Posted on May 30 2018
Part 1 of 3, previously discussed here...
Russia Today FARA filing discussed here
Squire Patton Boggs Gasprom FARA discussed here
SCL/ Cambridge Analytica FARA filing discussed here
🇷🇺Russia - VTB Bank FARA #6353🇷🇺
On July 22, 2014 the US Teasury issued the following Press Release, which reads in part:
In response to Russia’s continued efforts to destabilize eastern Ukraine, the U.S. Department of the Treasury today imposed prohibitions on additional entities operating within the financial services sector of the Russian economy pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13662
“In light of Russia’s continuing support for separatists in Ukraine, we took additional steps today to further increase financial pressure on the Russian government,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. "These actions, along with actions announced today by the European Union, significantly increase the costs to Russia for its efforts to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty. We are prepared to continue to expand these sanctions if Russia refuses to change course."
VTB Bank OAO is a state-owned bank, and, together with its subsidiaries (“the VTB Group”), is Russia’s second-largest banking group. The VTB Group has more than 1,600 offices in Russia, and operates more than 30 banks in 23 countries across Europe, Asia, and Africa. The VTB Group offers financial services including retail, corporate and investment banking; brokering and other stock-market services; insurance; asset management for pension and unit funds; and leasing. VTB Bank’s shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange and on the London Stock Exchange.
You can read the full text of the July 2014 US Treasury Press Release, here. The Sectoral Sanctions Identifications; Kingpin Act Designations; Iran Designations Update; Ukraine-related Designation can be found here
On December 22, 2015 the US Treasury imposed sanctions on VTB. Why? Simple Russia invaded another Sovereign Country, used force to engage of a taking. Meaning they invaded the Ukraine, by use of military force and this subsequently lead to the (unlawful) Annexation of Crimea. Putin and his regime placed the Annexation on a referendum and the Russian people voted (unlawfully) to annex Crimea. The only problem is Crimea wasn’t Russia’s for the taking. See the December 22, 2015 (archived) US Treasury Sanctions, here.
And then of course the Trump Organization once again outright lied to the American people. Per this Gaurdian article, found here
Donald Trump’s private company was “actively negotiating” a business deal in Moscow with a sanctioned Russian bank during the 2016 election campaign, according to a memo by Democratic lawmakers investigating possible collusion between the campaign and the Kremlin.
Trump eventually signed a non-binding “letter of intent” for the project to go forward and his attorney, Michael Cohen, told the New York Times that they had discussed the project three times. The Moscow project did not go ahead.
Let’s also not forget good old Yuri Milner, DTS Global and his long standing relationship with VTB. In late 2016 Yuri Milner personally funded Jared stroking a $850,000 check to Cadre, a real-estate investing conglomerate co-founded and partly owned by Jared Kushne and his family. Setting aside the Yuri Milner hundreds of millions that his company invested into Facebook and Twitter, that’s like adding salt to a gaping wound. That said I tried to verify Kushner had divested himself from Cadre. The problem is Kushner has amended his OGE filing sime 44+ times since January 20, 2017. That’s an average of 2.59 OGE amendments per month. To read more about Yuri Milner, Cadre, DTS Global, Facebook & Twitter, you’ll need to go to The Paradise Papers, massive offshore leaks of documents from Appleby, link to article, here
VTB Bank US Treasuy
and has been since #July 2012 🇷🇺
Which brings us to Manatos & Manatos, the firm that’s “lobbying” on behalf the VTB Bank. See May 11, 2016 orginal FARA registration form and the potential problematic nature of 1) lobbying for a Bank that’s under Sanctions 2) several donations to Dem lawmakers <60 days before VTB Bank hired this firm. And VTB Bank agrees to pay a monthly fee of $17,500. See pages 3-6, link found here
The registrant provided on behalf of the foreign principal government strategies counsel and arranged meetings with United States policymakers regarding the imposition of sanctions by the United States government.
On May 11, 2016 Manatos & Manatos VTB Bank simultaneously filed a FARA AB Exhibit. Link to their Exhibit A B can be for here. Exhibit C (Manatos & Manatos) Exhibit C, Articles of (DC) Incorporation can be found here.
I refer you to page 5, paragraphs 3 & 4, which reads in part:
Scope of Representation. The client in each Matter will be VTB Group ("you" or VTB Capital, Inc. as a part of VTB Group) will be a direct counterparty with Manatos & Manatos under this engagement.
initial Matter is the provision of government strategies counsel and advice and lobbying directed toward the United States Congress and Administration on behalf of VTB Group regarding the imposition of sanctions by the US government on Russian-affiliated banks.
I then refer you to page 6, paragraph 4, which reads in part:
If Manatos & Manatos is required to respond to a subpoena or other formal request from a third party or a governmental agency for records or other information relating to the Representation, or to testify by deposition or otherwise concerning the Representation (a ‘Request"), Manatos & Manatos will first, to the extent permitted by applicable law, consult with the Client as to whether it is the Client's wish that Manatos & Manatos comply with the request.
And NOW the moment you have been waiting for:
June 20, 2017 and December 21, 2017
🇷🇺Supplemental Statement FARA filing 🇷🇺
VTB Bank (VTB Capital/VTB Group): The registrant remained on retainer for the provision of consulting services. There were no contacts made between the registrant and policymakers regarding activities or services for VTB during this time.
I refer you to pages 5-7. Which details some $87,500.00 in monthly “consulting fees” for December 21, 2016 to May 28, 2017. Link to FARA 6353 June 20, 2017 Supplemental Statement found here.
On page 7 the FARA document ask the following question:
During this 6 month reporting period, have you from your own funds and on your own behalf either directly or through any other person, made any contributions of money or other things of valuein connection with an election to any political office, or in connection With any primary election, convention, or caucus held to select candidates for political office?
Manatos and Manatos’ responsive filing itemized the following political donations:
1/20/17 $2,500.00 - 45th Presidential Inaugural Com.
2/16717 $2,700.00 - Joe Crowley
3/20/17 $500.00 - Bob Menendez
3/20/17 $500.00 - Charles Schumer
4/6/17 $500.00 - Gus Bilirakis
5/8/17 $1,000.00 - Ed Royce
5/15/17 $1,000.00 - Eleni Kounalakis
5/23/17 $500.00 - Raja Krishnarnoorthi
Of the 10 different FARA filings, the December 21, 2017 filing is the first time either Manatos or VTB have disclosed “what” actions were performed. Link to FARA 6353-Supplemental Statement found here
I refer you to page 4, questions 11 & 12, respectively:
VTB Bank (VTB Capital/VTB Group): The registrant remained on retainer for the provision of consulting services. On 10/13/17 the registrant was present for a meeting with Sandra Oudkirk, DAS at State for Sanctions.
On 10/13/17, met with Sandra Oudkirk, DAS at State for Sanctions to discuss an overview of VTB Capital's activities and position within international financial channels.
And now I refer you to pages 5 and 7. I could be way off base but a closer examination of “who” Manatos has “personally donated to” gives me serious pause. I know that makes me sound crazy but I get the feeling these donations are a set-up to dirty up these various lawmakers.
🚨Every lawmaker who accepted a donation from either Mr Manatos would be wise to return/refund said donations, NOW. Otherwise you will leave yourselfves exposed for some kind of future Russian political-extortion. Remember Russia likes to play BOTH sides. And my gut says these donations are seeds. If I were any of these lawmakers Chief of Staff, I would immediately investigate the donations and/or VTB Bank were disclosed, if NOT, then return the donations:
6/30/17 $500.00 - Charlie Crist
7/5/17 $500.00 - Raja Kiishnamoorthi
7/26/17 $500.00 - David Cicilline
7/26/17 | $250.00 - Mark Warner
8/1/17 ! $1,000.00 - Bob Menendez
9/11/17 ! $1,000.00 - Jamie Raskin
9/28/17 ' $2,700.00 - Tim Kaine
10/16/17 $1,000.00 - Raja Krishnamoorthi
11/8/17 $1,000.00 - Maria Pappas
11/14/17 $2,700.00 - Ben Cardin
I mean I guess Manatos and Manatos should get a gold star because they at least properly registered with the House of Reps & the US Senate...so there’s that nugget. And by all appearances they are filing their lobbying reports in accordance with LDA.
You can also run a LDA Database check, here
You can double check the FARA postings by running a document search via this DOJ/FARA link here
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