Revealed: Kushner Met With Russian Banker Who Is Putin’s Spy
According to multiple U.S. officials and documents obtained by NBC News, president Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Russian banker who is a “Putin crony” and a graduate of a “finishing school” for spies who was often tasked with sensitive financial operations by Putin.
As NBC News reports, Kushner met with Sergey Gorkov, 48, who has long served Russian President Vladimir Putin. Most recently, Putin chose him to head of the state-owned VneshEconomBank (VEB). As the Russian state national development bank, VEB has played a critical role in blunting the impact of U.S. sanctions against Russia by finding other sources of foreign capital.
Political Dig reported Thursday that Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers, has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, according to multiple U.S. officials. Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to the Russia probe, officials said. That does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him.
It is not known what has drawn FBI scrutiny, but congressional aides have said they would like to question Kushner about a meeting Kushner had with Gorkov in December 2016. At the time, Kushner was an adviser to President-elect Trump and Gorkov was chairman of VEB.
Sberbank and VEB, Gorkov’s two banks, have engaged in high-profile bailouts of Russian companies, including those owned by favored oligarchs. They have also played a major role in attempts to mitigate the U.S. sanctions that were imposed on Russia following its annexation of Crimea.
VEB was sanctioned in July 2014, Sberbank two months later. The U.S. cited the banks’ record of securing medium- and long-term U.S. sources of financing. Sanctions severely limited their ability to raise funds in the U.S. The European Union later joined in the sanctions. The banks have responded by seeking funds from other sources, including China.
The U.S. did not cite any particular transactions when it sanctioned the bank, but said instead that Russia’s failure to meet “basic standards of international conduct” warranted onerous sanctions.
VEB was also implicated in an espionage case that began before Gorkov took over 2016 but continued after he took over.
One of its New York-based employees, Evgeny Buryakov, was arrested on espionage charges in January 2015. According to court records reviewed by NBC News, Buryakov used his position to spy on unnamed U.S. companies, and sought information on high-frequency trading. Prosecutors said his internet searches included “NYC Homeland Security” and “New York City critical infrastructure.”