U.S. sanctions applied by the Biden administration on numerous Russian oligarchs do not apply to two Russian oligarchs who paid the Biden family business, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) said Thursday.
Yelena Baturina and Vladimir Yevtushenkov, two powerful members of the Russian oligarchy, have escaped the crushing sanctions from the Biden administration levied on the Russian elites as a result of the Ukrainian war.
The State Department has restricted the visas of 893 Russian Federation members. According to the Atlantic Council, the U.S. has more than 2,700 sections against Russia. Since the Ukrainian war began last year, the Biden administration has imposed approximately 1,500 new and 750 amended sanctions and export controls against Russia.
But the Russian oligarchs Yelena Baturina and Vladimir Yevtushenkov are somehow immune President Joe Biden’s reach.
“Mysteriously, those were the two oligarchs that weren’t listed in the sanctions,” Comer told Fox News on Thursday. “Joe Biden put sanctions on just about every oligarch in Russia after Russia invaded Ukraine except the two that paid the Bidens.”
In 2014, Baturina, with an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion, wired $3.5 million to a bank account held by Rosemont Seneca Thornton — an entity formed between Hunter’s investment company, Rosemont Seneca, and the Thornton Group. The consortium was controlled by Rosemont Capital Partners, a private equity firm co-founded by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz.
Baturina launched a company in 1991 which focused on construction though it began as a plastics business. In 2012, Hunter reached a $40 million real estate deal with Baturina, while President Joe Biden was vice president. The massive deal was connected to a previously reported $3.5 million fee Baturina paid Hunter’s real estate entity to access the American business market, according to documents obtained by an anti-corruption group, the Kazakhstani Initiative on Asset Recovery.
Yevtushenkov, the second oligarch excluded from Biden administration sanctions, partnered with Baturina while searching for real estate investments in the United States. Worth an estimated $1.7 billion, Yevtushenkov’s business was the information technology and cell phone companies sectors.
Yevtushenkov admitted he met with Hunter at the swanky Ritz-Carlton hotel near Central Park from 9 to 10 a.m. on March 14, 2012, according to investigative journalist Vicky Ward, previously reported by the New York Post.
According to the Post’s source with firsthand knowledge of the relationship between Hunter and Yevtushenkov, the Russian oligarch wanted to invest with Hunter to be in good graces with the Biden family:
“I asked [Yevtushenkov], ‘Why are you doing this?’ on the front end — before I understood that they were going to buy some real estate,” a source told The Post. “‘Why are you even doing this? Why would you be paying the son of the vice president to meet at a public restaurant in New York City?’
“He made it very clear to me that, you know … ‘I think it would be good to have a good relationship with this guy … maybe he can do a favor for us and we can do a favor for him,’” the source continued. “It was a complete quid pro quo that he was going in for.”
“I told him that’s not the way it works in America, [but] he basically laughed at me and told me I was so naïve,” the source recalled of Yevtushenkov, whose holdings also include Russia’s largest cellphone provider, MTS, which faced a long-running US investigation into nearly $1 billion in bribes paid to officials in Uzbekistan between 2004 and 2012.
In March, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to answer why the Biden administration has refused to sanction the Russian oligarchs.
“I’m just not speaking to anything that’s related to his son from here,” Jean-Pierre said. “If you want to ask a question about Hunter Biden specifically, I would refer you to his family. And as it relates to any sanctions, I’m not speaking to individual persons from Russia.”
Karine Jean-Pierre refuses to say why Biden has not sanctioned Russian billionaires Vladimir Yevtushenkov and Yelena Baturina — business associates of his son, Hunter — nor if Biden dined with Baturina in Georgetown while he was VP. pic.twitter.com/trzfN9ilMK
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) March 6, 2023
Follow Wendell Husebø on Twitter @WendellHusebø. He is the author of Politics of Slave Morality.