The Populist

Serhiy Leshchenko Interview and Transcript

Serhiy Leshchenko Interview and Transcript

This week on Fault Lines with Nixon & Stranahan we interviewed Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist and member of parliament in Ukraine. Leshchenko has recently been given more widespread coverage as a figure apparently near the center of conflicts between Donald Trump, the FBI, and the Ukrainian government. More on that in the video interview and transcript below.

Serhiy Leshchenko Interview — taken from Fault Lines with Nixon & Stranhaan by Lee Stranahan on Scribd

DHS Investigator Todd Hyman Deposition

DHS Investigator Todd Hyman Deposition

DHS Investigator Todd Hyman… by on Scribd

U.S. v. Prevezon Et Al. Exh… by on Scribd

Timestamp: 29:17, Pt. 1
Q: Did you get in touch with the banks, did the United States get in touch with the banks and verify the bank records that you had received?
A. No, we did not. Again, we expect copies of these, some of the accounts, foreign accounts, such as the transfers that went into Prevezon to come through the discovery process.
Q. In other words, the transactions from Moldova?
A. That’s correct.
Q. What about the transfers from Russia, has a request been made by the United States for those records?
A. There is pending a Mutual Legal Assistant Treaty request to Russia.
Q. You say pending.
A. It’s in works.
Q. Meaning the United States is now seeking to prepare a document that it will
send to Russia?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And without that, does the United States have any way of authenticating the transactions involving Intercommerz Bank, Sberbank, Alfa Bank and the other Russian banks listed on Exhibit B?
MR. ADAMS: Objection.
A. I don’t know. We would have to — I believe not.

Timestamp: 39:50, Pt. 1
Q. So you say that the client, in this case, did request the transfer? Yes or no.
A. I don’t know. I couldn’t say definitively.
Q. Again, you’re speaking for the United States. Did the client request the transfer from Bank Krainiy Sever to Elenast?
A. Which client are you talking about now?
Q. It was your word. Let’s step back. Did you examine documents which disclosed who directed that there be a transfer from Krainiy Sever to Banca De Economii for the benefit of Elenast?
A. No.
Q. So you don’t know who gave the instructions?
A. No, I do not.
Q. The complaint refers to an organization; does it not?
A. Yes, it does.
Q. Was the person who gave the instructions part of the organization?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Who gave the instructions to transfer funds from Krainiy Sever to Bunicon?
A. I don’t know.
Q. Here you’re speaking for the United States. You understand that?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Was the person who gave the instructions to transfer money from Krainiy Sever to Bunicon acting on the instructions of a member of the organization?
A. I do not know.
Q. Was it in fact a member of the organization?
A. I do not know.
Q. So money went from Krainiy Sever, you said, to Elenast. Is that correct?
A. That’s correct.
Q. Did you see that there were such transfers?
A. Can you clarify the question?
Q. Did you see — on the records that you were told might be bank records, did you see that those reflected transfers?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. But you did not verify that?
A. No.
Q. You have not checked that with the bank in Moldova as we sit here now; have you?
A. No, I have not.
Q. And again, you’re speaking for the United States.

Timestamp: 46:32, Pt. 1
Q. You said that you got this information from William Browder and from Hermitage generally.
A. Correct.
Q. What investigative steps did you take to verify the accuracy of what you were told?
A. We found William Browder to be credible and we examined the documents and the documents purport to be official documents. And they bear marks, insignia, templates of something that would appear to be an official documentation. And just upon examining the documents and his testimony, or his statement.
Q. Let’s step back. From your first investigative step was you found Mr. Browder to be credible?
A. Yes.
Q. What steps did you take in finding Mr. Browder to be credible?
A. Well, we reviewed his documentation, we reviewed some of his statements and verified some of his statements via the internet. Because some of the things he had mentioned were public source documents.
Q. Such as what? What — in the process of evaluating and determining that Browder was credible, what steps did you take? You said you found him to be
credible, that was your first investigative step. So let’s go into the steps that lead to that.
A. Okay. We initially interviewed Mr. Browder, and he provided us the documentation and the allegation. And in providing that, he provided — made certain statements that were then verified.
Q. What did he tell you?
A. Well, he told us the story of Sergei Magnitsky, which is public record.
Q. When you say “public record.”
A. Meaning —
Q. Okay. He told you a story about Sergei Magnitsky.
A. Right.
Q. Is it contained in the complaint?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. Okay. Did he tell you — withdrawn. What public source documents did he refer you to?
A. Well, he referred me to website. He referred me to just making a general internet search via various search engines. He referred me — on his website, he referred me to a Russian language newspaper, that copies of these articles appear on the website. And he referred me to the passage of our own Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Accountability Law.
Q. What else?
A. And the documents that he provided.
Q. What documents did he provide?
A. Copies of the bank records, copies —
Q. Copies of portions of records of certain accounts at certain banks?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you get in touch with the banks to see if they were accurate?
A. No, I did not. They were foreign banks.
Q. Yeah? Does your phone go long distance?
MR. ADAMS: I think he answered the question no.
A. No, it does not.
Q. Can you get authority to call or write abroad?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you seek such authority?
A. No.
Q. Is that true for the entire investigation, that no one sought authority to verify with the Russian banks the accuracy of the portion of the records they had?
A. Prior to filing the complaint, no.

Timestamp: 52:17, Pt. 1
Q. If we could, you said that — we were talking about the investigation, and you said the first thing you did was to?
A. To interview — to receive the allegation, interview Mr. William Browder.
Q. And you determined that he was credible?
A. Yes.
Q. And thereafter you obtained documents which purport to be bank records; is that correct?
A. We obtained documents that included what purported to be bank records from Hermitage, yes.
Q. And you obtained flow charts; is that correct?
A. That’s correct.
Q. And those were also from Hermitage that you obtained them?
A. Correct.
Q. Did you obtain other documents than bank records and flow charts, and data written for newspapers or the internet?
A. Well, we obtained some documents that were derived from the previously mentioned documents, such as spread — Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, that contained information that was derived from the source documents, copies of the source documents.
Q. And the source documents are flow charts, what purport to be bank records, spreadsheets derived from those, and what documents did you obtain from the internet?
A. Copies and references to the events surrounding the death of Sergei Magnitsky. Copies and articles related to the passage of pertinent U.S. law. Copies of property reports related to the purchases of Prevezon properties in the United States.
Q. What else?
A. Just — copies of websites, articles on the web.
Q. What else?
A. That’s pretty much it.
Q. Is that it?
A. That I’m aware of, yes.
Q. Did you seek or obtain official records from Russia?
A. Prior to filing the complaint, no.
Q. Since the complaint was filed, have you — has the United States approached the Russians to ask for assistance in the case?
A. It’s my understanding that approach has not yet been done, but it is in progress.
Q. When you say “in progress,” you’re speaking for the United States. You mean people working for the United States are working to put together a document that would constitute a request?
A. Yes, that would be correct.
Q. But no request has been made?
A. Not that I’m aware of at this time.
Q. Did you interview any witnesses other than those from Hermitage?
A. No, I did not.

Timestamp: 1:33:30, Pt. 1
Q. So what is the mathematical necessity, if any, for the money from Krainiy Sever being from the Treasury that went into Prevezon?
A. The equivalent ruble amount that goes into the Prevezon account would have to be at least the equivalent ruble amount that exited the Krainiy Sever account.
Q. That’s an assumption. Correct?
A. That’s an accounting assumption, yes.
Q. But it’s not that you have someone saying I directed the transfer to go here, and someone else saying I directed it to go there because that was part of the agreement?
A. That’s correct.
Q. You have none of that?
A. No, we don’t have that.
Q. So every transfer here is based on copies that are not authenticated, of records that are incomplete, based on an accounting assumption. Is that right?
A. That would be correct.

Timestamp: 2:15, Pt. 2
Q. Okay. Before we broke, the question was, who directed the transfer. And your answer is that it was — that you do not know, but that if in fact a statement you attribute to Katsyv about what Petrov said that Kim did is correct, then it would have been Kim?
A. That would be correct.
Q. It’s a lot of hypotheticals; isn’t it?
MR. ADAMS: Objection.
A. I — based on the statements that we have —
Q. Did you check — the statement from Katsyv, who interviewed him?
A. The statements actually came from his representative.
Q. Who in the United States interviewed his representative?
A. No one that I’m aware of.
Q. So the statements actually came from someone else; is that correct? Not from his representative. The statement —
A. Right.
Q. — attributed to his representative came from someone other than his representative. Is that correct?
A. That would be correct. They were also posted on the web.
Q. Does posting something on the web make it true?
A. No.
Q. Did you verify if it was true?
A. No.
Q. Did you call the representative?
A. No, I did not.
Q. Did anyone from the United States call the representative?
A. Not that I’m aware of.
Q. Who provided you with the statement that purports to be from the representative reflecting what Katsyv said that Petrov said that Kim might have done?
A. This would come from the Hermitage agents, as well as the websites maintained by Hermitage.
Q. So that all reduce down to people taking direction from Browder?
A. Presumably.
Q. And you found him credible?
A. Yes.
Q. Is there any other basis for that case than your finding of him to be credible?
A. Well, I mean, some of the statements he gave us are corroborated by
other documents that he provided. Particularly, for example, the initial Russian wire Treasury — the transfers, the fact that not only is he alleging that they were inappropriate, but there is actually a copy of a Russian conviction regarding this scheme that shows that these were illegitimate transfers. And other —
Q. No, let’s step back.
A. Okay.
Q. From whom did you obtain the Russian conviction?
A. Hermitage agents.
Q. How many convictions did they give you?
A. There were three people convicted. So I have a copy of at least one court document, or what purports to be a court document.
Q. Okay. Who were convicted?
A. There were three defendants. And if I can refresh from Exhibit 1, I believe we mention their names. We have a one Mr. Markelov, a Mr., I’m probably going to mispronounce this, Khlebnikov, and — and there is also another individual who is also named but not yet convicted. But there is at least two people given those names.
Q. Do you have records of the convictions of Markelov and Khlebnikov?
A. I have copies of the convictions that were provided by Hermitage agents.
Q. Do you know if they’re genuine?
A. They appear to be, but I do not know for certain.
Q. Do you have a copy of the conviction of Browder?
A. I do not.
Q. Was he convicted of fraud?
A. I’m aware that Browder, along with Sergei Magnitsky, was convicted of some offense in Russia. I don’t know specifically what the offense was.
Q. Did you read the document — did you obtain the document, let’s start off with that, did you obtain the document?
A. No, I did not. His conviction, no, I did not.
Q. Would a fraud conviction affect your opinion of someone’s credibility, yes or no?
A. Potentially.
Q. Did you read the conviction?
A. No, I did not.
Q. Did you ever attempt to get in touch with Katsyv?
A. No, I did not.
Q. Did you ever attempt to get in touch with his lawyer in New York before your serving legal process?
A. No, I did not.

Timestamp:>10:01, Pt. 2
…that would be, as far as you knew, Kim’s money on that hypothetical; correct?
A. I don’t know. I couldn’t tell you where the money came — it may have been money that he directed to be sent to Mr. Kim for all I know.
Q. Okay. You have no evidence on this point?
A. Correct.
Q. And you haven’t sought to interview the witnesses?
A. Correct.
Q. But you have sought to seize the property?
A. Correct.

Timestamp: 35:32, Pt. 2
Q. What witnesses have you identified who are competent to testify that Prevezon Holdings knew about the $230 million tax refund fraud?
A. None at this point.

Timestamp: 1:26:51, Pt. 2
A. You would have to ask Hermitage. Bill Browder never told me where he was getting some of the information.
Q. Did anyone from Hermitage tell the United States where they were getting the bank records?
A. Not to my knowledge.
Q. By this you mean not to the knowledge — you mean yes or no, it’s not the question — it can’t be not to my knowledge because you’re speaking for the government. Did anyone, did he tell anyone in the United States how he was obtaining the bank records that he says he had?
A. He didn’t tell us where he was getting his records. The records, other than what was on the website that he would post, that’s how we would get them. He didn’t say to us. To the best of my knowledge.
Q. In the course of your investigation before you froze the property, did you ask about the source and authenticity of the bank records?
A. Yes, we did. And Mr. Browder — to the best of my knowledge, Mr. Browder wouldn’t reveal the sources of some of his records.
Q. So you know them to be unsourced, having asked where you got them from. Correct?
A. Correct.