William Sessions, former FBI head, works for Mogilevich

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William Sessions, a former FBI director and federal judge who warned about transnational organized crime in 1997, now works as a lobbyist and attorney for the top of the Russian mafia: Semion Mogilevich.

It’s unclear when Sessions and Mogilevich hooked up, but a Wall Street Journal report dated April 17, 2007, states that Sessions is “trying to negotiate a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice for his client, who is charged with racketeering and is a key figure in a separate Justice Department probe of energy deals between Russia and Ukraine.”

Mr. Sessions’s client, Mr. Mogilevich, is accused in a 45-count racketeering and money-laundering indictment in Philadelphia of masterminding an elaborate stock fraud using a web of shell companies in Europe. The Justice Department also is investigating whether there are any ties between Mr. Mogilevich and a recent series of billion-dollar natural-gas deals between Russian gas giant OAO Gazprom and Ukraine, people familiar with the matter said. The probe is being led by the Justice Department’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section.

The Wall Street Journal

According to the article, Sessions recently asked officials at the DOJ to open negotiations with Mogilevich to clear his record. In return, Mogilevich would provide intelligence on Islamist terrorism.

This strategy — offering intelligence in exchange for freedom to continue his criminal operations — has worked for Mogilevich in other countries, as documented by Robert I. Friedman’s 2001 book Red Mafiya: How the Russian Mob has Invaded America. But U.S. prosecutors rejected his offer.

The Mogilevich talks were brokered by a prominent Washington security expert named Neil C. Livingstone, who was briefly in the news during the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal for his work on terrorism issues with White House aide Oliver North. He declined to discuss the Mogilevich talks, other than to say they involved “very sensitive issues.”

Until recently, Mr. Livingstone was chief executive of GlobalOptions, a Washington corporate-intelligence firm he founded. Mr. Sessions sits on the firm’s advisory board. Most of its clients, the firm says, “operate in Russia and the Caribbean.”

The Wall Street Journal

Other U.S. political figures mentioned by WSJ for lobbying on behalf of transnational, former-Soviet criminals include former Senate majority leader Bob Dole, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and Paul Manafort.

Sessions’ associate Neil Livingstone told the Wall Street Journal that lobbyists at Barbour’s firm (Barbour Griffith) introduced GlobalOptions executives to a Cyprus-based firm, Highrock Holdings, in 2004. That company is controlled by Dmitry / Dimtryo Firtash, who later admits that Semion Mogilevich is the “real power” behind his business. Mogilevich’s wife used to be a major shareholder in his firm.

As I’m writing this, Rudy Giuliani is being investigated for foreign lobbying. In 2019, he arranged a business relationship between Firtash and U.S. lawyers.

External Sources

Wall Street Journal, Archived

Robert I. Friedman, Red Mafiya

Photo: Public Domain

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