The Real Collusion: Russian Oligarch Who Ran Propaganda Against Trump Was Donor to Clinton Foundation
Russian sources have revealed a possible case of collusion between the Clinton Foundation and Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who invested in Trump-critical online media during the 2016 campaign.
Leading Russian political Telegram channel Nezygar reports that Russian-based Oligarch Viktor Vekselberg used US media companies to try and sabotage the Trump campaign beginning in 2016. Vekselberg is one of the wealthiest men in Russia, worth over $10 billion, and has donated to the Clinton Foundation since Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State.
Nezygar reports that Vekselberg bought a share in Odyssey Media, a fast growing U.S. blog platform, in April 2016. At that time, Odyssey had over 30 million visitors a month, especially among students and millennials, many opposed to candidate Trump. “Odyssey is a bit like a college paper on steroids. The startup has a stable of over 10,000 writers, aged 18-28, who produce around one piece a week. Odyssey then relies on the social networks of the individual writers to push out the content to the masses,” Business Insider wrote in 2016.
After Trump’s nomination, Odyssey Media Group hired dozens of new employees, aiming to expand from 80 to 400 markets by 2016 — mostly on university campuses which were to become hotbeds of the anti-Trump “Resistance” later. Nezygar claims a large number of these authors were actually ‘sock puppets’ —fake accounts with different identities controlled by one person. Today, most of these Odyssey accounts are suspended or inactive.
In February 2017, directly after Trump’s inauguration, Odyssey laid off 55 employees , one third of their staff, as Fortune Magazine reported. By June 2017, staff was down to 15 or 20 people, CEO and founder Evan Burns had left the company.
As Peter Schweizer revealed in his report “From Russia with Money “, Viktor Vekselberg was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation through his Renova Group, which also held his stake in Odyssey Media through investement firm Columbus Nova.
“On June 4, 2012, the foreign policy director at the Clinton Foundation, Amitabh Desai, reached out to Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Michael Fuchs at the State Department via email. The subject line was “Russia/Viktor Vekselberg?” Vekselberg and his company the Renova Group had contributed between $10,000 and $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation. It read, “Would [the State Department] have any concerns about [Clinton Global Initiative] inviting Viktor Vekselberg, President of Renova Group, to attend CGI Annual Meeting in NYC in September?” The email appears to have gone unanswered. Vekselberg did, indeed, come to the U.S. in October 2012,” Schweizer writes.
The Clinton Foundation received a total of $145 million from nine shareholders in Canadian uranium company Uranium One that was sold to the Russian government in 2010 with the approval of Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
The deal allowed Russian State Nuclear Agency Rosatom to buy roughly 20 percent of American uranium production. Viktor Vekselberg is a member of the Russian Electric Power Committee.
In September 2016, Vekselberg-owned Renova Group was searched by the Russian FSB on accusations of bribery. Russian media reported investigators discovered evidence of donations in 2015 and 2016 by offshore entities controlled by Vekselberg to the Clinton Foundation, at a time when candidate Hillary Clinton was banned from receiving foreign contributions. The donations were routed from Vekselberg-controlled Metcombank via private U.S. accounts at Deutsche Bank America.
In early 2016, Vekselberg also bought a share in far-left anti-Trump Gawker Media, unsuccessfully seeking to fight off a 100-million-dollar lawsuit by Hulk Hogan and Peter Thiel in September 2016. The Trump administration moved to impose sanctions against Vekselberg in 2018. Vekselberg attended the Trump Inauguration 2017 despite being denied an official invitation, which was instead procured for him by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
As reported earlier in May 2018, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for Stormy Daniels, alleged on Tuesday that a Russian oligarch paid Trump Attorney Michael Cohen $500,000 for “insights” into the Trump administration.
Avenatti was barking up the wrong tree. Vekselberg is a Clinton donor. And even the Russian media is reporting it today.
by Collin McMahon