Guest post by Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D.
If the CIA “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella is a Ukraine specialist, why was he focused so intently on the Baltic countries in late 2015 and into 2016?
Perhaps it has some connection to the recent revelations by Rudi Giuliani about alleged money laundering operation involving Bidens and Burisma.
It is an established fact that Ukrainian prosecutor general Victor Shokin, who was investigating Burisma, was fired after then Vice President Biden threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine.
“All of a sudden Shokin gets this communique from Latvia [in February 2016” that shows a $16 million laundering transaction — classic laundering transaction. — it goes from Ukraine, to Latvia, it’s disguised as a loan to another company to ‘Wirelogic’ I believe — it then goes to Cyprus, gets disguised as another loan — this is called “Digitech” then it’s dispersed as payment as board fees.”
Giuliani added: “Now you don’t make two loans to make board fees unless you’re laundering the money — $3 million gets to Hunter Biden in that way — That is a straight out violation of a money laundering statute.”
Since 2014, it has been known that a major criminal network called the “Russian laundromat” served as a financial vehicle to move vast sums of money out of Russia.
Daniel L. Glaser, former Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the U.S. Department of the Treasury noted, “About 1 per cent of all the USD [U.S. dollars] moving around the world in 2015 were going through Latvia, that’s 30 times more than might be expected in this size of economy.”
Treasury officials later concluded the institution, ABLV Bank, was laundering money for corrupt clients in Russia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
In the Autumn of 2015, two heads of influential security committees of the Latvian parliament, Solvita ?bolti?a, head of the National Security Committee, and Ain?rs Latkovskis, head of the Latvia’s parliamentary Defense Committee, were warned by both Glaser and the U.S. Department of State to clean up Latvia’s banking practices.
During late 2015, CIA “whistleblower” Eric Ciaramella held a number of meetings with high-level Latvians including one meeting with Solvita ?bolti?a and Ain?rs Latkovskis on October 29, 2015.
Interspersed with the Latvian meetings, Ciaramella met with Nathaniel P. Dean, then Director of the Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Department of State, who later became Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus.
As published earlier, here and here, December 2015 was a pivotal month.
During the first week of December 2015, Donald Trump began to establish a substantial lead over his Republican primary opponents.
Vice President Joseph Biden traveled to Ukraine to announce, on December 7th, a $190 million program to “fight corruption in law enforcement and reform the justice sector,” but behind the scenes explicitly linked a $1 billion loan guarantee to the firing of Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who had been investigating the energy company Burisma, which employed Biden’s son Hunter.
The problem with the Latvia-Ukraine-Cyprus money laundering investigation, which had been ongoing up until December 2015, was that it would potentially involve the Bidens.
It is not unreasonable to assume that a decision was taken by the Obama Administration to shift the emphasis of the investigation away from the Bidens and in the direction of Paul Manafort and the Trump campaign.
According to White House visitor logs, on January 19, 2016, Eric Ciaramella chaired a meeting of FBI, Department of Justice and Department of State personnel, which had two main objectives:
- To coerce the Ukrainians to drop the Burisma probe, which involved Vice President Joseph Biden’s son Hunter, and allow the FBI to take it over the investigation.
- To reopen a closed 2014 FBI investigation that focused heavily on GOP lobbyist Paul Manafort, whose firm long had been tied to Trump through his partner and Trump pal, Roger Stone.
That is, contain the investigation of Biden’s son and ramp up the investigation of Paul Manafort, who would soon join the Trump campaign. On face value, it appears to be a perfect solution as a political diversion.
Again, according to White House logs, the attendees at the January 19, 2016 meeting in Room 230A of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building were:
Eric Ciaramella – National Security Council Director for Ukraine
Liz Zentos – National Security Council Director for Eastern Europe
David G. Sakvarelidze – Deputy General Prosecutor of Ukraine
Anna E. Iemelianova (Yemelianova) – Legal Specialist, US Embassy Kyiv and US Department of Justice’s Anti-Corruption Program.
Nazar A. Kholodnitsky, Ukraine’s chief anti-corruption prosecutor
Catherine L. Newcombe – attorney in the Criminal Division, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, with the U.S. Department of Justice
Svitlana V. Pardus – Operations, Department of Justice, U.S. Embassy, Ukraine.
Artem S. Sytnyk – Director of the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine
Andriy G. Telizhenko, political officer in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington DC
Jeffrey W. Cole – Resident Legal Advisor at U.S. Embassy Ukraine, presumed to be FBI
Just two weeks after that meeting, on February 2, 2016, according to White House logs, Eric Ciaramella chaired a meeting in Room 374 of the Eisenhower Executive Office, which seems to be a planning session to re-open an investigation of Paul Manafort (Note: one of the crimes of which Manafort was accused was money laundering, an area covered by the Department of the Treasury). The attendees were:
Jose Borrayo – Acting Section Chief, Office of Special Measures, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
Julia Friedlander – Senior Policy Advisor for Europe, Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Michael Lieberman – Deputy Assistant Secretary, Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Scott Rembrandt – Anti-Money Laundering Task Force, Assistant Director/Director, Office of Strategic Policy, Department of the Treasury
Justin Rowland – Special Agent (financial crimes), Federal Bureau of Investigation
It appears that Paul Manafort became a vehicle by which the Obama Deep State operatives could link Trump to nefarious activities involving Russians, which eventually evolved into the Trump-Russia collusion hoax.