate tycoon was charged with witness tampering and tax evasion and served more than a year in federal prison.

Even for a White House that has generated an extraordinary cornucopia of hypercritical kiss-and-tell books, Christie’s is exceptional for its excoriating description of events at which he was present. As he points out in Let Me Finish, a copy of which has been obtained by the Guardian before publication on 29 January, none of the other authors “has known Trump for as long or as well as I have – or was right there in the room when much of this occurred”.

It is also exceptional as a chronicle of the score-settling and animosity that drove key decision-making in Trump’s nascent presidency. As political scientists look for the roots of the mayhem in the current White House, the book provides new clues.

At the heart of it is Christie’s desire to tell the American people that had his transition plan been adopted after Trump’s shock victory on election night in November 2016, the Trump White House would be a much more effective place today. Once he had been tossed overboard, the new transition team led by Vice President-elect Mike Pence had a “thrown-together approach” that led to appalling choices of senior personnel “over and over again”.

But the emotional heart of the book is Christie’s account of the actions of Jared Kushner. In this telling, Christie was ditched by a young man who made it his business to discredit and denounce him because of what he had done to his father.

“The kid’s been taking an ax to your head with the boss ever since I got here,” Bannon confessed at Christie’s dismissal.

Christie was the US attorney in New Jersey when he spearheaded the prosecution of Charles Kushner for witness tampering. The case arose out of a bitter family feud.

The elder Kushner hired a sex worker to seduce his brother-in-law Bill Schulder, then filmed them having sex in a motel and sent the tape to his own sister, Esther. The bizarre plot was an attempt to blackmail the Schulders into keeping their silence about Bill’s knowledge of Charles’s fraudulent activities.

Charles Kushner pleaded guilty to 18 charges and served 14 months in a federal prison in Alabama.

In one of the most visceral passages of the book, Christie recounts for the first time how Jared Kushner badmouthed him to Trump in April 2016, pleading with his father-in-law not to make Christie transition chairman. Remarkably, he did so while Christie was in the room.

“He implied I had acted unethically and inappropriately but didn’t state one fact to back that up,” Christie writes. “Just a lot of feelings – very raw feelings that had been simmering for a dozen years.”

Kushner went on to tell Trump that it wasn’t fair his father spent so long in prison. He insisted the sex tape and blackmailing was a family matter that should have been kept away from federal authorities: “This was a family matter, a matter to be handled by the family or by the rabbis.”

Trump, in an effort to settle the dispute, proposed a dinner between him, Jared and Charles Kushner, and Christie. Much to Christie’s relief, Jared didn’t acquiesce.

In the end, Trump gave Christie the job. But according to Let Me Finish, Kushner had the final say.

Let Me Finish bears all the hallmarks of classic, brash Chris Christie. Its language is blunt, caustic and at times self-satisfied, much like his political reputation.

It has its lighter moments. At his first meeting with Trump in 2002, at a dinner in the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in New York, Trump ordered his food for him. He chose scallops, to which Christie is allergic, and lamb which he has always detested. Christie recalls wondering whether Trump took him to be “one of his chicks”.

At another dinner three years later Trump told the obese Christie he had to lose weight. Addressing him like one of the contestants in Miss Universe, the beauty contest organisation that he owned, Trump said “you gotta look better to be able to win” in politics.

Trump returned to the theme of girth during the 2016 presidential campaign, exhorting Christie to wear a longer tie as it would make him look thinner.

Meanwhile, Kushner is not the only subject of Christie’s wrath. The author is scathing about Michael Flynn, the retired general who was briefly national security adviser before resigning over his dealings with Russia, and who is now cooperating with the special counsel and awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI.

In one of the book’s more memorable put-downs, Flynn is dubbed “the Russian lackey and future federal felon”. Christie also calls the former general “a train wreck from beginning to end … a slow-motion car crash”.

However, one central character escapes relatively unscathed: Trump himself. The president is utterly fearless and a unique communicator Christie writes – and his main flaw is that he speaks on impulse and surrounds himself with people he should not trust.

Christie gives a detailed account of his effort to be named as Trump’s vice-presidential running mate in the summer of 2016, after his own bid for the Republican nomination for president failed. He detects yet again the hand of Kushner – and that of his wife and Trump’s beloved daughter, Ivanka Trump – working against him.

An anonymous “high-ranking Trump staffer” is depicted calling to warn that “the family is very upset that he says it will be you”. A mollifying call from son Eric Trump follows but that is as close as Christie gets. Trump chooses ultra-conservative Indiana politician, Mike Pence, after a mystifying wait. Christie repeatedly says he was not disappointed.

 Chris Christie says he turned down numerous roles in the administration but was frustrated in not being offered vice-president or attorney general. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

US attorney general, the other role Christie would have accepted, also eluded him. As with most appointments he is scathing about the man who got the job, Jeff Sessions, whom he calls “not ready for primetime” and whose recusal from the Russia investigation he blames for its ever-growing scale. Trump did apparently offer Christie “special assistant to the president in the White House”, which he turned down, prompting from the president-elect “an expression that said maybe he hadn’t heard me right”.

Christie would have taken chair of the Republican National Committee and seemed poised to get it. But according to Christie, once again Trump’s family worked against him. In a near-comic scene, Reince Priebus, the RNC chair who would become Trump’s first chief of staff, offers him role after role in a frantic attempt to fulfil the directive from Trump to “make Chris happy”. One by one, Christie turns down labor secretary, homeland security secretary and ambassadorships in Rome and the Vatican.

Christie is relatively forgiving of Kushner in the context of the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between the candidate’s son-in-law, his son Donald Jr, his campaign manager and a group of Russians, some with Kremlin ties, offering “dirt” on his Democratic presidential opponent, Hillary Clinton. Bannon memorably told the author Michael Wolff the meeting was “treasonous” but Christie writes that taking the meeting was merely “dumb” or, in the case of Kushner and Trump Jr, a “sign of profound inexperience”. He faults Trump’s response to Robert Mueller’s investigation into links with Russia, but does not go into detail about the work of the special counsel.

He does, however, contend that Kushner misjudged two Russia-related firings: that of Flynn in February 2017 and most famously that of the FBI director James Comey in May the same year. According to Christie, Kushner thought firing Flynn would end talk of links between the Trump campaign and Russia – it did not – and that firing Comey would not provoke “an enormous shit-storm” in Washington. It did.

To read the remainder of the article, support the Guardian and click here.

The Magnitsky Affair, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, Konstantin Kilimnik and Prevezon

Investigators bat in a two-run double

The dozens of people investigating illicit connections between the United States and Russia scored twice early in the week. Here are the revelatory stories:

1. Some of Paul Manafort’s attorneys inadvertently divulged, on Tuesday, that the former Trump campaign chairman gave 2016 presidential polling data to a Kiev associate that American officials have linked to Russian intelligence and may have discussed a Ukraine peace plan with him.

 

The attorneys let the disclosures be made public on Tuesday when they disputed special counsel Robert Mueller’s allegation that their client lied to investigators about his contacts with the Kiev associate, Konstantin Kilimnik.

Other matters were disclosed when they reached a plea agreement last year.

The defendant’s legal team played down the significance of Manafort’s alleged misstatements, saying they were the result of a faulty memory, failing health and his inability to review relevant documents before meeting with prosecutors.

 

In the filing, Manafort’s legal team said their client gave the government access to his electronic devices, email accounts and passwords, met with investigators a dozen times, testified twice before a grand jury and tried to provide accurate information “to the best of his ability.

 

Mueller accused Manafort late last year of telling “multiple discernible lies” about his contacts with the Trump administration and Kilimnik as well as about other matters in the weeks after he agreed to plead guilty to multiple crimes and cooperate in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and any links to the Trump campaign.

 

2. The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials at Trump Tower in 2016 has been charged with obstruction of justice, stemming from her role in a federal money-laundering case, according to an indictment unsealed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court.

 

Natalya Veselnitskaya allegedly attempted to thwart an investigation into a tax-fraud scheme involving Russian officials, an influential Russian businessman and an investment firm, Manhattan federal prosecutors said.

 

The indictment unsealed Tuesday is unrelated to the 2016 Trump Tower meeting, but suggests Veselnitskaya had close ties to senior Russian government officials and at times sought to advance Russia’s interests in her dealings with United States officials.

Prosecutors say her efforts included working secretly with a Russian prosecutor to draft a response by the Russian government to U.S. investigators.

 

In 2013, federal prosecutors in Manhattan filed a complaint seeking to recover millions of dollars in property, including New York real estate, alleging the property had been used to launder the proceeds of an elaborate Russian tax-fraud scheme involving corrupt Russian officials and a holding company, Prevezon Holdings.

 

Veselnitskaya participated in a well-publicized June 2016 meeting with top Trump advisers, including Donald Trump Jr., that had come under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Many of the commentators who are watching the Mueller investigation closely believe these two stories will notably strengthen the special counsel’s complicated case.

The Prevezon Story, Throwback to 2012 – The Money Flow, Denis Katsyv and Millions Never Recovered

 

Natalia Veselnitskaya, Russian lawyer with connections to the Kremlin and Vladimir Putin met with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner during the 2016 election, Photo Date: July 2017 / Photo: MSNBC / (MGN)

 

The Magnitsky Affair 2012 – Finding the Connections AND THE 100’S OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

Dear Reader:

In 2012 through a joint effort of OCCRP, Novaya Gazeta nd Barrons an extensive report was published which, in pertinent part, laid out what appeared to be a frighteningly detailed account of the money trail leading to the death of Russian tax lawyer Sergein Magnitsky. Magnitsky died slowly of abuse and neglect in a Russian pirson. He had been accused of a tax theft on the magnitude of  $230 Million  or what was the equivalent of 5.4billion Russian Rubles, which had disappeared. He maintained his innocence to his grave.

He had been accused of the theft of Russian tax money, despite being the whistle blower who had reported the money missing.  To many at the time, and even those questioned now, it all made little if any sense. The money was being hidden as part of a larger conspiracy which included influential Russian and US families, most of which were heavily invested in the real estate business.

The entire sordid affair became known in legal and journalistic circles as the “Magnitsky Affair.” Most of the money was never recovered, and it was widely believed that he had been murdered by the Russian government in what may have been a join operation between the Russian government and several wealthy Jewish families, the most notable of which was Lev Leviev and Alexander Litvak who was director of Prevezon Holdings Ltd, which was a foreign registered business in Brooklyn. 

What makes the story so interesting now, a  little more than 6 years later, is that Prevezon Holdings is not only connected to Leviev, but also to the family of Jared Kushner who, it is widely  known has had dealings with Leviev, both in the diamond industry and in Leviev’s Africa-Israel land dealings. What makes the story even more interesting is the recent arrest of  Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Russian attorney who had meetings with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manaford in the Trump Tower in 2016.

There are no coincidences. 

We suggest that you refer to the original article below, republished only in part, and the many attachments to that article. It was very comprehensive. It is our position that there are properties in Manhattan, which we believe also includes some of the most iconic buildings including Mahattan’s Chrysler Building wihhc was just put up for sale. There are others connected to the Magnitsky affair.

We maintain that you need not look very far to find the connections dating back to 2012, and the many millions in uncovered money is likely within walking distance as well.

https://www.reportingproject.net/proxy/en/following-the-magnitsky-money

Following the Magnitsky Money

BUNICON HEADQUARTERS

“The Money Flow

The scam began with a Russian police raid on the offices of Magnitsky’s client:  Hermitage Capital Management investment fund. People impersonating company employees then used official stamps and documents seized in the raid and pled guilty to various crimes. The company was fined amounts that offset the company’s earnings for the year, and the impersonators then filed for a giant tax refund.

Three phantom businesses, shell companies that exist only on paper, applied at Moscow tax offices #28 and #25 on behalf of Hermitage for a refund which was instantly granted.  Magnitsky, who reported the fraud, believed wrongly that if officials only knew what was happening they would react. They reacted by imprisoning him for tax evasion, demanding he write a confession, denying him medical care and beating him repeatedly. He lasted one year dying in 2009.

In 2009 and 2011, secret trials in Moscow’s Tverskoy District Court fixed legal blame for what was a massive, arcane scam on two low-level ex-convicts: sawmill worker Viktor Markelov, once found guilty of manslaughter, and a robber,– Vyacheslav Khlebnikov.

Both pled guilty. Both got minimum sentences of five years in a correctional colony. They were not even ordered to pay back the stolen money. Irina Dudukina, a spokeswoman for the Investigative Department of the Russian police, announced to the public that it was impossible to find the refund money because documents of the Moscow bank UBS were burned up in a truck crash. She had no details on when or where this crash occurred or why the documents were in a truck. And she didn’t specify why investigators didn’t try to get the same documents from the Russian Central Bank, which had copies of many of the transactions.

No government executive or bureaucrat involved in the deals that sparked the rebate, in the illicit tax refund, or in Magnitsky’s death has ever been charged with anything.

A government investigation concluded that the tax officials who handed out the rebates had been tricked by fraudsters, so it was not their fault.

Tracking the Money

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Banking records of the three companies that got the illegal tax refund — Makhaon, Parfenion and Rilend — show that the stolen money dissipated into phantom companies through thousands of banking transactions. Soon after these transactions, the three companies dissolved. Phantom companies fronted by proxy shareholders and directors designed to hide the real owners, made certain for years that who really was benefitting from the huge heist remained a secret.

OCCRP reporters worked out a money trail that Russian officials were either unable or unwilling to follow.

In January and the beginning of February 2008, for example, Parfenion wired $63 million USD to the bank accounts of two phantom companies: ZhK and Fausta .  Another transaction took place directly where Fausta sent $21 million USD to ZhK’s accounts.

ZhK, which received in total about $39 million USD, was established in November 2003, by Marta Dmitrieva of Moscow. Dmitrieva told OCCRP reporters that while, yes, she did file documents with the tax office, she knew nothing of ZhK.

“I have never been a shareholder or director of the company,” she said. “I didn’t have a job, and I found an Internet commercial that said there was a possibility to work as courier and applicant for different companies.”

The sole shareholder of ZhK was Anatoly Dvoinikov from the village of Poselki in the Penzenskaya region, 640 kilometers from Moscow. Court records OCCRP reviewed show that Dvoinikov is likely a proxy shareholder and the director of many phantom companies.

In November 2008, ZhK was folded into a new commercial entity along with two other companies. The address of this new corporate creation was in Vladivostok in the Russian Far East, more than 6,400 kilometers from Moscow.

Russian organized crime commonly uses the tactic of reorganizing companies to cover up fraud.

Fausta, the other company that got money from Parfenion – about $45 million USD — was registered in July 2007 by Sergey Kirillov from Moscow.  Kirillov told OCCRP he did not establish the company.

“I don’t know anything about this company,” he said. “Nobody asked me to establish it. Maybe some people got my passport details from banks where I took loans.”

In March 2008, just a month after getting the Parfenion millions, Fausta was dissolved, according to the Russian Tax Service.  Fausta’s banking records show that the money went from its bank account into the bank account of Univers another Moscow company.

Univers was registered in October 2007 with Natalya Senchukova listed as the sole shareholder and director. The Russian state commercial registry lists her as a shareholder in more than 30 companies and she is likely another proxy.

In November 2008, Univers was reorganized too in much the way ZhK had been. It was folded in with another company and the headquarters also were moved from Moscow to Vladivostok.

OCCRP has obtained documents showing that the same registration agents reorganized both Univers and ZhK.

Univers received money from Rilend and Makhaon, too. But bank records show that these transactions were made not directly, but through an intermediary company, called Anika.

From the accounts of Univers and ZhK in Sberbank, the largest state-owned bank in Russia, and in Mosstroyeconombank, a small Moscow bank, money went into what is called a “correspondent bank account” held by tiny Krainiy Sever bank in one of Russia’s biggest banks, Alfa Bank. Small banks commonly keep correspondent accounts within large banks so that they can more easily make foreign money transfers.

From Feb. 5-13, 2008, $33 million poured into to Krainiy Sever’s correspondent account from Univers and ZhK. OCCRP has obtained court documents from cases unrelated to the Magnitsky case which indicates that this account has been a major recipient of money stolen from the Russian budget. Court decisions mention a number of phantom companies (including Starmiks, Optimtorg) which wired money to this account. (Doc1Doc2Doc3Doc4Doc5).

Police files OCCRP has obtained also mention many of these companies including ZhK, Univers, Starmiks, Optimtorg, as phantom firms used to launder money stolen from the Russian budget in December 2007.

The Krainiy Sever account was used as a kind of “border point” from which money flowed to companies registered abroad.

On Feb. 13, 2008, a Russian court ordered that account seized and a month later the Central Bank of the Russian Federation cancelled Krainiy Sever’s banking license for violation of the law “to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism”.

In a press release the Central Bank said that Krainiy Sever managers had lost control of their Moscow subsidiary. Court records show that during two weeks in February of 2008, bank clients, mostly phantom companies, suspiciously wired $300 million into bank accounts in Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Cyprus belonging to companies from the United Kingdom, British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Belize .

OCCRP got in touch with an ex-police officer who investigated money laundering proceeds in Krainiy Sever.

“When we raided the Moscow office of the bank, we met a guy there with a laptop from which he wired billions of rubles to different countries through the Internet. The guy was crying that he is from the FSB [Federal Security Service, the main secret service in Russia] and promised us a lot of problems”, said a former law enforcement officer who asked that his name not be mentioned for fear of retribution.”

 

“Denis Katsyv

DENIS KATSYVDenis Katsyv the owner of Prevezon Holding is the son of Petr Katsyv, the wealthy and powerful former minister of transportation in the Moscow regionAnother company which received Russian money from Moldova is Prevezon Holdings Ltd owned by Denis Katsyv, the son of Petr Katsyv, the wealthy and powerful former minister of transportation in the Moscow region.  Petr Katsyv is considered one of the wealthiest civil servants in Russia. According to Forbes Magazine he is worth more than $4 million in 2012, and real estate records OCCRP obtained show the son is worth far more.  In 2012 the father left his ministerial post to head the General Department of Moscow Region for Cooperation with Federal Authorities.

On Feb. 5, 2008, Bunicon received rubles equivalent to $9.4 million USD in 2008 exchange rates in two transactions from the correspondent account of the Krainiy Sever bank. The next day Bunicon sent $410,000 to Prevezon’s account at the Swiss bank UBS AG.

On Feb. 13, 2008, Elenast received the equivalent of $800,000 USD from the same correspondent account, and transferred more than half of that amount to Prevezon.

Records from the Cyprus commercial registry show Prevezon Holdings Ltd was registered in 2005 and is owned by Denis Katsyv (1000 shares) and a company called Martash Investment Holdings Ltd from the British Virgin Islands (1 share). Martash Investments is also owned by Denis Katsyv.

Denis Katsyv told OCCRP that his company never dealt with any companies from Moldova.

“I am really surprised to hear that,” he said. “I give you 200 percent that it is impossible. I am ready to help you in your investigation and show the banking statement of Prevezon to prove that it never received such money.”

Katsyv never showed the statement.  Instead he called reporters and said he became shareholder in Prevezon only in April 2009 and had nothing to do with any Moldovan money.  Records from the Cyprus commercial registry show Katsyv actually became a shareholder in June 2008, a few months after the transfers.  Prevezon’s sole shareholder at the time of the transfers, Timofey Krit, is Katysv’s current business partner and the director of Prevezon.

Other Problems

This is not the first time the Katsyv family has run afoul of the law. In 2010, the Katsyv family was mentioned in a money-laundering case of Israeli bank Hapoalim which was investigated by Israeli authorities.

According to court records OCCRP obtained, millions of dollars were transferred through Katsyv-controlled accounts at the bank.  Israeli prosecutors insisted that bank managers concealed the real beneficiaries of this accounts in violation of anti-money-laundering rules. But their lawyers blamed Katsyv’s business for the bank’s problems. The court eventually agreed and found the bank managers not guilty.

According to the judgment, Katsyv’s company Martash Investment had to sign a secret agreement with the Israeli government to avoid indictment.

“If the clients of the bank [Katsyv family] had denied signing the agreement, they would have faced charges and an indictment. The situation described by the lawyer [for Hapoalim managers] leads to the conclusion that the clients of the bank, who are the main culprits, apparently bought their freedom for money,” the final ruling in the case says.

New York Properties

The Katsyv family owns more than $17 million in New York real estate alone despite a new US law that says those who benefited from the Magnitsky case cannot enter the country.

On Nov. 12, 2009, the Katsyv-owned Prevezon Holdings Ltd registered itself as a foreign business corporation in Brooklyn and on Nov. 30 that year Katsyv’s company set up a US business. Two weeks later it signed a deed on a condominium at Pine Street in Manhattan, for $829,000. The same day Prevezon Holding Ltd signed another deed and bought a second condo in the building for $1.2 million. Alexander Litvak, director of Prevezon Holdings Ltd, signed both deeds.

BUNICONLev Leviev’s group of companies, Africa Israel-AFI, opened shopping malls all over the world. AFI Palace is the biggest shopping mall in Romania.

The New York State Division of Corporations lists seven companies with names similar to Prevezon Holding Ltd that together own more than $17 million in New York real estate. Property records show that all the similarly named companies are affiliated with the same directors and managers, including Litvak and Krit, current director of Cyprus-based Prevezon. Some also own other New York City properties including five units in a luxury condominium complex at 20 Pine Street in the heart of Wall Street. A number of these are currently for sale for between $1 and $2 million each.

Katsyv’s businesses are closely tied to another controversial figure: Russian oligarch Lev Leviev.  Leviev and Katsyv’s businesses often trade assets. (see Leviev story)

While the money trail leads to Stepanov and Katsyv, they are not the only persons involved with the Magnitsky money.  The whereabouts of hundreds of millions of dollars still missing lie unlocked in other banking records that are still to be checked.”

 

ADDITIONAL READING:

 

Prevazon Holdings, a Russian Lawyer, Manafort, Kushner and the Clinton Connection… Laundering Money

Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya speaks to journalists in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, July 11, 2017. Veselnitskaya admits she met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential campaign, but insists that she had no compromising information on Hillary Clinton to offer in contrast to what the email exchange released by Trump’s eldest son suggested. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

The Russian Trump Tower Lawyer Veselnitskaya Is Indicted But The Media Covers Up Her Connection To The Clinton Campaign

Today the Northeastern headquarters of the #Resistance, that would be the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, issued an indictment of Russian lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya. While Veselnitskaya is most familiar as the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man of the Russia-collusion conspiracy theory, this indictment has nothing to do with anyone named Trump. It stems from her representation of a Russian “businessman” and his company, Prevezon Holdings, for laundering money via purchases of New York real estate. The fact that this indictment was issued with some fanfare, given the fact that Veselnitskaya in Russia and is unable to enter the United States and no one cares about Prevezon, gives the whole thing a stench of trying to pump new life into a bullsh** investigation that has gone on way, way too long.

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who in 2016 met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower, was charged on Tuesday in a separate case that showed her close ties to the Kremlin.

Ms. Veselnitskaya, a pivotal figure in the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, was charged by federal prosecutors in New York with seeking to thwart an earlier Justice Department investigation into money laundering that involved an influential Russian businessman and his investment firm.

The money-laundering case was not directly related to the Trump Tower meeting. But a federal indictment returned in Manhattan seemed to confirm that Ms. Veselnitskaya had deep ties to senior Russian government officials.

The charges stem from the Justice Department’s 2013 civil investigation into the role that some of Ms. Veselnitskaya’s clients — Prevezon Holdings Ltd. and its owner, Denis P. Katsyv — played in a scheme to launder ill-gotten money through New York real estate purchases.

The Justice Department asked the Russian government to assist its investigation, but the Russians refused, responding with a letter that purported to exonerate Russian officials and Prevezon, the indictment said.

So far all of the coverage has focused on one thing:

Kenneth P. Vogel

@kenvogel

The memo that NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA provided at the June 2016 TRUMP TOWER meeting matched one circulated by Russia’s top prosecutors ofc. Now, she’s been charged with secretly working with that ofc to thwart a civil fraud investigation by @TheJusticeDept. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/08/nyregion/trump-tower-natalya-veselnitskaya-indictment.html 

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya was charged on Tuesday with seeking to thwart a Justice Department investigation into money laundering.

Russian Lawyer in Meeting at Trump Tower Is Charged in Case That Shows Kremlin Ties

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump campaign officials in 2016, helped draft Russia’s response in an unrelated money-laundering case, prosecutors said.

nytimes.com

200 people are talking about this

Manu Raju

@mkraju

US attorney in NY charges Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr and others promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, in a separate case highlighting her ties to the Russian government.

She has been charged with obstruction of justice.

2,891 people are talking about this

The Associated Press

@AP

Natalya Veselnitskaya, who attended a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, was charged Tuesday with obstruction of justice in an unrelated case. http://apne.ws/QrWOG6U 

https://storage.googleapis.com/afs-prod/media/media:a708fbd0567d4dc48715c6c16ecadf31/400.jpeg

Russian lawyer who met Trump Jr. charged in unrelated case

NEW YORK (AP) — A Russian lawyer who became a focal point of the investigation into whether there was collusion between Russians and President Donald Trump’s election campaign was charged with…

apnews.com

290 people are talking about this

Kyle Griffin

@kylegriffin1

Breaking: Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who in 2016 met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower, has been charged by federal prosecutors in a separate case that showed her close ties to the Kremlin, NYT reports. https://nyti.ms/2GYoFDS?smid=nytcore-ios-share 

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya was charged on Tuesday with seeking to thwart a Justice Department investigation into money laundering.

Russian Lawyer in Meeting at Trump Tower Is Charged in Case That Shows Kremlin Ties

Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, who met with Trump campaign officials in 2016, helped draft Russia’s response in an unrelated money-laundering case, prosecutors said.

nytimes.com

2,675 people are talking about this

The Daily Beast

@thedailybeast

NEW: Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya—known for her 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort—has been charged with obstruction of justice in money-laundering case https://trib.al/UY7p8K3 

Russian Lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya Charged With Obstruction of Justice in Money-Laundering Case

The attorney is most famous for her role in a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Don Jr., Kushner, and Manafort.

thedailybeast.com

134 people are talking about this

But, there are a lot of other moving parts here that the media are collectively, and consciously, blocking out. Aside from the strangeness of announcing the indictment of someone who is not in US custody and thereby ensuring she will never, ever, be apprehended, there is the media’s universal refusal to acknowledge that during the Trump Tower meeting, Veselnitskaya was a stringer for FusionGPS, the company hired by the Clinton campaign to scrounge up oppo on Trump.

Despite all the attention paid to her, she seems to be a bit player in the whole drama. For instance, we know what Veselnitskaya talked about at the Trump Tower meeting. She was trying to have Magnitsky Act sanctions placed on oligarch Oleg Deripaska removed. The left has had a smallish herd of cattle over Veselnitskaya allegedly offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. I’ve always failed to grasp why this is important or meaningful. Why would any campaign turn down derogatory information on their opponent? And it isn’t like using a foreign national to obtain it is a big deal. The Clinton campaign, after all, hired an appendage of British intelligence to develop the Steele, or Trump, Dossier, which he did by paying off Russian intermediaries.

Some of the other parts that are never discussed are much more interesting:

Veselnitskaya met with FusionGPS honcho Glenn Simpson both before and after the Trump Tower meeting.

Oleg Deripaska acted as an agent of the FBI while under sanctions.

Veselnitskaya was banned from entering the United States but was given special permission to enter the US at the time of the Trump Tower meeting.

Glenn Simpson took the Fifth rather than talk about his involvement with Veselnitskaya.

The obvious conclusion is that the coverage of this indictment, if not the indictment itself, is simply another attempt by the purveyors of the Russia-collusion nonsense to smear yet more lipstick on that particular pig.

This is a link to the indictment.

 

 

Attorney, Prevezon Holdings, Lev Leviev, Jared Kushner and Money Laundering

Natalia Veselnitskaya and 20 Pine Street (Credit: Facebook and CityRealty)

Russian attorney, who attended Trump Tower meeting, indicted for obstructing real estate money laundering investigation

A Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential campaign has been indicted for obstructing a federal investigation into a New York money laundering scheme, according to a complaint unsealed Tuesday in Manhattan court.

Natalie Veselnitskaya had been the defense attorney for real estate company Prevezon Holdings, which in 2013 was accused by U.S. prosecutors of laundering millions in stolen Russian money into Manhattan luxury properties, including condominiums at 20 Pine Street in the Financial District.

Before the case went to trial, Veselnitskaya’s clients settled, and in February of last year were ordered to pay $6 million. But in today’s unveiled complaint, prosecutors allege the Russian attorney provided the American court with falsified reports presented as authentic Russian government findings that denied the United States’ claims against Prevezon.

The New York Times first reported on the unsealed complaint.

In the Prevezon case, prosecutors alleged that laundered money came from a more than $200 million Russian tax fraud scheme, in which American hedge fund manager Bill Browder, and his firm Hermitage Capital, were said to be framed by Russian officials, who issued phony tax rebates and pocketed the sums for themselves. The fracas culminated in the mysterious death of Hermitage’s accountant, Sergei Magnitsky, in a Russian prison in 2009. Those events led the US Congress to pass the Magnitsky Act, which sanctioned high-ranking Russian officials believed to be responsible.

Veselnitskaya, Prevezon’s now indicted attorney, is better known as a subject of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and potential collusion with Russian individuals. In 2016, Veselnitskaya met with Donald Trump Jr, campaign manager Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner at Trump Tower. The meeting was ostensibly held to discuss potential opposition research on Hillary Clinton, but ultimately to lobby them on the Magnitsky Act, Donald Trump, Jr. later said. Trump, Jr. had first been pitched the meeting by an English publicist, who described Veselnitskaya as connected to “the Crown prosecutor of Russia” in an email.

The Russian government was largely uncooperative in the U.S. Prevezon investigation, according to previous reporting, but Veselnitskaya provided to U.S. attorneys documents she said were the result of the Russian government’s own investigation into the allegations, claiming that the tax fraud scheme had been carried out not by corrupt Russian bureaucrats, but by Browder and Hermitage Capital. U.S. Attorneys, however, allege in their indictment that Veselnitskaya herself participated in the drafting and careful wording of these documents, without disclosing to the court that she had done so.

In a statement Tuesday Morning, Geoffrey Berman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said, “Fabricating evidence – submitting false and deceptive declarations to a federal judge – in an attempt to affect the outcome of pending litigation not only undermines the integrity of the judicial process, but it threatens the ability of our courts and our Government to ensure that justice is done.”

Prevezon, which admitted no wrongdoing in its 2017 settlement, was a partner of Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel Investment, including in investments alleged to be vehicles for money laundering, such as the sale of the 20 Pine condos.

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