NEW YORK – Emails released this week by Wikileaks indicate John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, laundered shares of stock he received from an energy company cited in the Panama Papers money-laundering probe that has received funding from the Russian government.
WND reported Oct. 6 Podesta had been paid an undisclosed amount for serving on the executive board of Joule Global Stichting, an appointment he neglected to report to regulatory authorities in the U.S.
He also has received consulting fees from the Wyss Foundation, a group controlled by Swiss billionaire Hansjoerg Wyss, an investor in Joule Energy, according to Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute in a report, “From Russia with Money: Hillary Clinton, the Russian Reset, and Cronyism.”
Joule Global Stichting and Joule Global Holdings figure prominently as a client of the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which is at the heart of the Panama Papers investigation into offshore money-laundering operations on a massive international scale.
WND reported Russian entities that funneled money to Joule and its related companies, and ultimately to Podesta, include Viktor Vekselberg, a controversial Russian billionaire investor with ties to Vladimir Putin and the Russian government.
Vekselberg owns the Renova Group, a multi-billion dollar private Moscow-based Russian conglomerate with interests in oil, energy and telecommunication held in Russia, Switzerland, Italy, South Africa and the United States.
Vekselberg is a board member of Rusnano, the Russian State Investment Fund, as well as president of the Skolkovo Foundation, named for Russia’s version of Silicon Valley.
Rusnano made a multi-million dollar investment in Joule Unlimited, a small Massachusetts-based energy company owned by Joule Global Holdings B.V. in the Netherlands and Joule Global Stichting, the ultimate controlling entity.
Podesta did not respond to a WND request for comment Thursday.
Email documents Podesta stock options
On Jan. 6, 2014, Mark Solakian, a senior vice president and general counsel with Joule Unlimited, emailed Podesta, confirming that Podesta had exercised 75,000 shares of 100,000 options in Joule Unlimited. Podesta had been issued the shares in 2011 in partial compensation for his work on the Joule board of directors.
Secondly, Solakian confirmed Podesta had transferred the resulting 75,000 common shares of Joule Unlimited to Leonidio LLC in a transaction that most likely would prevent the stock shares from showing up directly as an asset owned in any financial statement Podesta prepared.
Leonidio LLC is a private company listed in Salt Lake City, Utah, that was created on Dec. 5, 2010, with registered agent Sam Bournakis at 5835 Waterbury. A WND message left on the company’s telephone number went unanswered.
WND reached Bournakis by telephone in Salt Lake City, and he confirmed that 5835 Waterbury in Salt Lake City was his home apartment address. Bournakis denied knowing anything about John Podesta or Leonidio LLC, the company registered under his name.
Growing irritated by the phone call, Bournakis firmly denied he knew anything about the transfer of 75,000 shares of Joule Unlimited stock that Podesta made to Leonidio LLC.
Podesta’s Joule stock increases in value
In an email dated Nov. 13, 2015, Philip Caplan, a partner and co-founder of the Denver-based private equity firm Renova Capital Partners, informed John and Mary Podesta that Joule Unlimited was going to acquire Red Rock Biofuels. The email chain strongly suggested Podesta still had an interest in the Joule stock.
Caplan’s résumé reveals that before his involvement with Renova Capital Partners, he had a 17-year career in government and politics. It was capped by serving as the assistant to the president and staff secretary to President Bill Clinton, a position in which he reported to and had daily contact with Clinton.
Caplan did not return WND’s phone call inquiring whether the Renova Capital Partners in Denver was part of the Renova Group in Moscow and why he began the email chain to Podesta Nov. 13, 2015, informing Podesta of the Joule Unlimited acquisition of Red Rock Biofuels.
On Jan. 21, 2016, Biomass Magazine, in announcing the acquisition, reported Joule secured $40 million in private equity and venture debt financing to support the company’s growth towards commercialization. The transaction brought Joule’s total to above $200 million raised to date, including funds raised from the inception of Red Rock Biofuels, obviously increasing the value of Podesta’s stock.
In a third email chain, begun Nov. 23, 2011, Brandon Hurlbut, the chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Energy, emailed Podesta to let him know Energy Secretary Chu was planning to visit Joule Unlimited laboratories as part of “a comprehensive innovation agenda from [Research & Development] to commercialization that has the support of the White House, and the ability to be adopted by Congress.”
In a Nov. 29 email in the chain, Hurlbut also let Podesta know that he was meeting with more than a dozen U.S. senators on the innovation agenda to get “a sense of what is doable in 2012 if anything.”
Vekselberg moves funds to Clintons via his bank
WND has received documentation, much of it in Russian, from a trusted international banking source documenting the Russian government was laundering money to the Clinton Foundation through a regional Russian bank, Metcombank, located in the Sverdlovskava region in the Ural Mountains Federal District of Russia.
Metcombank is the bank Vekselberg is using to make clandestine transfers to the Clinton Foundation. The money goes through the Moscow branch of Metcombank via Deutsche Bank and Trust Company Americas in New York City, ending up in a private bank account in the Bank of America that is operated by the Clinton Foundation.
From Russian sources, WND has been able to document the final beneficiary of Metcombank is Vekselberg, who owns 99.978 percent of the bank via Renova Holding Ltd. and Renova Assets Ltd. Both are controlled by Vekselberg along with a chain of offshore companies from Cyprus, the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands – all of which figure prominently in the offshore banking money laundering operations documented in the Panama Papers.
Key decisions by Hillary Clinton
The alleged Russian money-laundering involving both Podesta and the Clinton Foundation appears to have occurred around two key decisions Secretary of State Clinton made in favor of Russia:
- The transfer of advanced U.S. technology to Russia, including both military technology and solar energy technology as part of Secretary Clinton’s “reset” program with Russia, in a move that greatly enhanced the Russian military’s capabilities, according to both the FBI and the U.S. army; and
- Secretary Clinton’s decision on the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States, CFIUS, to approve the Russian government energy agency Rosatum buying majority control of Uranium One, a company Bill Clinton promoted along with Clinton Foundation donor Frank Giustra in Canada, that resulted in the transfer of approximately 20 percent of all U.S. uranium production to Uranium One.
In the Oct. 6 article, WND provided more detailed information concerning Podesta’s involvement with Joule:
- In June and July 2011, while he was advising Clinton on State Department policy, he joined the boards of Joule Unlimited, Joule Global Holdings and Joule Global Stichting.
- The Government Accountability Institute report cited above noted Joule was a new company, founded in 2007, pioneering a technology based on harnessing solar energy. Podesta consulted for a foundation run by one of the investors in Joule Energy, Hansjoerg Wyss, who in turn was a major Clinton Foundation donor.
- The report documented the Wyss Foundation has given from $1 million to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation. Podesta was paid $87,000 by the Wyss Foundation in 2013, according to federal tax records.
John Podesta’s brother, Tony Podesta, runs the firm that got $180,000 from Uranium One, the Russian government’s uranium company for which Hillary Clinton approved the transfer of 20 percent of U.S. uranium.