(1.2.2019) An investigation by Mediapart sheds dramatic new light on the affair involving Alexandre Benalla, who was a security aide to President Emmanuel Macron until he was sacked when video footage emerged showing that he had used violence against protestors at a demonstration. In particular recordings of Benalla talking to the former head of security for the ruling LREM party, Vincent Crase, who also lost his job over the scandal, reveal details about a secret meeting that breached a judicial control order, about a security contract with a Russian oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, and Benalla’s ongoing communications with President Macron. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.
Press freedom advocates have criticized the government of French President Emmanuel Macron for attempting a warrantless search of an investigative news outlet days after it published material potentially damaging to Macron.
Representatives of the Paris prosecutor, along with police officers, arrived Monday morning at the headquarters of Mediapart alleging that the news organization’s reporting had violated the privacy of a former Macron aide.
There is a global struggle taking place of enormous consequence. Nothing less than the future of the planet – economically, socially and environmentally – is at stake.
At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when the world’s top 1% now owns more wealth than the bottom 99%, we are seeing the rise of a new authoritarian axis.
While these regimes may differ in some respects, they share key attributes: hostility toward democratic norms, antagonism toward a free press, intolerance toward ethnic and religious minorities, and a belief that government should benefit their own selfish financial interests. These leaders are also deeply connected to a network of multi-billionaire oligarchs who see the world as their economic plaything.
(1.9.2018) The timeline sketched out by Mr. Ohr shows contacts stretching back to when Mr. Ohr first met Mr. Steele in 2007. It also shows what officials said was the first date on which the two discussed cultivating Mr. Deripaska: a meeting in Washington on Nov. 21, 2014, roughly seven months before Mr. Trump announced that he was running for president. (…)
Mr. Steele served as an intermediary between the Americans and the Russian oligarchs they were seeking to cultivate. He had first met Mr. Ohr years earlier while still serving at MI6, Britain’s foreign spy agency, where he oversaw Russia operations.
(30.8.2018) To believe most media descriptions of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr, he is a nonentity, unworthy of the attention President Trump has given him. This is remarkable, given that Mr. Ohr spent Tuesday confirming for Congress its worst suspicions about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s abuse of its surveillance and sourcing rules.
(12.8.2018) The communications raise further questions about Steele’s objectivity as an intelligence source, and about Ohr’s motives for maintaining contact with a foreign ex-spy about a Russian billionaire, despite being assigned to a wholly unrelated line of work at the DOJ. Congressional investigators expect Ohr to appear for a closed-door interview on Aug. 28.
(8.8.2018) Emails in 2016 between former British spy Christopher Steele and Justice Department official Bruce Ohr suggest Steele was deeply concerned about the legal status of a Putin-linked Russian oligarch, and at times seemed to be advocating on the oligarch’s behalf, in the same time period Steele worked on collecting the Russia-related allegations against Donald Trump that came to be known as the Trump dossier. The emails show Steele and Ohr were in frequent contact, that they intermingled talk about Steele’s research and the oligarch’s affairs, and that Glenn Simpson, head of the dirt-digging group Fusion GPS that hired Steele to compile the dossier, was also part of the ongoing conversation.
(1.9.2018) Bruce Ohr, a Department of Justice official who has become a frequent target of Trump’s ire at the ongoing investigation into his links to Russia and whether they helped influence the election, and Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence operative who compiled a dossier of reporting on Russian influence on Trump, were both involved in the effort, the New York Times reported.
– FBI and the United States Justice reportedly tried to flip Russian oligarch, Oleg V. Deripaska but he told them they had their story wrong
– Sources say in September 2016 Deripaska labeled investigators‘ claims about Paul Manafort’s links to Russian government as ‚preposterous‘
– However the New York Times reports the investigation involving Deripaska began before Donald Trump announced he was going for the presidency
– Justice Department official, Bruce G. Ohr worked with former British spy Christopher Steele to get six rich Russians to talk
– Trump has used leaked documents as evidence they were plotting against him to form a dossier in the Robert Mueller-led investigation and called Ohr ‚a joke‘
In the short run, this may not change much. Manafort is scheduled to begin another trial in September on matters hitting rather close to home — the White House — for Trump. Whereas the judge in Virginia essentially barred any mention of Russia or the Trump campaign, Manafort’s attachments and work for Russian-connected Ukranian oligarchs will be front and center in the next trial.
Mention Russian oligarch and too frequently, the mental associations are with obscenely extravagant lifestyles, offshore accounts, trophy purchases of prestigious Western assets and cozy relationships with the Kremlin.
What if there is another perspective? That these are some of the smartest people on the planet, people with deep intellectual property in science who merely rode the opportunities thrown up by Mikhail Gorbachev’s economic liberalisation of a Stalinist state?
Mr Tommy Helsby, chairman of investigations and disputes at Kroll, has that view. He should know. Several of them use Kroll, a premier investigation and risk management company, in their business.