Trump-Russia probe, indictments touch Cyprus

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By Stelios Orphanides

George Papadopoulos, one of Donald Trump’s campaign advisers during last year’s presidential campaign, who has pleaded guilty to charges of lying to the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is not an adviser to President Nicos Anastasiades, contrary to what he claims, a source said on Monday.

Papadopoulos has a reference in his Linked-in profile where he claims to be “currently a member of the International Presidential Business Advisory Council (IPBAC)”. Several government sources interviewed by the Cyprus Business Mail on Monday denied that Papadopoulos ever advised or even met Anastasiades, claims which are corroborated by the secretary of IPBAC, John Georgoulas.

“We don’t even know him, we never met and there has never been any contact,” Georgoulas said.

George Papadopoulos Linked-in picture

The only exception, he continued, was when international media which read the reference to IPBAC in Papadopoulos’s Linked-in profile and subsequently contacted its secretary to inquire about council’s relation to Papadopoulos. According to press reports, Papadopoulos proposed that Trump should seek to establish contact to the “Russian leadership, including Putin” as early as in March 2016.

“I then sent him a message via Linked-in requesting that he removed the reference to the council,” Georgoulas said, a request that Papadopoulos apparently ignored.

According to Georgoulas, the council was established on the initiative of Cypriot businessman Efthymios Paraskevaides right after the 2013 crisis to advise the president on economy and business-related matters and not geopolitics. All its members, he said, are all non-Cypriots, “in order to avoid bias”.

Background information about Papadopoulos, is conflicting. Cypriot media introduced him last year as a Cypriot American advising Trump. In an interview with Phileleftheros published days after the November US presidential elections -and apparently given as early as early last year- Papadopoulos was introduced as a Greek American with his family hailing from Thesaloniki.

The Russia collusion story has also touched Cyprus in other ways, where a number of companies linked to Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who turned himself in to the FBI on Monday, were headquartered.

Manafort, who resigned from the Trump campaign in August 2016 after it emerged that he failed to disclose previous work for Ukraine’s toppled ex-president Viktor Yanukovych, became early on a target of the FBI’s investigation into probable ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The FBI raided his home in July as part of the probe.

Manafort and his aide Rick Gates, both arraigned at a federal court in Washington DC, are facing 12 charges including money laundering charges and acting as unregistered foreign agents. They both pleaded not-guilty and were placed under house arrest.

Federal agents arrive with former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (back seat) in custody on charges related to special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, at the federal courthouse in Washington, U.S., October 30, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Paul Manafort in the back seat

Robert Mueller, the former head of FBI who was appointed head of the investigation, said that Papadopoulos had lied about the timing of the contact he had with an unspecified foreign professor in London who also claimed to have damaging information on Trump’s opponent Hillary Clinton.

In August, a Bank of Cyprus source said that Manafort maintained no accounts with the bank. While he maintained accounts with Cyprus Popular Bank, the operations of which Bank of Cyprus absorbed in March 2013, most of those accounts had been closed by 2012. Bank of Cyprus had inherited three accounts associated to Manafort.

Those three accounts “were flagged and reported to (Law Office’s anti-money laundering squad) Mokas before they were ultimately terminated because of suspicious activity” already in 2014, a year before Trump had announced his intention to run for president, the Bank of Cyprus source said.

In June last year, Manafort and Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Russian lawyer Natalya Veselnitskaya, who also worked for Prevezon Holdings, a Cyprus-based company implicated in the Magnitsky case, participated in a meeting in Trump Tower in New York. Emails show that Trump Jr agreed to host the meeting after an acquaintance promised to also provide damaging information on Clinton.

 

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]

  • AnalogMind

    Muller’s probe so far has empty nets. What special prosecutors do, in order to justify the sizeable money spent from the public purse, they go for the low hanging fruit in order to get to someone higher in the food chain.

    The saying is that if you going to commit a crime in America you better commit it with someone higher than you so that you have something to trade with.

    So far the special prosecutor seems to have nothing. So what the special prosecutors do in such cases – it would be the equivalent of extortion in private life – they totally intimidate some key witnesses by telling them that the case against them is so overwhelming and the only way out is for them to give something, anything, they know on bigger fish. So this leads to other intimidations inching ever closer to the main target.

    Manafort and Gates already pleaded innocent (so the pressure just only begins for them) and Papadopoulos is really a very small fish. The fact that Papadopoulos ( a guy so low in the totem pole)is cooperating and perhaps used a wire to incriminate others means that Muller has a very weak case.

    So far I am very underwhelmed by Muller’s performance.

    So enjoy the gossip show because neither Trump nor Muller will let go until the very end of the line. And then what? You can not indict an acting president and to impeach you need control of both houses by the Democrats. This is just a grand show because Muller is under pressure to produce results; any results.

    • jobanana

      Meanwhile the real criminals, the Clintons, go unpunished.

      • Roc.

        its all BS Trump or Clintons all are no good, about time the USA been exposed

      • HighTide

        List their ‘crimes’.

        • jobanana

          Where to even begin? Whitewater?, rape, bribery, Benghazi, pay-for-play ties between Hillary Clinton, her political allies and Russian officials, how about the fact that a $500,000 check that a Kremlin-linked bank provided Bill Clinton for a single speech in the summer of 2010″ which “came just weeks” after Hillary helped put together a trip of high-level U.S. tech executives to help Vladimir Putin build his own mini-version of Silicon Valley. The Clintons are gangsters on the highest level.

          • HighTide

            This is a list of gossip and innuendo. Nothing points to crime. If there was, it would have been taken up. Alas, it’s just throwing dirt from the opposite political direction.

    • Robtaaffe

      What a load of crap, Muller will disclose his evidence as and when ready

    • Muffin the Mule

      If a wire was used, there will be shitting of bricks.

    • HighTide

      Tax evasion is enough in the States to end up in the slammer for 20 years.

      • AnalogMind

        Tax evasion is for the IRS (Internal Revenue Service). If you use a special prosecutor (a very expensive process) to catch a couple of tax evaders means that you are not getting your monies worth. The aim of the special probe is to discover if Russian special influence played a role in the US elections and not to catch Tom, Dick and Harry about their alleged use of tax heavens.

        • HighTide

          Firstly, why a special prosecutor should be ‘very expensive’ must be your secret. Secondly, this is not about Joe Blow but about a Trump confidante. Thirdly, when a 78 year old gets threatened with 20 years in pink suit, he may well spill some other goodies in return for leniency. You think too one dimensional. Why am I not surprised?

          • AnalogMind

            It’s expensive because a special prosecutor is given unlimited discretion to pursue multiple approaches for quick results. Just research it.

          • HighTide

            No need. I am sure you have the numbers and let us know.

          • AnalogMind

            It’s a lot of money especially during a period when federal budgets are debated and the hurricane damage is approaching 100 Bil.

          • HighTide

            Don’t waffle. How much money?

          • AnalogMind

            A lot and each day that passes it gets higher.

          • HighTide

            LOL! You just don’t know, as usual.

          • AnalogMind

            You live in an Internet age so please learn how to research and find out.

          • HighTide

            Your preferred tactic to deviate when caught with ignorance. You claim high costs but don’t know the figure. Poor show.

          • AnalogMind

            Type “cost of Mueller’s probe”.

          • HighTide

            Since you must have the cost figure, let’s have it.

          • AnalogMind

            Send me 1000 euros and I will reveal. Stop freeloading on me and what I know.

          • HighTide

            Your attempt to wriggle out of this does not work. You have been caught wrong footed once again.
            Remember when you posted the daily exploration cost at 400 million, when it is 40.000. You and math just don’t get on.

          • AnalogMind

            I thought your true task was to go to the UN website, under Cyprus, and confirm the fact that Cyprus has declared already its entire EEZ plus the coordinates involved.

          • HighTide

            Another deviation. Bad try. Read what I have already posted on this.

          • AnalogMind

            Again, please type “Day Rates and Lifelines of Offshore drilling companies” and you will see the daily rate at $400000. And since a typical platform does exploration work for 90-100 days please multiply.

          • HighTide

            You are coming down from 400 million to 400.000, the learning curve started. The daily cost of a rig is 40.000, however. No need to carry on with your attempt to hide your ignorance, using Google for brains.

          • AnalogMind

            A normal 18 wheeler truck costs about $3000 a day in fuel + driver costs. And an inefficient, non-aerodynamic monstrosity which has to be towed costs only $40000 a day? That’s the cost of a luxury yacht and that’s cheap for a true yacht.

          • HighTide

            You are confusing this with production rigs. In Cyprus, exploration rigs are used.

          • AnalogMind

            We will see how much it will cost TPAO to operate the Korean platform you just bought for drills in the Med as of the upcoming December. At first glance, $40000 a day is not enough for fuel costs plus junk food for the crews.

  • Evergreen

    This beautiful island has many such secrets . Its unfortunate ,

  • DAC8553

    This article says that somebody (we do not know who) says that Anastasiadis is connected to this Papado(polis)poulos, but this is not true. As well we may be guilty because another American related to Trump and accused of corruption had in the past accounts with Bank of Cyprus. !!!
    Be serious and cut the bull and horse.

    • Peter G

      Not Bank of Cyprus, at all. Read the article again: It was the defunct Popular Bank of Cyprus (Laiki), that was rightfully put out of existence, and whose accounts (active or inactive) were foisted upon BoC after its dissolution.

    • Peter G

      From a related Cyprus Business Mail article:

      “In August, a Bank of Cyprus source said that companies linked to Manafort
      maintained accounts at defunct Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as
      Laiki. The latter, the source said, closed in
      2012 most of the accounts as Manafort declined to comply with
      anti-money laundering requirements. Three remaining accounts inherited
      by Bank of Cyprus which absorbed Laiki’s operations in March 2013, were
      shut in 2014, well before Trump announced his candidacy.”

  • Bob Ellis

    Seems strange that no one is asking questions about Wilbur Ross, independent business investor , then vice chairman of BoC as Trump starts his campaingn and now US Secretary of Commerce.

  • Alexander Reuterswärd

    Cyprus involved in money laundering, what a joke. Everyone knows Cyprus never had a single case of money laundering and the government should surely demand compensation from news sources and the USA for spreading fake news.

    • SuzieQ

      Excellent!

  • Bystander

    JFC. Now Putin’s words to Prez Nik with regard to “law enforcement cooperation” got their meaning.