Holiday seasons with scandals galore are always a good time to push through new Executive Orders, that you don’t want to be caught up in weeks-long News Cycles. This ‘Trumptastic Holiday’ season was no exception.
The Trump administration on Wednesday notified Congress of its plans to lift sanctions on two Russian firms, including Rusal, the world’s second-largest aluminum producer.
The Treasury Department said that Rusal and EN+ Group, the company that holds Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska‘s stake in the Russian aluminum giant, and GAZ Group, a Russian automotive conglomerate, had made “significant restructuring and corporate governance changes” to allow them to meet the criteria to be delisted within the next 30 days.
It explicitly said Deripaska will remain on the sanctions list and his property would remain blocked as required under law.
www.cnn.com — Dec 19, 2018
Hmmm? Does delisting an Oligarch’s investments count as a “lifting Russian sanctions”?
What is the cut-off point for the “innocent Russian businesses”, who were merely “bankrolling” the Olie’s “activities” … on an occasional basis only?
The Treasury Department announced Wednesday that it would lift financial sanctions on Deripaska’s aluminum company, United Co. Rusal, as well as En+ Group plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo in 30 days, after Deripaska agreed to reduce his ownership stake in each of the companies to below 50 percent.
“These companies have committed to significantly diminish Deripaska’s ownership and sever his control. The companies will be subject to ongoing compliance and will face severe consequences if they fail to comply,” he continued [Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin].
The sanctions on Deripaska and his companies were imposed in April under a law passed by Congress to punish Russia for interfering in the 2016 presidential election, in addition to other malign activities.
The sanctions will be lifted in 30 days, according to Treasury, but Congress could still block the move.
thehill.com — Dec 19, 2018
So even in the world of cyber-warfare and cyber-punishment — Stockholder Rules rule.
If the Oligarch has less than 50% control of an operation, then that designated firm can go “Sanction Free” (starting Jan 19, 2019, or thereabout).
It’s a new Official Trump-Tradition.
So why in the midst of this Trump Festivus season has Trump chosen for his “Airing of Grievances” — the Secretary of Treasury, who just sent those very sly ‘50% gifts’ to his “strongman” pals overseas?
Another source told Bloomberg said that Mnuchin’s future at the helm of the Treasury Department depends on whether the market continues to drop.
Trump’s unhappiness with his Treasury chief was reported a day after Mnuchin released a statement seeking to reassure financial markets as stocks continued to plunge. Mnuchin’s statement came following reports that Trump was considering firing Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. […]
thehill.com — Dec 24, 2018
It looks like someone in Trumpworld has just written down their official “Naughty and Nice Lists,” for all the world to see. Be they asleep at the wheel, or not …
Treasury Targets Russian Operatives over Election Interference, World Anti-Doping Agency Hacking, and Other Malign Activities
Dec 19, 2018
Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action in response to Russia’s continued disregard for international norms. Specifically, OFAC designated a former officer of Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) for having acted on behalf of sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska (Deripaska). OFAC also issued new designations related to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), an entity previously sanctioned for its efforts to interfere in U.S. elections. Today’s action also includes the designation of 15 members of the GRU, a previously designated Russian military intelligence organization, for their involvement in a wide range of malign activity, including attempting to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, efforts to undermine international organizations through cyber-enabled means, and an assassination attempt in the United Kingdom. These 15 operatives are being sanctioned pursuant to the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). To date, this Administration has sanctioned 272 Russia-related individuals and entities for a broad range of malign activities.
Oleg Deripaska Related Designation
Victor Alekseyevich Boyarkin (Boyarkin) is a former GRU officer who reports directly to Deripaska and has led business negotiations on Deripaska’s behalf. Deripaska and Boyarkin were involved in providing Russian financial support to a Montenegrin political party ahead of Montenegro’s 2016 elections. […] Oleg Deripaska, who was previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13661 for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of a senior Russian government official, as well as pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the energy sector of the Russian Federation economy, as well as with entities 50 percent or more owned by designated persons.
Attempted Election Interference
Today, OFAC also designated several entities and individuals related to Project Lakhta, a broad Russian effort that includes the IRA, designated previously under E.O. 13694, as amended, which has sought to interfere in political and electoral systems worldwide. Since at least 2014, Project Lakhta has used among other things, fictitious online personas that posed as U.S. persons in an effort to interfere in U.S. elections, as the IRA did during the 2016 U.S. election. Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering — two entities owned by Yevgeniy Prigozhin (Prigozhin) — controlled Project Lakhta’s funding, recommended personnel, and oversaw Project Lakhta’s activities. Concord Management and Consulting LLC, Concord Catering, and Prigozhin were all previously designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, on March 15, 2018 for providing funding to the IRA’s operations. […]
Since 2014, Project Lakhta concealed its activities by operating through several entities to include the IRA, Nevskiy News LLC, Economy Today LLC, and the Federal News Agency LLC. As a result, Nevskiy News LLC, Economy Today LLC, and the Federal News Agency LLC were designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for being owned or controlled by or having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Concord Management and Consulting LLC and Concord Catering.
Within weeks after the designation of the IRA, the Federal News Agency LLC — an entity utilized by Project Lakhta to obscure its activities that was also designated today — announced that it was creating a new Russian-funded, English-language website called USA Really. USA Really, which is operated by Alexander Aleksandrovich Malkevich (Malkevich), engaged in efforts to post content focused on divisive political issues but is generally ridden with inaccuracies. In June 2018, USA Really attempted to hold a political rally in the United States, though its efforts were unsuccessful. As of June 2018, Malkevich was a member of Russia’s Civic Chamber commission on mass media, which serves in a consultative role to the Russian government. Based on this activity, USA Really was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for being owned or controlled by the Federal News Agency LLC, while Malkevich was designated pursuant to E.O. 13694, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, USA Really.
GRU Attempted Election Interference
Nine Russian GRU officers were designated today for their direct involvement in efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election by targeting election systems and political parties, as well as releasing stolen election-related documents. These nine individuals worked within Unit 26165 and Unit 74455 of the GRU. Unit 26165 engaged in cyber operations that involved the staged release of documents stolen through computer intrusions. Unit 74455 assisted in the release of stolen documents through various online personas, promoted those releases, and then aided in the publication of stolen content on social media accounts operated by the GRU. These nine GRU officers are subjects of an indictment announced on July 13, 2018.
Viktor Borisovich Netyksho (Netyksho) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity against any person, including a democratic institution or government, on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, and for acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the GRU. As of March 2016, Netyksho was in command of Unit 26165 of the GRU.
Boris Alekseyevich Antonov (Antonov) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Antonov was a Major assigned to Unit 26165 of the GRU and was responsible for supervising those who targeted the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.
Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov (Yermakov) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Yermakov was an officer assigned to Unit 26165 of the GRU. Between March and May 2016, Yermakov participated in the hacking of email accounts and servers associated with the 2016 U.S. election. Yermakov also played an integral role in compromising WADA’s database in 2016.
Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev (Lukashev) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Yermakov was a Senior Lieutenant within Unit 26165 of the GRU who sent spearphishing emails to campaign members associated with the 2016 U.S. election.
Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek (Kozachek) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Kozachek was a Lieutenant Captain assigned to Unit 26165 of the GRU. Kozachek also developed and monitored malware utilized by the GRU used to hack into networks associated with the 2016 U.S. election.
Artem Andreyevich Malyshev (Malyshev) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Malyshev was a Second Lieutenant within Unit 26165 of the GRU who monitored malware implanted by the GRU on networks associated with the 2016 U.S. election. Malyshev also played an integral role in compromising WADA’s database in 2016.
Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk (Osadchuk) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Osadchuk was the commanding officer of Unit 74455 of the GRU.
Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin (Potemkin) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Potemkin was an officer assigned to Unit 74455 of the GRU and supervised a department that was responsible for the administration of computer infrastructure used in the release of stolen documents online.
Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev (Kovalev) was designated pursuant to CAATSA Section 224 for knowingly engaging in significant activities undermining cybersecurity […] As of March 2016, Kovalev was an officer assigned to Unit 74455 of the GRU. By July 2016, Kovalev hacked the website of a state board of elections and stole voter information. By August 2016, Kovalev also hacked into computers of a U.S. company that supplied software used to verify voter registration information for the 2016 U.S. elections.
I can’t imagine that Donnie is thrilled about having to explain to Vladimir, exactly WHY his own Treasury Secretary has implemented these very targeted NEW Sanctions against those who carried out the 2016 Election Cyber-warfare operation.
Implemented by the power of E.O. no less — Donnie had better get that auto-pen back from that tricky ‘Mnuchin Munchkin’ — like Stat!
With that new “Naughty Sanction List” it’s almost like little Donald himself is condoning the conclusions of his own Intel Agencies, and even the conclusions of that Special Counsel Mueller — instead of coyly buying-into Vladimir’s very strong denials. It’s sort of like Trump has said nyet! to what Putin himself has strongly denied at least 3 times!
That can’t be good, for their secret cyber-conspiracy pact.
Trump is playing with Krompromat Fire — assuming that is, he even knows what his own Cabinet is doing on
his the USA’s behalf. While Donnie was busy responding to the ransom notes of his own Talk Radio base, stuffed in his Xmas Eve stockings — with glee!
Only in Trumpworld, can such double-crossing confusion be deemed to be normal!
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.