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Tag: ukraine

Muller Investigating Ukrainian Oligarch’s $150,000 Donation to Trump Foundation

Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 donation that a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch made to the Trump Foundation.

Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk allegedly donated the money in exchange for Trump delivering a 20-minute speech via video to a conference in Kiev, the New York Times reports

Trump was one of several Republican candidates for president at the time.

The speech was set up in August 2015 by Doug Schoen, a political consultant who works for Pinchuk, a steel magnate.

According to the Times, Schoen personally contact Trump to deliver the speech but did not broach the subject of a payment. But Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, is believed to have contacted Schoen a day after the speech to request a $150,000 payment in exchange for the speech.

The FBI raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel on Tuesday, seizing e-mail, tax records and communications between his clients.

Mueller is investigating foreign money that Trump’s campaign accepted and whether any of it benefits his personal finances.

Manafort Under Fire for Undisclosed Lobbying for Pro-Russian Party in Ukraine

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly paid at least $2.2 million to two Washington lobbying firms in 2012 with the help of Paul Manafort, the former campaign chairman for Donald Trump, the Associated Press reports

Manafort’s actions, which effectively obscured the party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy, are coming to light as special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of attorneys are investigating potential ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.

Federal law makes it a crime punishable by up to five years in prison for lobbyists to fail to declare their representation of foreign leaders or their political parties.

The AP wrote:

Manafort and business associate Rick Gates, another top strategist in Trump’s campaign, were working in 2012 on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych.

People with direct knowledge of Gates’ work said that, during the period when Gates and Manafort were consultants to the Ukraine president’s political party, Gates was also helping steer the advocacy work done by a pro-Yanukovych nonprofit that hired a pair of Washington lobbying firms, Podesta Group Inc. and Mercury LLC.

The nonprofit, the newly created European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, was governed by a board that initially included parliament members from Yanukovych’s party. The nonprofit subsequently paid at least $2.2 million to the lobbying firms to advocate positions generally in line with those of Yanukovych’s government.

That lobbying included downplaying the necessity of a congressional resolution meant to pressure the Ukrainian leader to release an imprisoned political rival.

Other Stories of Interest

Special Counsel Mueller Subpoenas Manafort’s Spokesman, Former Attorney

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Paul Manafort’s spokesman and one of his former attorneys.

Manafort, who is Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, is under investigation for possible tax and financial crimes in connection with his work for the former ruling party in Ukraine, which had espoused pro-Russian policies.

The subpoena seeks documents and testimony from attorney Melissa Laurenza and Jason Maloni, who is Manafort’s spokesman.

Business Insider wrote:

Manafort is one of a handful of Trump campaign associates who have been a central focus of the Russia ongoing probe. The Trump campaign brought him on in March 2016 to help wrangle delegates ahead of the Republican National Convention, and he was promoted to campaign chairman in May that year.

Manafort resigned three months later amid scrutiny over millions of dollars in undisclosed payments for work he performed on behalf of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. Since then, Manafort’s work as a foreign agent has remained under the microscope in the US’ Russia investigation, which led to an FBI raid at one of his homes in Alexandria, Virginia, last month.

Ukrainian Hacker Cooperating with FBI in Investigation of Russia, Trump Campaign

hacker-artBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A hacker in Ukraine known as “Profexer” is cooperating with the FBI as it investigates Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential election, the New York Times revealed Wednesday evening. 

Profexer, who wrote and sold malware on the dark web, is accused of writing a program used to break into the Democratic National Committee  servers and obtain thousands of emails that were leaked ahead of the election.

The hacker, whose real identity has not been released, turned himself into the FBI earlier this year and became a witness in the case. He has not been arrested, and there is no proof that he worked for Russian intelligence, according to Ukranian police.

But U.S. intelligence officials, based on a sample of the malware, believe Russians used the program to hack into the DNC.

The FBI, federal lawmakers and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating whether Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to leak damaging information about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats.

FBI Probes Business Deals Involving Paul Manafort, Son-in-Law

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Financial transactions by Paul Manafort and his son-in-law are the subjects of a federal inquiry following allegations that investors were defrauded.

The New York Times reported this morning that Manafort’s son-in-law Jeffrey Yohai made a series of real estate deals with millions of dollars from Manafort, President Trump’s disgraced campaign chairman who resigned last August following reports that’s consulting work with the Ukraine netted him millions of dollars in off-the-book payments. 

The Times reported:

The transactions involve the financing of apartments and luxury homes in New York and California using money from Mr. Manafort, as well as from other investors solicited by the son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai, including the actor Dustin Hoffman and his son. F.B.I. agents have reviewed financial records related to Mr. Yohai, who has been accused in a lawsuit of defrauding investors, the sources said.

It was not clear if the F.B.I.’s interest was part of the broader investigation that has ensnared Mr. Manafort, who was President Trump’s campaign chairman until he resigned last August amid reports that he had received millions of dollars in off-the-book payments for his consulting work in Ukraine. Mr. Manafort has been the focus of several inquiries looking into his business activities, failure to file foreign lobbying disclosures and possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russia.

Mr. Manafort has emerged as a key figure in the F.B.I.’s Russia investigation, which has focused on interactions between Trump associates and Russians during and after last November’s presidential election. In addition to his work for Ukraine’s former president, an ally of the Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin, Mr. Manafort’s long lobbying and consulting career has included numerous financial dealings with Russian oligarchs. One of his former employees has been investigated in Ukraine on suspicion of having ties to Russian intelligence.

The revelation about investigators’ interest in Mr. Yohai’s activities comes amid indications that the scrutiny of Mr. Manafort has intensified. Besides the F.B.I. and congressional inquiries, the New York State attorney general’s office has opened a preliminary inquiry “focused on certain real estate dealings” involving Mr. Manafort, according to a third person with direct knowledge of the matter.

FBI Reviewing Ties Between Trump’s Ex-Campaign Manager And Russia, Ukraine

Donald Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI is examining the relationship between Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Russia and Ukraine.

The inquiry is focused on business ties to the two countries at a time when many officials have questioned Trump’s relationship with Vladimir Putin.

Manafort, who stopped working for the Trump campaign in August because of his suspicious foreign connections, told NBC that “none of it is true,” adding, “This is all political propaganda.”

The New York Times has also has reported on a probe into Trump’s relationship with Russia, finding no links between the GOP candidate and the Russian government.

FBI, NTSB Prepare to Investigate Downed Malaysia Airlines Flight


Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and NTSB officials are planning to investigate the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which killed 298 people.

Authorities believe the plane was struck by a missile over an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists.

ABC News reports that the separatists who control the area have agreed to allow investigators access to the site to recover bodies and collect evidence.

It’s not yet clear when the investigating will begin.

The plane crashed at 12:15 p.m.

The FBI and NTSB described their role as an advisory one.

Ukrainian Government Gets Help from FBI, CIA Over Security Concerns, Quelling Rebellion

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Ukrainian government appears to have enlisted the FBI and CIA to help end the rebellion in the capital city of Kiev, AFP reports.

The report indicates that CIA and FBI agents were helping establish an effective security structure after brutal battles between Ukranian soldiers and pro-Russian militants have claimed more than 50 lives in the east side of the country.

The agents, however, were not getting involved with fighting off pro-Russian militants.

“Their activity is limited to the capital Kiev,” AFP wrote, quoting a German newspaper.

The FBI agents also are assisting the government combat organized crime.