Russia’s two largest banks – Sberbank and VTB Capital – paid Washington lobbyists more than $700,000 in 2016 as they sought to end the sanctions Obama imposed following Russia’s seizure of Crimea.
Sberbank was represented by Democratic super-lobbyist Tony Podesta and The Podesta Group (founded by Tony and his brother John).
The Podesta Group charged Sberbank $20,000 per month for its services between March and September 2016. The company “received more than $24 million in fees in 2016, much of it coming from foreign governments,” reports the Daily Caller.
Tony Podesta, who earned $170,000 in six months for his efforts, has been criticized for representing Sberbank without registering under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA).
Sberbank has been called the “KGB Bank” and has alleged links to Putin and Russia’s intelligence agencies.
“It’s all the more reason why they should have registered,” says former US Attorney Joseph DiGenova. “Podesta didn’t want to register because it wouldn’t look good, even for a Democrat.”
“It’s axiomatic that what is forbidden for Republicans is permitted for Democrats,” he added.
The fact that high-profile Democrats like Tony Podesta were earning massive amounts of money for lobbying to lift sanctions on Russia is ironic in light of claims by Democrats that President Trump and his top aides are overly soft on Russia.
“While his brother and other Democratic insiders were being paid to lobby for Russian business interests, John Podesta was leading attacks on the Trump campaign for their alleged ties to Russian business and political interests,” reports Mint Press News.
John Podesta served as chief of staff under former President Bill Clinton. He was a special counselor under former President Barack Obama. More recently, he served as chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign – where he was at the heart of the massive hacking scandal that the Dems have blamed on the Russians.
Podesta’s email account was hacked (allegedly by the Russians) and WikiLeaks released numerous damaging messages that ultimately contributed to Hillary’s loss.
Now, we find that The Podesta Group was working for Russia’s largest bank. The hypocrisy couldn’t be any richer.