During a Senate Judiciary hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Chairman Charles Grassley said he wants the Department of Justice to look into revelations that the FBI was investigating officials tied to a Russian state-controlled nuclear company that purchased 20 percent of the U.S. uranium supply in 2010.
"It turns out that during the transaction the Justice department had ongoing criminal investigation for bribery, extortion, money laundering into officials for the Russian company involved in the transaction."
“What are you doing to find out how the Russian takeover of the American uranium was allowed to occur despite criminal conduct by the Russia company that the Obama administration approved the purchase," Grassley said.
Grassley said he wants to know why the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, approved the Rosatom purchase of Uranium One despite the existence of an FBI investigation which could have impacted CFIUS’ approval.
The Rostaom takeover of Uranium One required approval by CFIUS, an inter-agency committee who reviews transactions that leads to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the United States. At the time of the Uranium One deal the panel was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
By the time CFIUS approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom, the FBI’s investigation had already gathered substantial evidence of bribery and kickbacks against a Russian national, Vadim Mikerin, who was then a top official with Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary, according to court documents. The FBI said while at Tenex, which was located in Maryland, Mikerin was involved in multiple bribery and kickback schemes. Mikerin pled guilty in 2015 for money laundering conspiracy involving Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Violations and was sentenced to four years in prison. By the end of 2015, four defendants were indicted in the years-long investigation, according to court records and the Justice Department.
In a 2015 affidavit, FBI officials said Mikerin, “with the consent of higher level officials at Tenex and Rosatom (both Russian state-owned entities), would offer no-bid contracts to U.S. businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the form of money...” made to offshore accounts, stated the affidavit in support of a search warrant. Mikerin pled guilty to the allegations.
“Mikerin admitted that he conspired with Daren Condrey, Boris Rubizhevsky and others to transmit approximately $2,126,622 from Maryland and elsewhere in the United States to offshore shell company bank accounts located in Cyprus, Latvia and Switzerland with the intent to promote the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations,” according to a DOJ press release announcing the charges against the then defendants in 2014. “Mikerin further admitted that the conspirators used consulting agreements and code words to disguise the corrupt payments.”
Condrey, was an executive of an American trucking company, Transportation Logistics International (TLI) based in Fulton, Maryland, which was authorized at the time to move Russian uranium around the United States, according to contracts and documents reviewed by Circa. Condrey also pled guilty in June 2015 to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspiring to commit wire fraud.
Rubizhevsky, a Russian national, who was the president of NEXGEN security in New Jersey, worked as a consultant for Mikerin and Tenam, according to court documents. He aided in the scheme to get the contracts awarded to TLI, according to the Justice Department. Rubizhevsky pled guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in June 2015.
The Department of Justice's case against Mikerin was aided by an FBI informat. Circa spoke to intelligence lawyer Victoria Toensing, who is representing the informant said that her client provided information for a couple years before the Uranium One deal was voted on by CFIUS.
“High-ranking law enforcement officials in the Obama Administration knew that there was corruption in this company," Toensing said. She continued that her client "is not only afraid of the Russian people, but he is afraid of the US government because of the threats the Obama administration made against him."
“My client was providing information for a couple years before this really got voted on by CFIUS.”
Senator Grassley, an Iowa Republican said he wanted to know if Department of Justice is investigating whether Russian entities compromised the Obama administration’s decision to approve the sale of Uranium One.
“The Clinton Foundation reportedly received millions of dollars from interested parties in the transaction. And Secretary Clinton’s State Department was one of the agencies that gave a thumbs up to the takeover," he said during the hearing.
“Bill Clinton received 500,000 for a speech in Moscow in June 2010 from the Russian government aligned bank. The same month as the speech Russia began the Uranium acquisition process. This fact pattern raises serious concerns about improper political influence on the process by the previous, by the Clinton’s during the Obama administration. “
Sessions said he could not confirm or deny if there were any investigations and told Grassley he would review Grassley's comments.
A Russian nuclear firm under FBI investigation was allowed to purchase US uranium supply
Senators have reached a bipartisan deal to save the Obamacare markets
The Israeli ambassador praised Trump, saying US-Israel relations 'have never been better'