New Jersey businessman Boris Rubizhevksky, 67, was sentenced to a year and one day in prison after being found guilty of money laundering in connection to his role in arranging corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation. According to a Justice Department release, Rubizhevsky was also ordered to forfeit $26,500. Rubizhevsky pleaded guilty on June 15, 2015.
Because Rubizhevsky’s sentencing occurred such an unusually long time after his guilty plea, there is speculation that he may be cooperating with the FBI to finger others who may be involved. Media speculation and Congressional queries have raised concerns over the role Hillary Clinton may have played in the sale of Uranium One -- a Canadian uranium mining concern to Rosatom of Russia. Uranium One owned significant uranium interests in the United States, thus necessitating approval by a committee headed by Clinton and other federal department heads.
According to court documents, Rubizhevsky acted as an intermediary in connection with corrupt payments to co-conspirator Vadim Mikerin, a Russian who is the former director of the Pan American Department of JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide.
Between October 2011 and February 2013, Rubizhevsky and Mikerin agreed to conceal corrupt payments being made from the United States to Mikerin’s overseas bank accounts. Rubizhevsky admitted that the conspirators used sham consulting agreements to disguise the corrupt payments. Mikerin previously admitted that he conspired with Rubizhevsky and others to transmit more than $2 million from the United States to offshore shell company bank accounts located in Cyprus, Latvia and Switzerland while violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mikerin pleaded guilty to money laundering conspiracy in August 2015, and was sentenced in December 2015 to 48 months in prison for his role in the money laundering scheme.
The sentence was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco.
While Hillary Clinton served as Barack Obama’s secretary of state, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), on which she was represented, approved in 2010 the sale of the Canadian company Uranium One to Rosatom. Prior to that approval, the FBI was investigating people connected with the Rosatom. Besides Clinton, then-Attorney General Eric Holder, and then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner served on CFIUS. The committee is charged with examining the appropriateness and then approve or disapprove transactions that have the potential of affecting the national security of the United States. In sentencing Rubizhevsky, the federal government has proved the deal involved “multiple bribery and kickback schemes.”
Fifteen months before the 13 members of CFIUS approved the sale of Uranium One -- which owned significant uranium interests in the U.S. -- to Rosatom, the FBI began investigating persons who were connected to the Russian state corporation. The FBI said in court documents that investigators found enough evidence to prove that Rosatom-connected officials were engaged in a global bribery scheme that included kickbacks and money laundering. FBI officials have been quoted as saying that the investigation could have prevented the sale of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium supply.
Other agencies, such as the State Department, Department of Energy, and the CIA conducted their own investigations while the FBI was conducting its probe. It is not clear what the results of those investigations were.
During a hearing this week by the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) if FBI and DOJ are investigating Clinton’s role in Uranium One. Sessions demurred, saying that he could not comment one way or another on “investigatory matters.”
At the time the FBI was investigating Uranium One and Rosatom, former president Bill Clinton cashed a $500,000 payment from Renaissance Capital -- a Russian bank -- for making a speech in Moscow in June 2010. Renaissance Capital then publicly promoted Uranium One’s stock. Hillary Clinton, through a proxy, later voted to approve the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom.