Panama Papers Name Client of Podesta Group, a Lobbying Firm With Ties to the Clintons
7 April, 2016
No high-profile Americans have been implicated in the Panama Papers, but various sources are reporting a Clinton connection to the leaked documents.
The Washington Free Beacon and Observer reports that one of the companies listed in the Panama Papers is Sberbank, Russia’s biggest bank, with ties to Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.
At the end of March, the Podesta Group registered with the U.S. government to lobby for the U.S. subsidiary of Sberbank, Politico reported.
The CEO of the Podesta Group is Tony Podesta, who founded the firm in 1987 with his brother, John, the former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and a former counselor to President Barack Obama.
Tony Podesta is a super fundraiser, or bundler, for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, and John Podesta is the chairman of her 2016 campaign.
Sberbank (Savings Bank in Russian) engaged the Podesta Group to help its public image—leading Moscow financial institutions not exactly being known for their propriety and wholesomeness—and specifically to help lift some of the pain of sanctions placed on Russia in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s aggression against Ukraine, which has caused real pain to the country’s hard-hit financial sector.
It’s hardly surprising that Sberbank sought the help of Democratic insiders like the Podesta Group to aid them in this difficult hour, since they clearly understand how American politics work. The question is why the Podesta Group took Sberbank’s money. That financial institution isn’t exactly hiding in the shadows—it’s the biggest bank in Russia, and its reputation leaves a lot to be desired. Nobody acquainted with Russian finance was surprised that Sberbank wound up in the Panama Papers.
One of the most striking aspects of the Panama Papers—besides the sheer scope of the leaked documents—is that Western elites have avoided scrutiny. Silence may no longer be an option for the Podesta brothers and the Clinton camp.
—Posted by Eric Ortiz