Russia and Ukraine, like sizable parts of the region, are an extended ‘game of thrones’ of oligarchs and apparatchiks carving up the resources of the ex-Soviet states, using bribes, corruption, and force.
The two countries are economically intertwined in complex and messy ways.
At RedState, Jennifer Van Laar makes the important point that the recent revelations about Biden’s bribes were not just coming through Burisma, a Ukrainian firm, but through an alleged Russian asset.
Burisma Holdings founder Mykola Zlochevsky, who allegedly paid a total of $10 million in bribes to Joe and Hunter Biden in 2015 and 2016 in exchange for then-Vice President Joe Biden’s assistance in getting Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired, is believed to be an asset of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) by the United States intelligence community, according to a national security source speaking to RedState on condition of anonymity.
The official said: “The US intelligence community has a high degree of confidence in their assessment of Zlochevsky as SVR. This is not a new assessment; the intelligence community under Obama knew this, and Obama was briefed on it. Joe Biden and Victoria Nuland were briefed as well.”
This wouldn’t be too shocking.
Mykola Zlochevsky served as a minister in the Yanukovych government, which was generally seen as a Russian puppet. After being ousted, Yanukovych fled to Russia. Zlochevsky relocated to Cyprus.
If Biden had been briefed on it and still maintained ties with Zlochevsky, that looks even more corrupt.
House Republicans, after an extended standoff with the FBI, managed to get access to the source statement claiming that a $5 million bribe had been paid to both Bidens each.
Reps. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) revealed details after reading the file at the Capitol. Both said Burisma owner Mykola Zlochevsky allegedly told an FBI source that he paid $5 million apiece to Hunter and then-Vice President Joe Biden in an attempt to shake off a corruption investigation.
Sen. Chuck Grassley recently revealed that the figure, apparently Zlochevsky, has recordings of Biden.
Sen. Chuck Grassley said Monday that the Burisma executive who allegedly paid Joe Biden and Hunter Biden kept 17 audio recordings of his conversations with them as an “insurance policy,” citing the FBI FD-1023 form that the bureau briefed congressional lawmakers on.
Grassley said the FD-1023 has a redacted reference that the Burisma executive possesses fifteen audio recordings of phone calls between himself and Hunter Biden.
According to Grassley, the FD-1023 also states that the executive possesses two audio recordings of phone calls between himself and then-Vice President Joe Biden.
It’s not clear when these calls would date to, but there’s a plausible timeline here.
Zlochevsky brings Hunter Biden on board in the spring of 2014. Joe Biden is Obama’s point man on Ukraine and Zlochevsky is facing a money laundering investigation. By the end of the year, he’s out of the country, but still allegedly retains control over Burisma among a shadowy network of companies.
The calls would have presumably come during those months in 2014. If they came afterward, that would be even more obviously criminal.
Zlochevsky is paying millions to the Bidens. Biden does get Viktor Shokin, Ukraine’s chief prosecutor fired, but his problems don’t go away, and he has to head to Cyprus.
But if Zlochevsky is a Russian asset, he may have been after more than just his personal wealth.
They say that an honest politician is one who stays bribed, but Biden didn’t stay properly bribed. After allegedly paying out $10 million, Zlochevsky’s problems remained and so did Russia’s. By 2017, Hunter’s million-dollar salary gets cut. Joe Biden is out of office and Hunter Biden is much less useful.
But let’s suppose that Zlochevsky isn’t just working on business deals, he’s also demonstrating his value to Moscow by showing that he’s got Biden connections. Those connections seem to drop off in value in 2017, but they’re suddenly important again in 2020.
The FBI’s FD-1023 form from an informant, dated June 30, 2020, has the Biden bribe allegation.
Zlochevsky had got something hot again. So do the FBI and the DOJ which promptly bury it.
Was Zlochevsky just boasting about his connections to someone he thought or maybe was a Russian connection or was he well aware of whom he was talking to and sending a warning to the Bidens?
Next time return my calls.
And the real question then may be, what sort of contacts has the Biden administration or presidential allies had with Zlochevsky since then?
A final note: Biden made a formal visit to Cyprus in 2014. Questions have been raised about that visit. Cyprus is infamous as a hub for money laundering.
The stated reason for the vice president’s detour to Cyprus in 2014 was to help find a solution to the Cyprus problem, but that is a tough line to swallow. Since the Turkish invasion in July 1974, many solutions to undoing the island’s political division have been proffered, virtually all brokered by the United Nations, which maintains a peacekeeping force and buffer zone on the island. Each one has failed, and the situation is deadlocked. Of his various foreign policy priorities while in office, Cyprus was almost lamentably low on President Obama’s agenda.
That is what makes a private dinner that Joe and Jill Biden attended at the residence of the Cyprian president at the time, Nicos Anastasiades, on May 21, 2014, somewhat curious. Not only because the house was at Limassol, the coastal port city where Burisma is registered. The absence of reporters or readouts would appear to belie Mr. Biden’s assurance that his visit was purely about matters of state, if it even was at all.
Not that one should be judged by the company one keeps, but subsequent to that dinner, a law firm founded by Mr. Anastasiades was accused of hiding the assets of a Russian lawmaker on the lam.
From Cyprus comes a second thorn in the president’s side — other than his son Hunter, that is. In February a 56-year-old American-Israeli defense and energy analyst, Gal Luft, was arrested in Cyprus on charges of illegal arms trafficking, which he denied. Mr. Luft claimed that his arrest was a form of retaliation by President Biden for his having cooperated with the FBI in 2019 in a corruption case linked to Hunter Biden.
Mr. Luft’s attorney in Israel, Mordechai Tzivin, told Ynet that his client’s testimony could “bury Hunter Biden, that’s why they’re trying to bury him first.”
The Russian exile in question was Leonid Lebedev who owned a major Russian energy firm.