Exclusive: Oligarch with Hunter Biden Connection Avoids Sanction List
Someone Has Some Explaining To Do
Last week, I brought you news of Jared Kushner’s dealings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and some reasons, not previously reported, as to why MBS (as he is known) might want to invest $2 billion in Kushner’s new fund, even over the objections of the fund’s advisors.
I will be staying on that story, so stay tuned for more to come.
In the meanwhile, I received a document that raises questions about a different president’s relative: Hunter Biden.
Hunter Biden on the South Lawn of the White House on April 18, 2022. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
This document appears to show that, in 2012, Hunter Biden and, separately, someone unnamed but apparently affiliated with Rosemont Realty—a real estate company Biden consulted for—was scheduled to meet with the still-unsanctioned Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov, who owns a tech-oriented conglomerate, including the Russian mobile phone company, MTS, and who, according to Private Eye, was summoned recently to the Kremlin by Putin and told “to work in solidarity with the government over the Ukraine crisis.”
Yevtushenkov is a friend and associate of Elena Baturina, who was an investor in Rosemont Realty at the time of the scheduled meeting with Yevtushenkov, according to two people with direct knowledge. A key liaison for Baturina at Rosemont Realty was Biden’s former close friend and business partner Devon Archer, who was on the company’s board, says a source with firsthand knowledge. (Archer is currently sentenced to a year and a day in jail for bond fraud.)
It was Archer who separately introduced Hunter Biden to Baturina, who in turn introduced him to Yevtushenkov, say two sources with knowledge. A 2020 Senate GOP report indicated that, in 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to “Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC,” a different consulting company allegedly co-founded by Biden and Archer. (Biden has not been charged with a crime, though the U.S. Attorney in Delaware continues to investigate his international business dealings for possible money laundering, tax violations, or acting as an unregistered foreign lobbyist. Baturina, like Vetushenkov, remains unsanctioned.)
The document in my possession is written in Russian. It has been authenticated by a source who was an insider at Yevtushenkov’s company, Sistema. The source tells me they copied it from the server because they were concerned by what it showed. It purportedly shows the itinerary of Yevtushenkov and the directors of his holding company AFK Sistema for a visit to the U.S. from March 12 to March 15, 2012. On that itinerary is a breakfast on March 14th with Hunter Biden at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in New York and a three-hour meeting with “Rosemont Realty” the next day in Dallas, Texas to “review real estate portfolio Rosemont Realty.”
The contact listed for Hunter Biden is someone named Dan Burrell, whose email address is listed as DBurrell@rosemontrealty.com. Burrell, 43—a high-profile entrepreneur and venture capitalist—is listed, comically erroneously, as Hunter Biden’s secretary. Burrell, according to public records and two sources with firsthand knowledge, was in fact then the CEO of Rosemont Realty, which was headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico and not in Dallas, Texas (although, according to a source with knowledge, the Dallas office existed and had a tiny staff of three or four people). Burrell did not want to comment publicly, but a source with authority to speak on his behalf says Burrell never met Yevtukshenkov in Dallas or anywhere else, and Burrell had no knowledge of any scheduled meeting either between Biden and Yevtukshenkov or anyone at Rosemont Realty. (Burrell sold the company in 2015.)
The Yevtukshenkov itinerary is attached here.
And its translation is here.
If you look at its metadata, you can see that its origination is by someone with the last name Bashirov at Sistema JSFC:
A source with knowledge says that Yevtushenkov may have deviated from the planned schedule, but he certainly made the U.S. trip. And, just this morning, a Sistema spokesperson confirmed to me that Yevutshenkov’s meeting with Biden took place, as a matter of “routine” and that Yevtushenkov was scouting for business opportunities. After that meeting, says the spokesperson there was no follow-up.
But a separate source says that before he left for the U.S., Yevtushenkov told colleagues—excitedly—he had been introduced to Hunter Biden by Elena Baturina. (Baturina’s late husband was Yury Luzhkov, the mayor of Moscow.)
A separate source says that, prior to March 2012, Archer asked Burrell, who was in Europe at the time meeting with investors, if he would meet Baturina, who also had an interest in investing in the company. The meeting took less than half an hour, and a well-placed source says Burrell never met her again. (Archer was on the board of Rosemont Realty as a consequence of his co-founding Rosemont Capital with Chris Heinz—whose stepfather, John Kerry, Burrell had worked for as a staff member of Kerry’s political team). Baturina ultimately made a minority investment in three of Rosemont Realty’s then-117 properties, according to a source with knowledge.
Hunter Biden was not in that meeting in Europe, according to a source with knowledge, but Archer had introduced the young Biden to Burrell and had asked if he too could come on the Rosemont Realty advisory board. Burrell had agreed.
So, who is Yevtushenkov? He is the largest of Russia’s tech-oriented investors. His holding company, Sistema AFK, is traded on the London Stock Exchange. Its biggest subsidiary, MTS, is a telecom company that is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Private Eye recently reported that MTS is currently under pressure, with Vodafone suspending its partnership post the Ukraine invasion and that, in an effort to avoid sanctions, in March Sistema reduced its MTS ownership to 49.94 per cent, although Yevtushenenkov’s son, Felix, remains the chairman. Until recently, Sistema owned RTI, one of the single largest defense contractors in Russia. (It is now controlled by the State.)
Vladimir Yevtushenkov at the Congress of RSPP (Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs), an annual meeting of top Russian businessmen, at the Ritz-Carlton in Moscow on March 14, 2019 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
And Yevtushenkov—who used to show up at the Global Economic Forum in Davos with Ukraine’s pro-Russia former President, Viktor Yanukovych, according to an eyewitness who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has never spoken out publicly against the war with Ukraine. Further he was part of the group of oligarchs summoned to the Kremlin personally by Putin at the outset of the war.
But he remains strangely unsanctioned by the U.S. Why?
And he was only recently sanctioned, on April 13, by the British, following protests outside his London home during which protesters chanted, “Blood money out of London.”
Now, it’s possible that both governments have been slow to understand the tightness of Yevtushenkov’s relationship with Putin.
Historically, Yevtushenkov and Putin fell out over Bashneft, Yevtushenkov’s former oil business, which had a rivalry with Rosneft, Russia’s oil business. In 2014, Yevtushenkov was accused of money laundering and placed under house arrest. But he was cleared of charges and the two have reportedly since made up and, according to my insider source, even spent a night together during a bad snowstorm at a Siberian military facility on two camp cots in the same room.
But the question of this article is: Does Yevtushenkov’s scheduled 2012 breakfast meeting with Hunter Biden in New York at the Ritz-Carlton have anything to do with the appearance of leniency to date from the U.S. Treasury? Why is he on the list of 45 Russian oligarchs who are not sanctioned?
And does it have anything to do with the now-controversial 2014 wire transfer of $3.5 million from Elena Baturina, to Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC, a company co-founded by Hunter Biden and Devon Archer? (A recent report in the Washington Post suggested that Biden believed the company to be dissolved by the date of the wiring and said it was Archer who arranged the wiring.)
Most of the Yevtushenkov 2012 itinerary is packed with meetings with the named CEOs of major companies and investors—including Steve Zide of Bain Capital, John Hess of Amerada-Hess, Bill Ford of General Atlantic, Mark Gollogly of Centerview Partners, and prominent lawyer and former RNC Financial Chair Larry Bathgate—as well as Daniel McCrum, a journalist for the Financial Times. These are people of the ilk you’d expect to be meeting with the Russian mega-investor.
But what is so strange about the scheduled three-hour meeting, in Dallas, Texas, is that there is no name attached to it. Yet Yevtushenkov had scheduled an entire morning with “Rosemont Realty”—which was not even to be held at its headquarters, but at a tiny satellite office. And why would Burrell, who has no knowledge of the meeting, be listed as Hunter Biden’s secretary?
And is it likely that Hunter Biden—who, according to the schedule, had had breakfast with Yevtushenkov in New York—knew nothing of what was scheduled to go down in Texas the very next day?
A spokesperson for Sistema told me, via email: “No one now remembers who Sistema spoke with from Rosemont Realty in 2012. Sorry not to be of more help here, but it was one meeting in a crammed business trip that took place a long time ago.”
Lawyers for both Devon Archer and Hunter Biden did not respond to my emailed questions. But a source authorized to speak for Burrell said that both Burrell and Gemini-Rosemont Realty (the name under which Rosemont Realty currently operates following the sale by Burrell) were very surprised to learn of the existence of at least one description on the internet misrepresenting that Archer had been the chairman of Rosemont Realty.
I reached out to the press office for the U.S. Treasury, which houses the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), to ask why Yevtuchecnkov has not been sanctioned, and I mentioned the scheduled meetings with Hunter Biden and Rosemont Realty. No response. And I emailed Baturina’s foundation. So far, no response.
So what’s really going on here?
(NOTE: Updated 4/29 to reflect the 2021 sale of RTI.)