Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort is currently under house arrest and he’s facing a dozen criminal charges that could land him in prison for the rest of his life. Even as Manafort tries to decide whether to stand trial or cut a deal against Trump, one might think that his life couldn’t get much worse. However, as it turns out, Manafort’s life may be about to get a whole lot worse, as he’s facing potential murder charges in relation to the Trump-Russia scandal.
Ukraine now says that when Paul Manafort was working over there to get a Russian puppet elected, he was involved in a plot to get protesters killed for political gain, according to a Daily Beast report (link). To be clear, Special Counsel Robert Mueller can’t charge Manafort for these murders, as they took place against non-U.S. citizens outside the United States. However, Ukraine can charge Manafort and, assuming the U.S. isn’t willing to extradite him to stand trial because he’s currently too valuable to the Trump-Russia probe, Ukraine can try him in absentia on murder related charges. This complicates things significantly.
Even if Trump tries to pardon Manafort, and defeats the inevitable court challenge to the legitimacy of pardoning a co-conspirator, Manafort would still be facing a murder rap overseas. Ukraine and the U.S. do not have an extradition treaty for standing trial, but they do have an agreement regarding people who have already been convicted. So if Trump sets Manafort free, and if he then somehow gets off the hook for the state level charges he’s going to face in New York, he could still be shipped off to Ukraine to serve a prison sentence.
This would mean there would be little point in Donald Trump pardoning Paul Manafort. On the other hand, Manafort might be unwilling to cut a deal with Robert Mueller unless it includes assurances he’ll never be shipped to Ukraine. In any case, the Trump-Russia scandal is now so ugly, Trump’s campaign chairman may be facing murder charges.
The post Paul Manafort may be facing murder charges in Trump-Russia scandal appeared first on Palmer Report.
Covert influence is the new money laundering
In the 20th century, the rise of organized criminal enterprises, like the Mafia and drug-smuggling cartels, led law enforcement officers and prosecutors to realize that investigating each murder, each coercion of a legitimate business and each drug …and more »
Russian Intelligence services and organized crime – Google News
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The Paradise Papers is a major new leak of documents from two offshore services firms based in Bermuda and Singapore, as well as from 19 corporate registries maintained by governments in secret offshore jurisdictions. The documents were obtained by the Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which organized a collaborative investigation with dozens of outlets across the world, including the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP).
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A top member of Donald Trump’s administration has business links with Russian allies of President Vladimir Putin who are under US sanctions, the Paradise Papers have revealed. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has an interest in Navigator Holdings, …
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A top member of Donald Trump’s administration has business links with Russian allies of President Vladimir Putin who are under US sanctions, the Paradise Papers have revealed.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has an interest in Navigator Holdings, which earns millions a year transporting oil and gas for Russian energy firm Sibur.
Two major Sibur shareholders are under some form of US sanctions.
A commerce department spokesman did not dispute the revelations.
“Secretary Ross recuses himself from any matters focused on transoceanic shipping vessels,” the spokesman told BBC Panorama, adding that the secretary “works closely with Commerce Department ethics officials to ensure the highest ethical standards”.
Another Sibur shareholder is President Putin’s son in law, Kirill Shamalov.
He holds a 3.9% stake in the firm. Gennady Timchenko, who has been individually sanctioned by the United States, as have at least 12 companies connected to him, and Leonid Mikhelson, whose main company, Novatek, is also sanctioned, are major shareholders.
Sibur itself and Mr Shamalov are not under sanctions, although Mr Shamalov’s father, Nikolai, is.
The commerce department spokesman said Mr Ross had never met the three Russian shareholders.
The US imposed some sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. Others were imposed last year for alleged interference in the US presidential election.
The revelations will again raise questions about the Russian connections of Donald Trump’s team. His presidency has been dogged by allegations that Russians colluded to try to influence the outcome of the election. He has called the allegations “fake news”. A special counsel is investigating the matter.
Wilbur Ross and Donald Trump have known each other for more than a quarter of a century. Mr Ross played a key part in a prepackaged bankruptcy deal – deal agreed between a company and its creditors – for Mr Trump’s Atlantic City casino, the Taj Mahal, in the 1990s.
Trump biographer David Cay Johnston told BBC Panorama: “If it hadn’t been for Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump would not be in the White House.
WL Ross & Co, which was founded by Wilbur Ross, first invested in Navigator Holdings in 2011.
An investigation has revealed details of how Mr Ross retains a financial interest in Navigator Holdings via a number of companies in the Cayman Islands
Some of these Cayman companies were disclosed by Mr Ross when he became commerce secretary, but under the disclosure rules he did not have to declare his interest in Navigator Holdings.
Its annual report in 2016 showed 31.5% was still held by entities in which Mr Ross has a stake, although the value of Mr Ross’s personal holding remains unclear.
When Trump met Ross
Back in 1990, after a high-profile financial battle, Donald Trump opened his third casino in Atlantic City – the Taj Mahal, dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world”.
It didn’t go well. Mr Trump financed it with $675m raised through junk bonds at an interest rate of 14%. He struggled to make the payments.
Step in Wilbur Ross. Then at Rothschild Inc, he was representing the angry bondholders but liked Donald Trump’s style.
Trump biographer David Cay Johnston said: “Wilbur Ross was a key negotiator in Donald Trump not having to go through bankruptcy and not being swept into the dustbin of history because he saw the value in the Trump name.”
Mr Ross said at this year’s Concordia Annual Summit: “When you meet people who are under tremendous financial pressure… you really get to see what they are made of, and he was made of much stronger stuff than a lot of owners of troubled businesses.”
One prepackaged bankruptcy later and The Donald was on his way out of debt and heading up the Forbes rich list.
Wilbur Ross became a board member of Navigator in 2012 but the commerce department said he was not on the board when Navigator signed its charter deal with Sibur that year.
But Mr Ross was still a board member during the period from March to November 2014, when the US was sanctioning Russians over the annexation of Crimea, including Mr Timchenko and Mr Mikhelson’s company, Novatek.
During that period Navigator continued to increase its business with Sibur. The energy firm accounted for 9.1% of Navigator’s total revenues in 2015, compared with 5.3% in 2014, Navigator’s own filings show.
Mr Ross left Navigator’s board in November 2014 but his seat was taken by Ross group partner Wendy Teramoto, who served on it until 2017.
Figures from 2016 showed Sibur was still among Navigator’s top five clients, predominantly exporting Russian gas to Europe and potentially providing significant income to sanctioned Putin allies.
This year, Navigator doubled the fleet it is using on Sibur exports to four. Sibur has provided Navigator with $68m (£49m) in revenue since 2014.
There is no suggestion Mr Ross has violated any rules.
But Daniel Fried, who oversaw the introduction of US sanctions against Russia under President Barack Obama, told Panorama that it would be a mistake for any American official to do business with Sibur.
“I would advise any client who came to me to stay well away from Sibur or anybody else who has been sanctioned or has a relationship with sanctioned individuals… on the grounds, at least, of reputational risk.”
But Mr Ross appears to have maintained a close relationship with the shipping company.
On the night that he was nominated as commerce secretary by President Trump, Mr Ross went to a restaurant in New York where he was congratulated on his promotion by the senior management of Navigator Holdings, Bloomberg reported.
Mr Ross reportedly told the CEO of Navigator: “Your interest is aligned to mine. The US economy will grow, and Navigator will be a beneficiary.”
Another key Navigator customer has been PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company. It was targeted by US sanctions this year.
The commerce department said Mr Ross had “been generally supportive of the Administration’s sanctions of Russian and other entities”.
The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.
The 13.4 million records were passed to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and then shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). Panorama has led research for the BBC as part of a global investigation involving nearly 100 other media organisations, including the Guardian, in 67 countries. The BBC does not know the identity of the source.
Paradise Papers: Full coverage; follow reaction on Twitter using #ParadisePapers; in the BBC News app, follow the tag “Paradise Papers”
Watch Panorama on the BBC iPlayer (UK viewers only)
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Reporters have unveiled some 13.4 million secret documents detailing evidence of tax evasion among high-ranking politicians and the super wealthy. Some in US President Donald Trump’s cabinet have been implicated.
Some 400 reporters from 67 countries have scoured 13.4 million secret documents and uncovered tax-evasion techniques used by the super rich and high-ranking politicians, German media reported on Sunday.
The leaked data was obtained by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which said that the majority of the documents stem from offshore law firm Appleby, which was founded in Bermuda but has offices in several other locations. The company reported last month that it had been hacked.
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Today the mainstream media presented us with the “breaking news” that Donald Trump’s Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has financial connections to the Trump-Russia scandal. This is shocking – not because of the details that are being reported today, but because this is ten month old news. In fact, Palmer Report brought you the story ten months ago, not based on any inside sourcing, but based on publicly available evidence. So why on earth has the mainstream media been shielding Wilbur Ross all this time? Now that the media is finally acknowledging Ross’s role, where does it go from here?
Back in February, when Donald Trump tapped Wilbur Ross to be his Secretary of Commerce, Palmer Report pointed out that Ross was the vice chairman of Bank of Cyprus. This came just one month after Deutsche Bank had been busted by US and European regulators for laundering billions of dollars of Russian money through Bank of Cyprus into the hands of clients in places like New York City. In turn, Deutsche Bank has spent the past several years loaning suspiciously large amounts of money to Donald Trump, even though most other banks had concluded he was a poor credit risk.
These pieces were never difficult to put together. Wilbur Ross used the bank of Cyprus to help Russia launder money into the hands of Donald Trump, and Trump returned the favor by making Ross the Secretary of Commerce. Yet the mainstream media, with a very small number of notable exceptions like Rachel Maddow, never bothered to report that Ross was a key player in the Trump-Russia scandal.
There is no reason to believe that the mainstream media cares about the fate of Wilbur Ross. It’s not as if they’ve been shielding him from the scandal because they like him. Instead, it appears they just weren’t ready to begin reporting on this narrative until after the initial arrests began. Maybe they didn’t think it was ratings worthy until now. But they’ve chosen now for a reason. Maybe now we’ll finally get to the bottom of it.
The post How the mainstream media spent ten months shielding Wilbur Ross from the Trump-Russia scandal appeared first on Palmer Report.
Michael Flynn Followed Russian Troll Accounts, Pushed Their Messages in Days Before Election
Trump’s notoriously Kremlin-friendly national security adviser amplified Russian messages right when they mattered most—in the days leading up to Nov. 8, 2016.
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