December 29, 2017


A Putin-Friendly Oligarch's Top US Executive Donated $285,000 to Trump : The head of Viktor Vekselberg's American subsidiary helped finance Trump's inauguration. (DAVID CORN AND DAN FRIEDMANAUG. 17, 2017, Mother Jones)

Earlier this year, as Donald Trump, then the president-elect, was trying to counter news reports that Russia had hacked the 2016 election to help him win, the head of the American subsidiary of a Russian conglomerate owned by a Russian oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir Putin made a huge donation to Trump.

On January 6--the day the US intelligence community reported that Putin had approved a covert operation to subvert the presidential campaign to assist Trump--Andrew Intrater donated $250,000 to Trump's inauguration fund.

Intrater is the CEO of Columbus Nova, the lone American subsidiary of Renova Group, a giant holding company owned by oligarch Viktor Vekselberg with interests in the metals, mining, chemical, construction, transport, energy, telecommunication, and financial sectors in Russia and abroad. Intrater, an American citizen, is Vekselberg's cousin, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In June, Intrater also made a $35,000 contribution to a joint fundraising committee for Trump's reelection and the Republican National Committee.

Intrater has no public history as a major political funder; his Trump donations dwarf his previous contributions. According to Federal Election Commission records, his only past political donations were $2,600 in 2014 to a business associate running as a Republican for Congress, $1,200 to Democratic New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson's 2008 presidential campaign, and $250 to the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1995. Intrater's hefty gift to the inauguration fund earned him special access to inaugural events, including a dinner billed as "an intimate policy discussion with select cabinet appointees," according to a fundraising brochure obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

Vekselberg is one of Russia's richest men. Bloomberg recently estimated his net worth at $15.5 billion. The same month that Intrater pumped that quarter of a million dollars into Trump's inauguration bank account, Vekselberg publicly expressed hope for the lifting this year of the tough US and European economic sanctions imposed on Russia after it annexed Crimea and supported pro-Russian separatists fighting in Ukraine.

This is the deal the investigation thwarted.

Posted by at December 29, 2017 4:38 PM