To: Robert S. Mueller III
Department of Justice
Special Counsel’s Office
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20530
Dear Robert S. Mueller III:
In this statement, I want to inform you that the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov funded the political Forum, which took place in September 2015 in the U.S. Capitol building.
Special counsel Robert Mueller investigates the illegal activities of Paul Manafort and the interference of pro-Russian forces in the US elections in 2016. On January 8, 2019, the US media published articles that in 2016 Paul Manafort asked Rick Gates to tell Konstantin Kilimnik to pass the political polling data to two Ukrainian oligarchs, Serhiy Lyovochkin and Rinat Akhmetov. The oligarchs had financed Russian-aligned Ukrainian political parties that had hired Mr. Manafort as a political consultant.
September 25, 2015, I am a Ukrainian journalist Rostyslav Shaposhnikov, attended the Forum «Ukraine’s Ongoing Battle for freedom – The Risk of Western Failure in Political, Economic, and Humanitarian Assistance», which was held in the Congressional Auditorium of the U.S. Capitol. This Forum was organized by the American non-governmental organization The U.S. Ukraine Foundation, Embassy of Ukraine and Save Ukraine Now organization. Forum participants were such American politicians: Senator Rob Portman, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, and Congressman Peter Roskam. From the Ukrainian side, the forum was attended by: Minister of Finance of Ukraine Natalia Yaresko, Ukrainian Parliament Chairman Andriy Paruby, Minister of Defense of Ukraine Stepan Poltorak. The Minister of Defense of Ukraine was accompanied by Advisor to the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko – Yuri Biryukov. President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko was not personally present at the Forum, but spoke at the forum via video translation.
During this Forum, a presentation of the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center was shown. This presentation was given by Jock Mendoza-Wilson, Director of International Capital Investor Relations at System Capital Management. System Capital Management is 100% owned by Rinat Akhmetov. During the presentation, Jock Mendoza-Wilson spoke about how the Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center sends humanitarian aid to the residents of the occupied territories in eastern Ukraine – the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”. I made a video of that presentation.
I was very surprised to see the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation presentation. Rinat Akhmetov is the richest man in Ukraine and is known as a sponsor of the pro-Russian political party of Ukraine “The Party of Regions” and the former president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovich, who fled to Russia after the Revolution on the Maidan in 2014.
I asked one of the representatives of the Ukrainian diaspora in the US to find out who invited the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation to the conference. Together with a representative of the Ukrainian diaspora, we asked the women who organized this forum. Answering the question of who invited the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation to the forum, the women replied that they (Rinat Akhmetov Foundation) paid the money, and therefore they were included in the list of participants. This answer was heard by me and the representative of the Ukrainian diaspora, who asked the question.
Thus, the Forum in the U.S. Capitol was organized with the money of the pro-Russian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov. The organizer of the forum asked me not to publish a video about it. American and Ukrainian politicians could not have been unaware of the participation in the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation’s forum because the Foundation was included in the list of participants and this list was published on the organization’s website.
Country Information and Guidance Ukraine: Fear of organized criminal gangs. Version 2.0 May 2016:
4.3.3. An article published by the Council on Foreign Relations in March 2015 stated: «Eastern Ukraine has long been ruled by a nexus of political power, business interests, and criminal groups. An important power figure before the war was Ukrainian businessman Rinat Akhmetov, who enjoyed greater authority than many local governors or law enforcement officials. After the conflict erupted, corrupt local institutions collapsed as prewar officials and business leaders fled west or threw in their lot with separatists, leaving the separatist-held territories to devolve into lawlessness».
The New York Times, Oct. 10, 2018:
«Mr. Manafort was convicted on eight counts of tax and bank fraud in August and he pleaded guilty to other crimes last month related to his work in Ukraine between 2005 and 2015. He was recruited to do political work in the country by Mr. Akhmetov, who hired Mr. Manafortas a consultant for his industrial businesses, before persuading him to work for the Russia-aligned politician Viktor F. Yanukovych, whose career Mr. Akhmetov had financed.»
CNN, January 10, 2019:
«Akhmetov is one of the richest men in Ukraine and bankrolled the Party of Regions, a Ukrainian political party aligned with Moscow that Manafort worked to bolster. Akhmetov reportedly introduced Manafort to the party’s leader, Viktor Yanukovych, and they embarked on a decade-long partnership that saw Yanukovych win the presidency and major victories at the polls. Manafort earned $60 million for his work in Ukraine, and was convicted last year of financial fraud after hiding the money overseas to avoid paying US taxes. Some of the money came from Akhmetov through wire transfers between hidden bank accounts in Cyprus, Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates testified in court.»
Obviously, by participating in a political Forum on September 25, 2015 at the U.S. Capitol, Rinat Akhmetov tried to promote his political interest in the United States. Representatives of Rinat Akhmetov colluded with the organizers of the Forum and paid a bribe to make a presentation of the Renat Akhmetov Foundation to American politicians.
By taking part in the Forum, Rinat Akhmetov tried to present himself as a “pro-Ukrainian” figure and gain respect among American politicians. Reputation is very important for billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, because after working with pro-Russian forces, the business of Rinat Akhmetov was threatened. It is not excluded that Rinat Akhmetov was looking for an opportunity in the United States to realize the «peace plan between Ukraine and Russia». The major businesses of Rinat Akhmetov, which bring him profit, are located in Eastern Ukraine, which is occupied by pro-Russian militants.
As of September 25, 2015, American law enforcement agencies had information that oligarch Rinat Akhmetov was associated with pro-Russian forces, the former pro-Russian president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych, and the criminal world. However, the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation was allowed to speak in the U.S. Capitol on September 25, 2015.
I ask you to investigate this case, establish how the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation paid for participating in the Forum in the U.S. Capitol on September 25, 2015, to interrogate the organizers and participants of the Forum, to investigate the possible fact of collusion of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation with American and Ukrainian officials.
I am ready to testify and provide videos. You can count on my cooperation.
Sincerely, Rostyslav Shaposhnikov.