Tag: Kushner

DAUGHTERGATE: Ivanka Trump Scrubbed From Trump Poker Shell Companies

New financial disclosures reported by Donald Trump show Ivanka Trump’s name being scrubbed from shell companies related to online gambling. Sources with links to the intelligence community and separate sources with links to the White House say that these companies were designed to disguise Russian payments and money-laundering. They further point, these sources say, to the fact that the Kelhios botnet – which was used in Russia’s hack on the American election – was run by a command and control server working from Trump Tower, with the full knowledge of Eric Trump.

Ivanka has been linked to eleven companies in the Trump financial disclosures. Her status has been put to “Inactive” on several odd holding companies, including:

and others. The most immediately interesting company of Ivanka Trump’s is “Poker Venture Managing Member Corp“.  This is owned by Donald and Ivanka Trump. Ivanka’s company with her father itself is an officer of this very dodgy-looking shell, “Poker Venture LLC.” Judging by the corporation wiki, there is panic in Team Ivanka and Team Trump over “Poker Venture“.  It shows zero “Key People”, and has two other almost identical companies as its officers – the live, active PVMMC that Ivanka co-owns with her pops, and this “Inactive” attempt to clean Ivanka out of the picture: by: Poker Venture Managing Member Corp by: Donald J. Trump.

Those touring “Corporation Wiki” will be surprised to see that “Poker Venture Managing Member Corp by: Donald J Trump” lists itself as an officer of inactive “Poker Venture”, yet when one clicks on the gray icon, one is taken to the same active company.

All very strange. Why are Ms. Trump’s shell companies having a panic? What does it matter if she is directly connected to Trump International Hotel Management (which she is) through TIHM? Why is “Poker Ventures” suddenly showing as both active and inactive simultaneously?

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Sources with links to the intelligence community say that the disassociation with the TIHM is because Trump Hotels and Eric Trump are linked to the Kelhios botnet, which was run with a command and control server out of Trump Tower with the full knowledge of Eric and Donald Trump, and also of course, of Ivanka Trump, whose husband Jared was talking to the Russian Ambassador in the Russian Embassy about secret communications with Russia.

Poker Venture Managing Member Corp is a Nevada company. On the Nevada Secretary of State’s website, it shows an odd filing history. The company was formed in 2012, filed an annual listing in 2013 and 2014; no documents are listed for 2015, but two appear two years later, on August 4 2016.  However, the official Nevada listing shows PVMMC being cancelled on May 22, 2017.

Equally odd is that the state of New Jersey   – (Ivanka Trump has a New Jersey address listed as one of her business records, associated with Poker Ventures) – has added to its newly published list of “Internet Gaming Ancillary Companies”  both Poker Ventures LLC, which was already listed, but also “Novacorp Net Ltd”, “VidMob Inc” and “Reblaze Technologies”.  VidMob Inc, a video company, appears to have a Russian developer on its github, Sergey Shpuntov, whose activity appears to be locked on GitHub; Novacorp Net appears to be associated with a credit card company whose records have been scrubbed (but not well enough); while Reblaze Technologies appears to be coded by Russo-Israelis. Russian Israeli.jpeg

Much worse, Reblaze Technologies does not appear to have much to do with “ancillary services for internet gambling” in NJ – rather, it publishes anti-NSA blogs such as these, lauding the ‘hacking tools’ leaked by Shadow Brokers. Reblaze also offers lists of “protect your website” services you can buy from Russian hackers [sic], listing, ostensibly to protect against them, the full range of tools employed on Russia’s hack of America; its founder repeated the anti-NSA blog in an article that reads as a threat to hack America on Medium in December 2016.

Despite this, even the most secretive malware usually gets exposed eventually.

A great example of this occurred in August: ‘Powerful NSA hacking tools have been revealed online’. As the article explained, “some of the most powerful espionage tools created by the National Security Agency’s elite group of hackers” were stolen by illicit hackers and placed up for auction, for any cybercriminal in the world to buy.

Put all of these together – Novacorp, VidMob and Reblaze, as brand new additions to New Jersey’s “ancillary internet gambling companies” and you see three Russian companies involved, sources allege, with the Kelhios botnet, the direct Russian hack on American voter registries and the DNC, and malware delivered via the Kelhios botnet, that are now trying to cover themselves by pretending to have something to do with “online gambling”. Sources suggest that all three directly relate to Ivanka Trump’s “Poker Ventures” company with her father, which is listed on the same sheet. The state document says:

The following companies have filed completed applications to provide ancillary services for Internet gaming. Preliminary examination of the filings allows for these companies to enter into agreements with casino licensees and Internet gaming permit holders.

It is not therefore much of a leap to imagine – though sources were not specific on this point – that Novacorp, VidMob and Reblaze have been discovered to have been paid by a Trump company, and that their late additions to the New Jersey filing are an attempt to provide a figleaf over other “services” that they did provide.

On the wider reason for the cover-up on Ivanka, sources suggested patribotics was being pointed to specific documents because Trump is threatening to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Patience for Trump’s obstruction is wearing thin, sources with links to the intelligence community report. They also suggest that Paul Ryan, who is more realistic towards his own predicament than Mr. Trump, is willing to cooperate with authorities in exchange for mitigation of his own sentence. If Ryan gives up McConnell, and does not impede Mueller or the FBI further, it is possible he may avoid jail, although like Devin Nunes he will be required to resign from Congress. Ryan spoke in defense of Special Counsel Mueller, showing that Trump can no longer rely on Russian kompromat on Ryan to protect him.

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EXCLUSIVE: Devin Nunes Has Top Secret Clearance Revoked

Sources with links to the intelligence community report that Devin Nunes, the former leader of the Russia inquiry, and Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee* has had his TS/SCI clearance revoked.

As we reported in April, Nunes obstructed justice when, in collusion with Michael Ellis, his former lawyer on the Intelligence Committee, he blurted out evidence in an ongoing criminal case.

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As we also reported, this evidence included revealing one White House staffer, Boris Epshteyn, was still under investigation. From that report:

sources stated Epshteyn was named to the FISA court in June as a target, but – and I re-emphasize this point – that application was denied by the court.

Knowing the above, his departure from the White House after two epic failures by Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is not, I believe, a coincidence. Mr. Epshteyn has not been indicted (as far as I know) still less convicted of any crime. But it seems fairly obvious to me that Nunes is obstructing justice in plain sight

Mr. Nunes still retains a security clearance, sources say. But he has been denied access to the most sensitive intelligence information. This is an extraordinary situation for a member of the House Intelligence Select Committee and reflects appallingly on Paul Ryan and on the House Oversight Committee, respectively the elected official and the Republican-led Committee responsible for ensuring the integrity of Congress.

In a later story we also reported exclusively that sources with links to the intelligence community said that Boris Epshteyn paid hackers from the Kelhios botnet on behalf of both the FSB, of which, these sources say, he is an agent, and Donald Trump. We will expand on this reporting later today. Mr. Epshteyn has emphatically denied he is an FSB agent. He has refused to answer our questions as to whether he is a registered agent of influence of the Russian state under FARA. Our report has been updated to reflect Mr. Epshteyn’s denials. Nevertheless, we continue to report what we have been told on the matter by sources with links to the intelligence community.

*correction – Mr. Nunes formerly led the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia inquiry. He is still (disgustingly) its Chairman, as tweeps have pointed out.

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EXCLUSIVE: Federal Marshals Execute Seizure Warrants At Trump Tower

Donald Trump Sealed Indictment Started With Eric Schneiderman

 

EXCLUSIVE: Federal Marshals Execute Seizure Warrants At Trump Tower

Sources with links to the intelligence community report that Federal Marshals executed two search and seizure warrants at Trump Tower on Friday, May 19.

One of the warrants covered an electronic storage space in Trump Tower. Several electronic items were seized as a result of this search.

Another of the warrants, sources report, was served on Paul Manafort’s apartment in Trump Tower.

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Unlike the first warrant, this warrant was served, sources say, with “consent.” That means that Mr. Manafort is almost certainly co-operating with Federal authorities.

The Trump Data team worked out of Trump Tower. Separate sources, with links to the intelligence and law enforcement communities, report that the FBI is looking at photographs posted publicly on  Twitter by members of that team that appear to show a Python server connection loading on the screens of one of the Trump data team workers.

These same sources have confirmed my April reporting that the Russian Alfa Bank server, with an ip address in Trump Tower, was communicating with Russia and Spectrum Health, and that it was ‘washing’ hacked U.S. State voter database information with the social media ‘fake news’ botnet for micro-targeting to voters. There will be a separate piece of analysis on how this might relate to the ‘electronic devices’ that were seized on Friday afternoon, 19 May. Sources report that this was done ‘very quietly’, in an attempt to evade detection by the press.

The servers and data in Trump Tower, and the items taken from Manafort’s apartment, may form part of the “secure communications channel” that Kushner wanted to establish with Russia. I broke on November 7th that a FISA warrant had been secured on any US person’ in relation to two Russian banks, Alfa Bank – with whom the server was communicating – and SVB Bank. SVB Bank, which had a deal with Sberbank, is implicated in the meeting Kushner had with Gorkov. Further to that, Avi Berkowitz, who was on the Trump Data team, working with Boris Epshteyn and Brad Parscale, formed a go-between for Kushner and the Russian Ambassador.

My earlier exclusive report stated that the Kelhios botnet for which the Russian hacker Pyotr Levashov was indicted, was run out of Trump Tower with a ‘command and control server.’

The Trump sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., were interviewed by the FBI, sources say, the day before James Comey was fired. This is because, sources linked to the intelligence and law enforcement communities say, they are suspected of being complicit in the Kelhios botnet’s repurposing to service and pay both pro-Russia and pro-Trump Twitter and facebook bots, but also to deliver ‘fake news’, loaded with malware, and to pay those spreading it through bitcoin transactions.

One of the reasons James Comey was illegally fired by Trump was that his investigation was at the point of interviewing Trump’s own sons. For the avoidance of doubt, White House sources report that Donald Trump himself is considered by investigators to be directly complicit in Russia’s hack of the American election, and Trump fears that the FBI has data-based evidence that will prove this.

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Milo Yiannopoulus Has An Account With a FISA-Targeted Russian Bank

On October 15th the FISC, or secret intelligence court, granted a FISA warrant against two Russian banks – Silicon Valley Bank and Alfa Bank. (That is, as I have reported subsequently, two warrants, one per bank,  granted on the same day.)

Milo Yiannopoulos has an account at one of these banks. He told me this himself.  I reproduce the string of our email correspondence below.

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Milo Yiannopoulos, the provocateur journalist, and I, were once friendly. And then, due to the alt-right and his support for it, we were not. We were, however, still civil.

Before the recent revelations of Yiannopoulos position on child abuse, he had both a book deal, of some consequence, and was doing a tour of colleges. At Heat Street, we often covered the early stages of that tour, where liberal students would try to deny the conservative provocateur a platform by shouting him down. I was and am in favor of free speech.

However, in the period just before and after the election, those normal “student” protests suddenly became violent. And yet nobody could find the so-called “students” who were causing violent trouble. I started to suspect that Russian ‘active measures’ were involved in funding these riots. The independent journalist Caroline @RVAwonk has a number of good threads on twitter about how Russian-Trump linked provocateurs like Baked Alaska will travel to places like Berkeley, looking to cause trouble.

However, I did not pursue this line of thought as I had other, bigger, fish to fry.

There was one thing on Twitter that caught my notice, however. A woman was complaining to me that she had done work for Milo and not been paid. He had a bad record in the UK of not paying women journalists and then threatening them. I asked him on her behalf whether her claims were true. This was on background, so I am not reporting it. Rather I am excerpting here the separate parts of our email conversation where I asked him why he had an account with Silicon Valley Bank – a name familiar to me from my own FISA exclusive of Nov 7th.

I asked:

why svb bank that is the Russian bank at the heart of the FBI counter espionage probe

On that matter, he replied:

I used to bank with SVB. No idea about any Russian connections. I’m with Chase now.

We then exchanged further emails on the topic that was on background. But I returned to the issue of the bank account, which stuck out for me:

I still want to know in all honesty how you came to be with SVB. They are not a high street bank. you can’t just open an account. <Redacted>  for Russian intelligence and the FSB. what has <redacted> to do with them and how did you get connected?

He said:

I had a Private Bank account with Silicon Valley Bank, whose executives I met when I was a technology reporter. SVB Private Bank is a boutique bank for high net worth individuals. I can’t comment on your allegation <redacted> “Russian intelligence,” save to say it sounds rather far-fetched.

He then gave me an “on the record” quote that was a smear against the complainant. But as far as I am concerned, everything not relating to the matter he emailed me on was and is on the record.

I did not write a story of any kind about his feud with the complainant. He sent me an on-record smear against her, including a swipe at her disability, but the rest was on background.

Milo had previously boasted to me of his friendship with Peter Thiel (which may, I must point out, be complete rubbish – he is an unreliable witness who lies) and with Robert Mercer.

Sources did not say why SVB Bank was under a FISA warrant. They were more forthcoming about Alfa Bank. They did however describe SVB as ‘a Russian Bank’. Most posts on the matter are from Russian sites that track readers, so I link to this Daily Kos description of the agreement between SVB and Sberbank in 2012:

June 21, 2012, St. Petersburg – During the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum Sberbank of Russia and SVB Financial Group (SVB), parent company of Silicon Valley Bank, of the United States have signed a Memorandum of Understanding establishing a formal relationship between Sberbank and SVB to promote venture financing in Russia and help support an emerging and vibrant entrepreneurial economy.

There will be more on SVB’s role with Jared Kushner shortly.

 

 

Epshteyn Named in FBI FISA Application; Did Trump, Nunes Obstruct Justice?

On November 7th, I reported at Heat Street that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant covering the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

I reported that the FISA warrant had been granted after an earlier, failed application to the court in the summer named Trump and “at least three other men, who have either formed part of his campaign or acted as his media surrogates”.

Those names, sources said, were Donald Trump, with Paul Manafort and Carter Page (two men that had formed part of Trump’s campaign) and Boris Epshteyn, who at the time I reported, the eve of the election itself, had only acted as Mr. Trump’s media surrogate.

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Since that time, Mr. Epshteyn has become a part of government as a Transition Team official and now at the White House and I feel able to be explicit as to the names sources gave me as forming part of the summer application to the court.

It is important to note that the application to FISC made by the FBI in June* was denied. The FBI must, by definition, have represented to the FISA court that they believed Trump, Page, Manafort and Epshteyn were either actual Russian agents, or Russian “agents of influence”, which can be unwitting, as Brad C Moss, a national security lawyer, pointed out in my report for Heat Street.

The application that was successful, in October, named two Russian banks – rather than US persons suspected by the FBI to be agents of influence for a foreign power – as it targets- and was drawn more tightly under the ‘minimization’ doctrine around money laundering and financial offenses, I reported. But, the FISA warrant explicitly granted the FBI permission to examine the communications of U.S. persons as they related to this money laundering inquiry. I did not report any “wiretapping” of Trump tower, nor any surveillance; rather, my reporting faithfully reflected the views of my sources that a warrant was granted.

Indeed, rather than any concept of new surveillance, I reported that the FBI had sought permission to examine already existing evidence, provided to the CIA or NSA by allied intelligence services, that related to this inquiry – specifically, to the money laundering inquiry. They previously had been unable to listen to this evidence, or to read these intercepts, because they involved “U.S. persons”. Contrary to the Trump-Bannon bleating about “deep state”, sources indicated that Director Comey was most concerned to follow the law very precisely; “in order that the chain of evidence have a clear basis in a warrant”, as I said at the time.

Two months later Paul Wood of the BBC published a seminal report on the entire Russian war on American democracy, which included further exclusive details on the FISA warrant, which added to my own reporting and made the picture much clearer.

The existing evidence, he reported, was a tape made by a Baltic state’s intelligence service, of Russian money going into the Trump campaign. It was made in April, and involved a US person or persons. Wood exclusively reported a six-agency task force including the US treasury was set up to investigate this. (He also reported a second failed application to FISC in August, something I did not learn from my sources at the time, but which sources have since confirmed to be accurate). Therefore, ‘money laundering’ it may be, but ‘from Russia into the Trump campaign’ is the second part of that puzzle, and explains, we may postulate, why Comey described to Congress his national security investigation as including any criminal aspects. It is why the warrant against the Russian banks was sought in a FISC and not an ordinary court.

As had I exclusively reported on November 7th, the case was both criminal and a top-level national security case.

Exposing new and unreported evidence in such a case as (I believe) both Trump and Nunes have done is itself a crime.

Wood did not specify, but I believe it to be a fair inference, that one of those US persons was Paul Manafort, who took over the Trump campaign in March, just before the tape was made in April. Carter Page wrote to the FBI demanding they stop investigating him; leaving only Mr. Epshteyn as the unreported name in the failed applications.

I cannot confirm whether Mr. Epshteyn is, as has been speculated about, ‘Source E’ in the Steele dossier, but he fits the description given of that source. What I can report is that sources stated Epshteyn was named to the FISA court in June* as a target, but – and I re-emphasize this point – that application was denied by the court.

Knowing the above, his departure from the White House after two epic failures by Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is not, I believe, a coincidence. Mr. Epshteyn has not been indicted (as far as I know) still less convicted of any crime. But it seems fairly obvious to me that Nunes is obstructing justice in plain sight –  and should be arrested.

When Nunes said:

I do not believe that was a slip of the tongue. I believe he referred to Mr. Epshteyn and tipped him off on live television.

Further, Mr. Nunes’ rants about FISA warrants (plural – I have only reported one, more, clearly, may exist) ought not to be assumed to be fact free. Instead, they should be assumed to be a completely illegal and garbled recitation of classified information illegally acquired and distributed by Nunes. When he says what he read “did not relate to Russia” he means he read details of a money-laundering investigation under FISA (but it did relate to Russia). When Nunes says he “did not hear the word Russia” nor would he need to if he were illegally reading transcripts of conversations involving money laundering, names and amounts. And when he refers to a member “of the Presidential transition team” on which he himself sat, I believe he is referring to Boris Epshteyn.

Mr. Epshteyn has, again, not even been indicted, far less convicted in any court. But IF he is indeed under a top secret investigation and his buddy and Trump lackey Nunes has just discussed both the evidence against him and the fact that he is under investigation, then it is Representative Nunes who needs to be arrested. The House Intelligence Committee should do more than demand that Speaker Ryan remove Devin Nunes as chairman of the Russian hacking inquiry. It should call Nunes as a witness, under oath. Having sat myself on a Select Committee, I know very well that politicians become friends with their opposite numbers. It is hard indeed to turn on a colleague with whom one is friendly. But the Committee must steel themselves to their manifest duty. Removal of Mr. Nunes from the House Intelligence Committee is now a matter of the national security of the United States at the highest level.

  • [correction: story originally wrongly wrote July; the Nov 7 story correctly sad June]

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