More Obama administration shenanigans with questionable foreign players.
Not a smidgen of corruption.
It appears the administration granted a visa to a Russian nuclear executive, even after the FBI had investigated, and gathered evidence that the man was involved in a racketeering scheme involving bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering.
The records show TENEX executive Vadim Mikerin was engaged in illegal conduct as early as the fall of 2009, yet he was allowed to enter the country by the Obama administration with a L1 temporary work visa when he arrived in December 2011.
Milkerin’s visa was renewed in August 2014, just months before he was arrested and charged with extortion, the records show. He and his company applied for the visa in summer 2011, records show.
Multiple GOP-led committees are looking into the case, seeking answers as to how Mikerin was able to skirt for so long. Letters were sent on Tuesday to the State Department and Homeland Security.
“It is concerning that a suspected criminal was able to apply for and renew a work visa while being under FBI investigation,” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote in the letter.
Well, one was allowed to run for president in 2016, so it shouldn’t be that big of a shock.
So was it a case of Mikerin being allowed in, so that the FBI could monitor him as part of a larger investigation, or was he simply not flagged in the appropriate data bases?
It could be either/or, but here’s the part that smells to high heaven:
The five-year delay between the time when the FBI first detected illegal conduct by Mikerin in 2009 and when the Justice Department finally brought charges in 2014 has garnered new attention in recent weeks after The Hill reported details on the bribery case.
During the five-year delay, the Obama administration approved the controversial sale of uranium assets to Mikerin’s parent company Rosatom, and also allowed billions in new contracts to be signed between TENEX and American utilities. Republican lawmakers now want to know whether the criminal scheme should have been grounds to oppose those deals.
On Tuesday, Homeland Security officials reported “shortfalls” in how applicants for H-1B visas, similar to the L1 temporary worker program, were screened.
An L1 visa permits a temporary transfer of a foreign company’s manager to the United States because the visa holder is deemed to have unique skills.
So Mikerin was the director of TENEX in Russia. He was sent to the U.S. to set up an American subsidiary called TENAM.
When Mikerin was sentenced to four years in prison in December 2015, a federal prosecutor argued the defendant should not be shown more leniency because the evidence the FBI had gathered showed a sensitive asset, a uranium shipping company, had been compromised by the bribery-kickback scheme.
“Why is a Russian official coming to the U.S., soliciting bribes from companies working in these sensitive areas?” Assistant U.S. Attorney Ephraim Wernick was quoted in a media report as asking during the sentencing hearing.
Why, indeed. More importantly, why does it seem his efforts were aided by the previous presidential administration?