The unclubbable Mr. Trump: China, Ukraine, and a surprise banking oversight action

A world, disrupted.

On 20 March, we checked in with a story from the period 2014-2016, when the French bank BNP Paribas was, initially, greenlighted by the Obama administration to do business with Iran, as sanctions were relaxed, and then months later was hit by U.S. government authorities with the biggest settlement forfeiture in banking history for a prior record of sanctions violations (including sanctions on Iran).

In the interim between the first development (January 2014) and the second (June 2014), BNP Paribas flagged – to UK officials – a suspicious transaction by the owner of Burisma, Ukrainian oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky.  The date of the notification, March 2014, fell in the period when Vice President Joe Biden was holding frequent phone conversations with top Ukrainian officials as the “Maidan Revolution” crisis expanded.  About a month after BNP Paribas alerted the UK to Zlochevsky – who had fled Ukraine in February 2014 – Hunter Biden and Devon Archer joined Burisma’s board, and payments from the company began flowing to them. Continue reading “The unclubbable Mr. Trump: China, Ukraine, and a surprise banking oversight action”

The dive: Arcanum, Sater, and some timeline nuggets

Swamps, shells, and polo sticks.

Felix Sater made something of a splash with a counterclaim filing in court on 3 February, enumerating a list of allegations against a group of Kazakh clients and the consulting company Arcanum which had sued him in 2019.

A number of commentators were astonished at Sater’s claims about the intent and activities of the original plaintiffs.  I have to say, though, that his filing didn’t surprise me nearly as much.  The reason is basically that, after looking over the information we already have about the events of 2015, it had begun to appear that there well could have been outside hands in the key threads involving Sater that year.  Those key threads were his asset recovery work for the Kazakh clients (who sought billions in funds allegedly embezzled by Mukhtar Ablyazov nearly 10 years earlier) and his shepherding of an incipient deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow. Continue reading “The dive: Arcanum, Sater, and some timeline nuggets”

Consulting firm in Felix Sater’s counterclaim against Kazakhs: The least surprising link of all

Usual suspects.

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. Continue reading “Consulting firm in Felix Sater’s counterclaim against Kazakhs: The least surprising link of all”

Disgusting: ‘Green’ land grabs, other crony goodies stuffed into defense authorization bill

So much wrong.

Land-grabber-in-chief.  (Image via FrontPage)
Land-grabber-in-chief. (Image via FrontPage)

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

*UPDATE* Sonasoft, IRS email contractor; Lerner email connection fades, Obama link remains

The usual suspects.

 

Diabola ex machina.
Diabola ex machina.

New post up at Liberty Unyielding.  Enjoy!

*UPDATE*:  Sonasoft posted a statement on its website on Tuesday evening (about an hour ago as of this update posting), in which it clarifies three important things.

1.  The company never had access to or stored or otherwise manipulated IRS emails.  IRS emails were handled and stored at all times on servers in IRS facilities which were not managed or maintained by Sonasoft representatives.

Comment:  This is what I assumed to be the case (see discussion in the comments section), and what reader NW Conservative, among others, affirmed.

2.  Sonasoft’s contract was with one division of the IRS, the Office of Counsel.  According to Sonasoft:

“In regards to the IRS as one of Sonasoft’s customers, it is true that one Division within the IRS was Sonasoft’s customer from 2005 to 2011,” clarified Andy Khanna. “This Division was the IRS Counsel. The main branch of the IRS did not use Sonasoft’s software for its operations…”

Comment:  This would mean that Sonasoft’s services were not implicated in the email archiving practices that may or may not have affected Lois Lerner’s emails.

3.  The IRS Office of Counsel used Sonasoft’s email replication software, SonaExchange.  Sonasoft did not provide archiving software under the IRS contract.  Sonasoft again:

“To further clarify, no Division within IRS ever used Sonasoft’s email archiving software. Only a Division within the IRS used any Sonasoft product and that was our email replication software, not our archiving or backup software. ”, said Andy Khanna.

Comment:  Fair enough.  Looks like the Sonasoft inquiry may be a dry hole in terms of figuring out who did what with the Lerner emails.

That said, it is absolutely classic that investigating the Sonasoft tip turned up an Obama crony connection anyway.   There’s one under every rock.