Friday, October 11, 2019

More Rudy. Plus: The Mystery Russian is Putin's "Peter Thiel"!

Today, Trump implied that Giuliani may no longer be his lawyer. This article implies that Rudy himself is under investigation. I've read one piece which argued that law enforcement must have been eavesdropping on Rudy's crooked associates, Fruman and Parnas -- a suggestion which makes sense, when you consider how and when and where those two were intercepted. And the SDNY is looking into Rudy's financials.

Put it all together, and things are not looking good for Giuliani.

Update: Okay, things are definitely looking bad for Giuliani.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating whether President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, according to two people familiar with the inquiry.

The investigators are examining Mr. Giuliani’s efforts to undermine the American ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch, one of the people said.
Mr. Giuliani has denied wrongdoing, but he acknowledged that he and the associates worked with Ukrainian prosecutors to collect potentially damaging information about Ms. Yovanovitch and other targets of Mr. Trump and his allies, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his younger son, Hunter Biden. Mr. Giuliani shared that material this year with American government officials and a Trump-friendly columnist in an effort to undermine the ambassador and other Trump targets.

Federal law requires American citizens to disclose to the Justice Department any contacts with the government or media in the United States at the direction or request of foreign politicians or government officials, regardless of whether they pay for the representation. Law enforcement officials have made clear in recent years that covert foreign influence is as great a threat to the country as spies trying to steal government secrets.
What can I say? Lock him up! But not next to Michael Cohen; that would be cruel and unusual punishment. Of Cohen. He seems genuinely repentant and I feel sorry for him. Rudy can eat shit for all I care.

ABC has more...
The business relationship between President Donald Trump's private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the men charged Thursday in a campaign finance scheme is a subject of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by federal authorities in New York, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Marcy thinks that Rudy could be charged with breaking the Foreign Agent Registration Act, and that Bill Barr has decided to toss Giuliani under the bus.
On report that Rudy's under investigation for FARA (or 951, which they don't mention but might be a closer fit).

1) Congress asked some time ago for that investigation

2) VERY interesting Q whether he can be charged when Barr knew of it, personally

3) By threatening Rudy w/FARA/951, he doubles down on involvement of Pompeo, Perry, and Trump--viola! A conspiracy!

4) Rudy's finances are still going to be the sweet spot; someone was paying him, effectively to rep Trump

5) I suspect Billy Barr thinks he can manage this, sacrifice Rudy and save Trump. But he has never once gotten a grasp of the evidence at hand (especially as it pertains to Manafort), and SDNY line prosecutors likely know that.
The Mystery Russian. Meanwhile, here comes David Corn, replete with deerstalker and non-canonical calabash, as he tries to deduce the identity of the mysterious Russian moneyman behind Fruman and Parnas. Remember, that dough went to the president's freakin' lawyer, and probably to Trump's re-election campaign.
The mystery: Who is this wealthy Russian who allegedly tried to make illegal contributions to US politicians in pursuit of launching a cannabis venture?

The indictment does not say. It refers to this individual only as “Foreign National-1.” And the question cannot be yet answered definitively. But California state records and emails obtained by Mother Jones indicate that a Russian businessman named Andrey Muraviev had previously worked with Kukushkin to develop a cannabis enterprise.
Y'know what's hilarious about this? Jeff Sessions was such a hard-ass on grass. It always seemed weird to me that this anti-pot administration would retain deep libertarian support -- but then again, libertarianism seems to have devolved into straight-up fascism during the past decade.
Muraviev does not have much of a public profile in the United States. His Wikipedia page says he was born in 1974. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, he graduated from Kemerovo State Technical University in 1997 with an economics degree and also graduated from San Francisco State University in 1998 with a finance degree. He is the founder of Sibir Cement, one of Russia’s largest cement companies. It has facilities across Siberia. As of 2012, his Parus Capital, a Russia-dedicated investment fund, had $50 million to invest. The fund, according to his Wikipedia page, finances “food production, the IT industry, real estate, and in construction of new cement plants.” Muraviev has also been a director of QIWI, a publicly traded Russian electronic payment service provider that is headquartered in Cyprus. His names is sometimes spelled “Muravyev” or “Muravyov.”
Woah. He's the Russian Peter Thiel? What a coinky-dink. I was just talking about libertarians-who-morph-into-fascists. Actually, he's not really Russia's Peter Thiel, since he is only one director of Qiwi; the CEO is named Sergey A. Solonin. Muraviev has his fingers in many different pies -- and he's said to be worth about $300 million, which is roughly equivalent to Qiwi's total equity.

Here's more about Qiwi, by the way. They've gone some ways toward integrating with PayPal.

More importantly, Qiwi played an under-recognised role in Russia's manipulation of our 2016 election.

Do you think for one second that Muraviev could hold a position like that without Putin's blessing? As with all other Russian 'garchs, he was a Charlie Nobodyovich, seemingly plucked out of nowhere to run a giant concern. That doesn't happen by happenstance.

This page has more information about the guy. The following may give us some insight into the man himself:
In the summer of 2012, Siberian Cement announced that the company had held an extensive audit after Muravyov’s departure. According to the “new” SibCem, the audit had revealed financial irregularities while Muravyov was at the helm of the company.[21] Among other things, large loans were extended to several top managers on Muravyov’s team (who quit SibCem together with Muravyov) and their affiliated companies – loans that were never paid back. The current management of SibCem are trying to collect the outstanding debts through the court system.
Corn hedges his conclusion:
It’s not clear if Muraviev is the Russian cited in the indictment. Perhaps Kukushkin has worked with more than one wealthy Russian businessman eager to enter the American pot market.
My bet: Muriaviev is the guy.

Does this mean my original guess was wrong -- that the Dynamic Duo were funded by Firtash and/or Tchenguiz? No. I was right about that.
One of the two Florida businessmen who helped U.S. President Donald Trump’s personal attorney investigate his political rival, Democrat Joe Biden, also has been working for the legal team of a Ukrainian oligarch who faces bribery charges in the United States, according to attorneys for the businessmen and the oligarch.
Both men had worked in an unspecified capacity for Firtash before Parnas joined the Ukrainian’s legal team, according to a person familiar with the Florida men’s business dealings with Firtash.
Toensing and diGenova -- what a lovely couple! -- are Firtash lawyers these days. So they must know Parnas. What a small world! They must have wonderful dinner parties.

So here's the way it looks right now: Muriaviev is probably the guy who wants to corner the pot market, while Firtash was financing a scheme to grab a big chunk of Ukrainian liquid natural gas. And above them all: Vladimir Satanovich.

The final word goes to Seth Abramson, who arrived at the same conclusion I reached.

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