There is a substantially longer article on this forthcoming, but in the process of researching the firm RJI Capital, the original parent company of Arcanum Global Intelligence, I came across reporting from 2010 on another company under the same ownership, RJI Government Strategies, Inc. RJI Government Strategies was incorporated in Delaware in 2002, with a branch in Washington, D.C. incorporated on 8 July 2003 and registered to Ron Wahid, the founder of RJI Capital and chairman of Arcanum Global, a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed against Felix Sater in March 2019.
A tremendous amount is waiting to be unpacked on the players in this drama. But this particular find merits an early preview, before all the other unpacking is completed.
Just a little more background and then we’ll dive in. The pursuit of RJI Capital has come about because of Felix Sater’s counterclaim in the 2019 lawsuit, filed last week. His counterclaim, for reasons which will become obvious in the follow-on article, didn’t surprise me nearly as much as it apparently did others. It was only necessary to highlight the connections of major Spygate personalities to Sater’s contracted work for his Kazah clients (see the link in the top paragraph) to recognize that, while Sater may not know all the details himself, he had a good idea which tree to shake with the counterclaim he filed last week.
Arcanum Global, Inc. was the U.S. representative for his Kazakh clients in the work he undertook to recover Kazakh bank assets allegedly swindled by oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov.
Arcanum has a number of interesting connections, but one of them can’t help standing out in the overall context of Spygate.
The link is to a client of both Glenn Simpson and some long-time associates of the Clintons – a client who contracted lobbying and consulting work with the Clinton associates, who in turn subcontracted some of it to a company Simpson formed prior to Fusion GPS.
RJI Government Strategies, it turns out, also contracted with the same client, in the same period (2008-2010) and for the same purpose.
In the process of the Clinton associates’ work, performed under the company name California Strategies, the client attended the Obama inaugural in January 2009, and obtained a meeting with Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State. Simpson was brought on later, in early 2011.
The client was Sheikh Khalid bin Saqr al-Qasimi of Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), one of the United Arab Emirates. Sheikh Khalid’s need for lobbying and consulting was incident to his having been deposed by his father as Crown Prince of Ras al-Khaimah in 2003. His father designated brother Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi as the official heir to the emirate.
But Khalid didn’t accept that ruling, and engaged foreign assistance in an attempt to destabilize the Ras al-Khaimah emirate and enable him to regain his position. (The old Emir passed away in 2010. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr al-Qasimi, Khalid’s brother, succeeded to his throne, and Sheikh Khalid now lives in neighboring Sharjah, reportedly still attempting to leverage himself back into power.)
I wrote this saga up back in January 2017, right after the news broke on the Steele dossier and its connection to Glenn Simpson was revealed. Besides Sheikh Khalid himself, his foreign assistance squad included the British law firm Cathcarts (a Clinton Foundation donor), the aforementioned California Strategies, and Glenn Simpson, doing business at the time as SNS Global.
Regarding California Strategies’ Clinton associations, here’s a summary from my January 2017 piece:
California Strategies was the principal in the lobbying arrangement with Sheikh Khalid. Khalid apparently first reached out to the company in 2008 – and that’s when he got his first one-on-one with candidate Hillary Clinton, through the good offices of California Strategies’ top men: Jason Kinney, who chaired a 527 organization for her 2008 primary campaigns; Chris Lehane, oppo researcher and “master of disaster” (including, famously, reacting to “bimbo eruptions”) for the Bill Clinton White House in the 1990s; and Peter Ragone, who worked for Hillary’s 2008 campaign. There was at least one more meeting with the sheikh when Hillary was secretary of state. …
Moreover, as the Sacramento Bee reports, long-time Clinton associates Greg Hale and Robert McLarty of Arkansas were also involved in California Strategies’ representation of Sheikh Khalid.
That was a heap of Clinton connection at the time. It was later, in December 2017, that the even closer Clinton connection of Glenn Simpson’s Arkansas in-laws, through his wife Mary Jacoby, emerged from additional research.
But there was no particular reason then to pay special attention to the involvement of RJI Government Strategies in representing Sheikh Khalid. It was reported in some outlets in 2010, but only briefly.
Here is what Robert Booth and Stephen Khan had to say about it at The Guardian, in June 2010:
RJI Government Strategies Inc, a firm of Washington lobbyists working on “strategic intelligence” for [Sheikh Khalid’s] plotters, proposed to rake up the arrest in 2005 in Minnesota of Saud. Saud was suspected of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper and Khalid’s consultants wanted to “embarrass and humiliate [him] in front of his own people” and “call into question his fitness for leadership”. Though no charges were brought, the PR firm hoped that seeing Saud’s police mug shots in the media would create “a whispering campaign throughout the Arab world that will be both shameful and embarrassing”. The story did crop up on some blogs, but hardly in the mainstream media.
Asked about the tactics, a spokesman for Arcanum, a subsidiary of RJI, said: “All intelligence information is obtained in compliance with applicable law.”
The account at The Guardian, which reflects the Cathcarts firm in the center seat, appears to suggest that Cathcarts is probably who brought in RJI. As we’ll see in the next installment, RJI and Wahid were not without connections in the UK, and Wahid has had a number of companies incorporated there.
Of related interest, RJI Government Strategies in D.C. employed a vice president in that period named Tanya Rahall. Ms. Rahall is the sister of long-time West Virginia congressman Nick Rahall (a Democrat), for whom Bill Clinton campaigned in 2010, and who joined Bill Clinton in 2016 to campaign for Hillary. (Rahall, who served for 38 years, lost his House seat in 2014.)
Tanya Rahall gained some notoriety while she worked at RJI for a lobbying contract made with West Virginia coal companies whose federal funding would be directly affected by legislation overseen by her brother.
The contract was a dubious instrument whose terms indicated that the more federal money the companies got, the greater the fee would be for RJI: “The standard monthly fee paid by Mountaineer to RJI starting in June 2009 was slated to be $15,000. But if RJI obtained $3 million or more in federal funding on behalf of Mountaineer, the monthly fee would increase to $20,000. If the amount of federal funding for Mountaineer reached $9 million or more, RJI’s monthly fee would soar to $45,000.”
Perhaps more interesting was the extent of the work she did for Qatar, as recounted based on media reporting by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
In any case, the parting of Rahall and RJI was acrimonious, and in a subsequent lawsuit, Tanya Rahall alleged that during her tenure at the firm, RJI had failed to disclose to federal authorities the identity of another client from 2008: Rakhat Aliyev of Kazakhstan, ex-son-in-law of then-president Nursultan Nazarbayev. Among other things, Aliyev was reportedly close to oligarch Mukhtar Dzhakishev, who had extensive uranium dealings with Clinton crony Frank Giustra (some of which were intertwined with the alleged embezzlement of Kazakh bank funds by Mukhtar Ablyazov).
Dzhakishev was sentenced to a prison term in Kazakhstan in 2010 (from which he was recently released). Aliyev was not so fortunate. Held in a jail in Vienna after fleeing Kazakhstan, he was found dead in his cell in 2015.
RJI’s interactions with Aliyev were taking place at the same time as its representation of Sheikh Khalid of Ras al-Khaimah. Both had second-hop links to the Clintons; RJI’s work for Khalid had one as well to Glenn Simpson. As with everything in the Spygate melodrama, it’s impossible for these people to have been unaware of each other, and for their circumstantial path crossings – always under the same type of circumstances – to have been merely coincidental. More to come.
Feature image: Bill and Hillary Clinton on a commercial flight in 2018. Via social media.