Helping pals of Hillary Clinton engage in tax evasion is barely the tip of the iceberg however: the Panama Papers also show that Mossack Fonseca worked with business interests associated with Bill Clinton to give Russia access to American uranium. This isn't surprising at all, given Hillary's own ties to individuals who lobbied on behalf of the Russians:
“Several key figures in the uranium deal that sent 20 percent of American uranium production into the hands of the Russian government had offshore entities created by Mossack Fonseca. Frank Giustra used the firm to create UrAsia Energy, the company that acquired lucrative uranium concessions in Kazakhstan with the help of Bill Clinton back in 2005. UrAsia Energy eventually became Uranium One, which acquired uranium assets in the United States and then was sold to the Russian State Nuclear Agency (ROSATOM) in 2010.
Because of the obvious national security implications of turning over control of large quantities of uranium to the Russian government, the deal required approval from Hillary Clinton’s State Department before it could go forward. Nine shareholders in Uranium One sent a combined $145 million to the Clinton Foundation. Some of those contributions were not disclosed by the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One Chairman Ian Telfer sent the Clinton Foundation more than $2 million. Those contributions were revealed first in Clinton Cash and discovered using Canadian tax records.
Sergei Kurzin, a Russian mining investor who was also involved in the Uranium One deal, also used Mossack Fonseca. Kurzin’s name appears on several oil companies set up by the firm. Kurzin says he donated $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
Mossack Fonseca helped Nigeria’s Ronald Chagoury set up a firm called Echo Art Ltd. which was domiciled in the British Virgin Islands.”
This news will undoubtedly be rich fodder for Bernie Sanders, who is trying to paint Hillary as a tool of wealthy elites:
“The Clintons themselves do not appear to be in Mossack Fonseca’s database, nor does it appear that their daughter, Chelsea, or her husband, Marc Mezvinsky, who co-founded a hedge fund, are listed. But Bill and Hillary Clinton’s connections to people who have used offshores is fuel for her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders.
Clinton has struggled throughout her campaign to show that she can relate to working Americans, while Sanders has cast her as a wealthy out-of-touch Washington insider who has accepted hefty paychecks for speeches and received millions of dollars in campaign contributions from those tied to big businesses. Her connection to the Panama Papers, even if indirect, could magnify that perception.
Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion in New York, said it would draw voters’ attention once again to Clinton’s ties to big money. ‘It certainly would play into Sanders’ narrative,' he said.
Sanders said Clinton’s support of a free-trade agreement between the U.S. and Panama – one that he claims has allowed the wealthy to avoid paying taxes – should disqualify her from being the Democratic nominee for president.
‘I don’t think you are qualified if you supported the Panama free trade agreement, something I very strongly opposed, which has made it easier for wealthy people and corporations all over the world to avoid paying taxes owed to their countries,' Sanders said recently.
To be sure, a long life in politics has allowed the Clintons to accumulate relationships to wealthy people and businesses across the globe.
One such connection is to Jean-Raymond Boulle, a one-time diamond miner from the volcanic island nation of Mauritius whose company was once based in Bill Clinton’s hometown of Hope, Ark. In the mid 1990s, Boulle was listed as a director of Auk Limited, a British Virgin Islands offshore company, and Gridco Limited, a Bahamas offshore company.
After two meetings with Boulle, Bill Clinton, then-governor of Arkansas, signed legislation allowing his company to engage in exploratory mining in the state. Later, Boulle and his wife attended Clinton’s first inauguration. Boulle’s company did not respond to a message.
‘Obviously there’s no wrongdoing – it’s a question of perception and values,' said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. ‘They’ve been in public life so long; when you enter that sphere you have these connections.'
Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon declined to answer specific questions about her connections but referred to Clinton’s earlier comments that criticized the behavior last week. Bill Clinton’s office and the Clinton Foundation declined to comment.
Also among the Clinton connections is Fialkoff, now a senior adviser to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and director of the city’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. She, her brother, Brett, and her late father, Frank, are listed as shareholders of UPAC Holdings Ltd, a British Virgin Islands offshore company incorporated in June 2012.
Gabrielle Fialkoff said in an email that she has ‘no knowledge' of the company and referred questions to her brother.
Brett Fialkoff, who serves as chief operating officer at his family’s business, Haskell Jewels, a New York-based designer, marketer and distributor of costume jewelry, initially told McClatchy he didn’t know why his family would be in the documents. Later, he said that someone must have opened an account in their names.
Still, later, he said he set up an offshore company to export accessories from China to the United States. The documents indicate the company’s files are registered in Beijing.
But, he said, he abandoned the new business to give more attention to his family’s jewelry company. He said there’s no money in any bank account overseas and declined to provide details about his compliance with U.S. tax laws.
‘I have news for you: There is no money,' he said in a phone interview. ‘We’re not like Vladimir Putin, trying to hide money.'
The most recent Mossack Fonseca information of December 2015 shows the company remains active, registered on behalf of the Fialkoffs in the British Virgin Islands by a Hong Kong-based consulting company on June 6, 2012. Brett Failkoff acknowledged the company is still ‘legally alive' but said it does not – nor has it ever – conducted any business.
Gabrielle Fialkoff, a longtime friend of de Blasio, was finance director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, which de Blasio managed. After serving as Haskell’s president and chief operating officer, she chaired de Blasio’s inauguration and led New York’s unsuccessful bid to host the Democratic National Convention in 2016.”