Clintons and the Kazakh uranium business

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.

At the time, both Rosatom and the United States government made promises intended to ease concerns about ceding control of the company’s assets to the Russians. Those promises have been repeatedly broken, records show.

Hmm, well, yes, but…

The path to a Russian acquisition of American uranium deposits began in 2005 in Kazakhstan, where the Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra orchestrated his first big uranium deal, with Mr. Clinton at his side.

The two men had flown aboard Mr. Giustra’s private jet to Almaty, Kazakhstan, where they dined with the authoritarian president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev. Mr. Clinton handed the Kazakh president a propaganda coup when he expressed support for Mr. Nazarbayev’s bid to head an international elections monitoring group, undercutting American foreign policy and criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, his wife, then a senator.

Within days of the visit, Mr. Giustra’s fledgling company, UrAsia Energy Ltd., signed a preliminary deal giving it stakes in three uranium mines controlled by the state-run uranium agency Kazatomprom.

The Kazakh uranium business is such a hotbed of bribery and corruption that it astonishes even me. Won’t go into details about who we did this for but we once organised a $50k bribe concerning that country and that business. That was the fee to get an interview with the Prime Minister to make a case for whatever if was. note that I don’t say the fee went to the PM, but that is what the fee was for just the one meeting.

The point here being not that the Clintons, or anyone else, have done anything specifically wrong here. It’s just that this industry in this place and time: wouldn’t trust anyone at all who had anything to do with it.

25 comments on “Clintons and the Kazakh uranium business

  1. Seems Clinton W took Kazak as a dual purpose visit. Also fact finding tour to research best practices in government

  2. Americans have a naive belief that the rest of the world should operate as cleanly as American business. That much of the world is corrupt will do the Clintons no good, as they will be judged by American standards.

    If they are judged. The jury has yet to be convened.

  3. That much of the world is corrupt will do the Clintons no good, as they will be judged by American standards.

    On the contrary, I think the Kazakhs will now be dismayed that they’ll be henceforth judged on Clintonian standards.

  4. Do you ever wonder which secret services (or multinational corporations – same difference) are keeping tabs on you? And which ones might want to off you for knowing inconvenient facts?

  5. Sorry, are the Clintons being accused of paying bribes or receiving them? If the former, well, agreed, meh. But it looks a lot more like the latter, in which case “But we were in a corrupt country at the time” counts for nothing.

  6. I seriously doubt anyone’s keeping tabs on me. Although obviously I’ve met a few over the years.

  7. And which ones might want to off you for knowing inconvenient facts?

    The reason Tim is likely quite safe is that these inconvenient facts are normally common knowledge in places like Kazakhstan and Russia. Dodgy deals are hardly done on the QT over there, where the beneficiaries drive around in bright yellow Hummers. It is shameless. A bit like Hillary, in fact.

  8. This is just what the new Global Class do, isn’t it? The details don’t really matter. Political influence is a highly marketable commodity.

  9. BiG>

    Outside spy fiction, ‘offing’ people doesn’t really happen much for the simple reason that it’s waving a great big red flag over something that is intended to be kept quiet. Not only that, but it provides great credibility to any accusations that may have already been made by whoever was murdered but not emerged prior to the killing.

    Look at the David Kelly case for an example of how a death can focus a great deal of attention where it would otherwise have rapidly faded away. (Not that I’m suggesting Kelly was murdered, obviously. But it demonstrates what a poor way of covering something up it would be.)

    Another good example is the Litvinenko poisoning. His allegations are now widely seen as very likely to have provoked the murder by being true, where otherwise he’d be just one more person no-one had heard of alleging corruption in Russia. Of course it also demonstrates that murders do sometimes happen for such reasons despite the fact that it plainly doesn’t work. But they’re much rarer than they would be if it did work.

  10. Not surprisingly, the Clinton Foundation has been deemed a “slush fund” for the Clintons.

    “The group spent the bulk of its windfall on administration, travel, and salaries and bonuses, with the fattest payouts going to family friends.”

  11. The Clintons would NEVER be involved in political murders. Its just that a lot of inconvenient people commit suicide or are shot by mysterious assailants or sometimes get caught up in robbery murders where the “robbers” haven’t quite got the hang of the robbing bit and leave shitloads of cash behind. But not political murders–never that.

  12. @Dave

    ‘Outside spy fiction, ‘offing’ people doesn’t really happen much for the simple reason that it’s waving a great big red flag over something that is intended to be kept quiet.’

    Ask Alexander Litvinenko. Or google Russia+politics+suspicious deaths

  13. If this influence pedalling was about iron ore in Mexico no one would raise an eyebrow.

    Mines are mines, so to all intents and purposes the fruits of iron or uranium are identically at risk, from sanctions, war or confiscation.

    But you need a tin ear to ignore the political fall out from this. Our bombs owned by Asian despots? WTF?

    I don’t think Bill has a tin ear, but I conclude he hates his wife quite a lot.

  14. I have no idea if Kelly was murdered, if anything I suspect not, but I do know that if he was about to start gobbing off about something then no matter what attention his death brought – attention that could easily and probably rightly be derided as Ickeian nonsense – he ain’t gobbing off about it now.

    Who knows. Here I don’t think it happens. Elsewhere I think it does. Ironman will say that’s racist, probably.

  15. Litvinenko was a special case. Putin actually wanted to get caught so as to strike fear in his enemies in Londongrad.

    I think he’s watched too many james Bond movies but has an allergy to the hair of white cats.

  16. Inty>

    “Ask Alexander Litvinenko.”

    You did notice that I specifically mentioned that case, right?

    My point, as I said fairly clearly, I thought, was not that it doesn’t happen but that it doesn’t happen a lot because it’s generally unnecessary and/or counterproductive.

    As for Kelly, you seem to have missed the fact that he died after ‘gobbing off’ as you so charmingly put it. There’d been some furore, but that would have faded away much more rapidly if he hadn’t died.

  17. @Davey

    Yep – I did, you just drew the wrong conclusions.

    re Kelly, who knows what else he might have said (goes the theory).

    You’re just wrong to say this rarely happens outside spy fiction, that’s all. The fact is it happens a lot in some parts of the world, not much in ours (as far as we know).

  18. This is the next Bond film surely? Bond gets sent to Turkazikhbekstan to investigate the suspicious death of a British metals trader over a bribe, the details of which were hacked and leaked from the depths of his laptop by the Russians/North Koreans/ISIS. Throw in the usual exotic ladies in many stages of undress, car chases, and nailbiting showdown with Mr Uranium (codename Little Boy) in a former-Soviet petrodictatorship and I claim my million pounds for the idea.

  19. And it has to involve switched cups of tea in a sushi restaurant in the capital of Turkazibekhstan as well.

  20. And being chased by machine-gun-wielding Turkazibekh special forces down a ski slope. Or have they done that already?

  21. I suspect we’re only half way through the tale. Do the Russians sell American uranium to an overtly aggressive power, favoured by the exSec’s boss, which unleashes mushroom clouds over a contested landscape with a nuclear winter to follow, blocking all sunlight from solar panels, all oil from Suez and the Straits of Hormuz; but the Clinton Foundation survives because they bought all the US fracked wells, bankrupted by the earlier oilglut created by the Saudis? Or am I getting carried away?

  22. Inty>

    Perhaps we differ on how we’re defining ‘rare’. I was setting the bar at a point above a level where Tim needs to worry about what he might know and who might want to kill him for it – which I think you’d agree is justified.

    The simple fact is that most crims and government agencies aren’t stupid, so they go with the simplest solution. Usually it’s just to ignore someone because everyone else will. If that’s not enough, there are many options to discredit someone or otherwise silence them – e.g. buy them off – short of killing them.

  23. BiG: may I add Kafka and Men in Black as well? The Clintons are the cockcroaches which will survive.

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