The latest on KI’s blog: Natalie Duffy discusses how the Armed Services Committee has a revolving door all its own.
- U.S. lawmakers are launching a fresh effort to outlaw “shell companies” amid fears that Russia is exploiting such opaque corporate vehicles to spread its influence.
- Op-ed by Representative Tom Suozzi: Americans must unite to fight Russian attempts to undermine western democracies.
- Pence emphasizes Ukraine’s fight against corruption in a meeting with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
- An insider describes the Bayrock Group, its links to the Trump family, and its mysterious access to funds. [Note: It is alleged that Bayrock was a money laundering front and connected to post-Soviet organized crime groups, in particular Felix Sater, a mobster turned FBI informant.]
- The Wall Street Journal fired its chief foreign affairs correspondent after evidence emerged of his involvement in prospective commercial deals —including one involving arms sales to foreign governments — with an international businessman who was one of his key sources.
- A Trump appointee to an advisory board is also a well-paid lobbyist for Saudi Arabia, making $430,000 from the kingdom — sparking ethics concerns about the President’s “drain the swamp” pledge.
- Independent Russian news outlet RBC has been bought by oligarch Grigory Berezkin; Berezkin, who already owns several newspapers, signed the deal with current owner Mikahil Prokhorov, who is also owner of the Brooklyn Nets.
- Russia’s Anti-Monopoly Service ruled that Moscow City Hall awarded illegal contracts worth more than $66.7 million as part of the capital’s flagship renovation program.
- Malaysia rejects U.S. claims over assets said stolen from 1MDB, while Leonardo DiCaprio has handed over Marlon Brando’s Oscar statuette and other gifts he received from a production company now under investigation for a multibillion dollar embezzlement scheme involving one of his movies.
- Senators are calling on the secretaries of State and Treasury to review whether a potential Russian takeover of petroleum company Citgo could threaten national security and violate economic sanctions.
[Citgo, owned by the government of Venezuela, risks defaulting on a loan from Rosneft, a Russian state-owned energy company. Rosneft could take control of Citgo upon default, giving a company with close ties to Putin command of United States infrastructure.]
- After the dead body of an MI6 spy was found locked in a sports bag in London, police said the death was “probably an accident” – but British and American spy agencies have secret intelligence suggesting Gareth Williams may have been assassinated over highly sensitive work on Russia.
- The daughter of the friend of the former South Korean president attempted to get citizenship in Malta after being extradited from Denmark in connection with a massive corruption scandal centering on her mother, leading to the ouster of the former president. See KI’s work on Malta’s investment-for-citizenship scheme here.