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”

Big bank, big bust: Another dot-path connected with Ukraine and the suddenly legitimate laptop

Another timeline gets interesting.

The New York Times’s admission this past week that the Hunter Biden laptop was not Russian disinformation has come at an opportune time.  It’s an obscurely opportune time, to be sure.  But it’s opportune nonetheless.

What makes it so is a reminder that the seed money used to start a cybersecurity non-profit called Global Cyber Alliance (GCA), whose interests and personalities rather remarkably replicated those of Russiagate and Alfa-gate in 2015 and 2016, came from an asset forfeiture settlement with the French banking giant BNP Paribas.

Those dots connect.  Some readers already know how. For others, here’s the BNP angle. Continue reading “Big bank, big bust: Another dot-path connected with Ukraine and the suddenly legitimate laptop”

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”

Kazakhstan, we’ve gotten to know ye a little better

Say, whose cover-up is this, anyway?

Technically, what we’ve gotten to know better is the interaction of outside players with systemic Kazakh corruption, especially as it relates to Spygate in the U.S.  But work with me, people.

Most recently, the January 2022 flare-up in Kazakhstan brought to the fore a piece of information reported by the Daily Mail and NY Post in October 2020:  that Hunter Biden had business dealings with Kazakh oligarchs while his father was vice president, and the Big Guy was photographed being in on it. Continue reading “Kazakhstan, we’ve gotten to know ye a little better”

The importance of background, and Danchenko’s primary Russian sub-source

A key to the thematic history behind Spygate.

In the TOC Ready Room preview for this article, I alluded to the principal point of highlighting the information in it.  That point is that Spygate was not a pick-up-game reaction to events in 2016.  In terms of involvement by the Obama federal agencies and Hillary Clinton’s network, evidence of connections to prior motives and preparation abounds.

Examples include Alexandra Chalupa and a cast of Obama officials already seeking Ukrainian cooperation on a Manafort-focused narrative in January 2016, before Manafort joined the Trump campaign and before the first primary election had been held.  If this was about impugning Manafort, why?  By 2019 we could see that getting ahead of any bad news about Biden was an obvious motive – but was it a priority at that point, considering Biden wasn’t running in 2016?  Did Republicans in general know enough about the Biden shenanigans to create a pervasive problem for Hillary and other Democrats that year?

Something other than narrowly-focused, proximate reactions seems to have been going on. Continue reading “The importance of background, and Danchenko’s primary Russian sub-source”