Discussion: Unsealed Docs Shed Light On How Mystery Mueller Subpoena Fight Went Down

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Sheer speculation, but I wonder if the mystery entity might just be BTA Bank, 85% owned by the Government of Kazakhstan, made famous by Jordan and Meadows yesterday in the Cohen hearing.

Let’s see,

State-owned financial entity? Check.
Known for money-laundering? Check.
Ties to Russian oligarchs? Check.
Ties to people in the Trump orbit? Check.


Has a U.S. corporate entity?


Not likely. The company is wholly owned by a foreign government, meaning that government has 100% control of the company with no minority shareholders.


“Nothing about the option is practical or wise.”

I think this is Judge-speak for, “Really? Pull the other one.” :smile:

I like Judge Howell. :smile:


I’m virtually certain the company is a sovereign wealth fund and the main suspect is likely Mubadala which is 100% owned by the UAE.

Zainab Ahmad is representing the Special Counsel in this case and she was in charge of Michael Flynn. This is likely the last remaining case that Flynn was helping with as part of his plea deal.

Flynn along with Kushner and Bannon met with the Crown Prince of the UAE in December, 2016 along with his adviser George Nader who has been cooperating extensively with the Special Counsel since January of 2018. Nader and the Crown Prince were at the Jan 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev who is the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Mubadala and the RDIF have been business partners for years on dozens of projects in Russia. They even have a $2 billion joint fund. Also, Mubadala has a US office in San Francisco that opened a year ago.

The only other possible suspect would be the Qatar Investment Authority, but I’m leaning towards Mubadala.


I keep seeing that mentioned by third parties but don’t see it in the actual court docs. There’s a chance (unless someone can point to it being in the court docs) that it’s a misreported construct that is now taken as fact just because it’s been repeated so many times.

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Why not Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, run by Kirill Dmitriev who had that chummy little chat with Erik Prince in the Seychelles?


Just wondering, if this issue is still unresolved and Mueller etc. have not received the documents they very obviously want very much, how is a final report going to be issued?


Because it’s under sanctions and I’m not sure that they have a US office despite stated plans. Also, compare the tone of the IRA case where Russia is the defendant to this one. Russia is combative and launching all sorts of verbal attacks against the Special Counsel whereas the defendants in this case sound like they want to have good relations with the USA but don’t want to relinquish these documents for Mueller’s subpoena.


Ok, that makes sense.

Any thoughts on whether “wholly owned” might be inaccurate? I looked for it at one point in the court document that supposedly said this and didn’t find it.

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 One order addressed a request by the company’s lawyers that they be allowed to make a public statement about the case. At a Jan. 10 status conference, they told Howell that they had received threatening messages, her opinion said, but prosecutors opposed them being allowed to make a public statement.

How are they getting “threatening messages” if no one even knows who the company is for certain?


I think there has been some educated guessing going on. It might be one of the Russian banks that Traitor Trump worked with.

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You may be right; I’ve only seen it reported as state-owned rather than 100% state-owned.

A company does not have to be 100% state owned to qualify as part of the sovereign under FSIA. As long as it is majority owned and controlled by the state, it could (if it meets the other requirements) have FISA protection. In this case, as I understand it, the argument is not that the company is not owned and controlled by the state, but that it is a commercial entity engaged in commercial conduct rather than conduct traditionally reserved to the state (the commercial activity exception).

But you do make a good argument for Mubadala. What about the Saudi fund, PIF?


No, it’s accurate. It was listed in the footnotes of the appeal the company filed to the Supreme Court that was made public on January 22nd. You can find it in the footnotes of page 18 and 27 of this link. https://www.supremecourt.gov/DocketPDF/18/18-948/81196/20190122085546947_00000001.pdf


Because it’s been widely reported to be Allston & Bird? People who leave threatening messages are not exactly sticklers for 100 percent certainty.

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My vote is the Qatar Investment Authority. Hat tip to Marcy Wheeler.


ding ding ding ding…

good background here

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Marcy Wheeler at Empty Wheel is speculating Mueller is using this subpoena to “parallel construct” evidence. The thought is, because this is a foreign entity, Mueller’s team already has the info they need from mystery company via NSA intercepts or other clandestine intelligence methods (which is why they know what to subpoena in the first place). But the info in that form cannot be revealed publicly or used in open court without revealing intelligence sources and methods. Hence the need to go through the formal subpoena process to get the info “openly.”

But Mueller’s final report is not so constrained and will include all sorts of classified info which the public may never see. And this info may be one little piece of that. We’ll know in due time.