In an explosive revelation, The Daily Caller reports that Democrat super-lobbyist Tony Podesta, brother of Hillary Clinton’s national campaign chairman John Podesta, was paid $170,000 in 2016 to represent Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank, which was trying to end Obama administration economic sanctions against Russia.
As a retired senior U.S. intelligence official explained, “Sberbank is the Kremlin, they don’t do anything major without Putin’s go-ahead, and they don’t tell him ‘no’ either.”
Senate lobbying disclosure forms show Tony Podesta listed as a lobbyist for Sberbank; Podesta’s firm, The Podesta Group, garnered over $24 million in fees in 2016, much of it coming from foreign governments, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Elena Teplitskaya, Sberbank’s board chairman, admitted that Podesta and other lobbyists set up at least two meetings between Sberbank officers and Department of State officials.
Sberbank and VTB Capital, Russia’s two largest banks, spent over $700,000 in 2016 on Washington lobbyists to terminate the U.S. sanctions, according to Senate lobbying disclosure forms and documents.
Sberbank and VTB Capital are both struggling financially; but a lifting of sanctions would permit them to legally seek funds from American banks.
The Daily Caller reports:
The Sberbank-Podesta relationship goes back many years. Sberbank was the lead financial institution in the Russian deal to purchase Uranium One, owned by one of Bill Clinton’s closest friends, Frank Giustra. Giustra and Bill Clinton lead the Clinton-Giustra Enterprise Partnership, an integral part of the Clinton Foundation. Giustra has additionally donated $25 million to the Clinton Foundation.