Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign pitched a small group of wealthy liberals worried about global warming to become “climate policy donors,” according to a leaked email chain.
One of those donors, however, has taken money from a Bermuda-based law firm with extensive ties to Russia. The email chain was one of thousands published online by WikiLeaks from Clinton campaign chair John Podesta’s hacked Gmail account.
“We’re scheduling a 30-45 minute call with Robby and a group of approximately 6-10 donors and donor prospects interested in climate and energy policy for Tuesday, September 15 between 12pm – 4pm ET,” Clinton aide Michael Smith wrote in an August 2015 email.
“Purpose of the call would be to give a general campaign update and discuss how climate and energy issues are playing out within the context of the race,” he said, also providing a list of donors expected to attend.
“They’re all people I have strong relationships with. Weird not to have me on the call. If the calendar doesn’t work, let’s schedule so I can do,” Podesta responded.
The “Climate Policy” donors list included hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer, green building pioneer Daniel Tishman Bloomberg Philanthropies environmental program head Antha Williams and wealthy investor Nat Simons.
Simons is not only listed as a major Clinton bundler, he also founded the Sea Change Foundation, which has given tens of millions of dollars to environmental groups since its founding in 2006.
Sea Change, however, took $23 million in 2010 and 2011 from the Bermuda-based shell company Klein Ltd that’s based out of the offices of a law firm Wakefield Quin. Sea Change gave millions to environmental groups during that time, including $55 million to the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council.
That law firm “has ties to Russian money laundering, a friend and advisor of Vladimir Putin, Russian oil production, and more,” according to a 2015 report by the Environmental Policy Alliance (EPA).
“Sea Change invested over $80 million dollars in 2011 into Simons-run hedge funds Medallion Investments and Meritage Investments, both also based out of the Wakefield Quin office and operated by WQ senior counsel Roderick Forrest,” EPA found.
Nicholas Hoskins and Marlies Smith, both Wakefield Quin lawyers, formed Klein Ltd. Hoskins and and Forrest held “directorship positions in the ‘IPOC Group,’ owned by Russian minister of telecommunications and longtime Putin friend Leonid Reiman,” according to EPA.
The IPOC Group was part of a Russian money laundering scheme “that has been taking illegitimately obtained money out of Russia and cleaning that money for reinvestment into Russia,” according to a British Virgin Islands court.
Hoskins, Smith, Forrest, and Wakefield Quin administrator Penny Cornell “also have extensive ties to investments in the Russian energy sector,” EPA reported.
Wakefield Quin operates at least one holding company, called Spectrum Partners Ltd, that’s heavily invested in Russia’s oil and natural gas sector. Forrest and Cornell are top executives at Spectrum.
Spectrum has a “Russia Absolute Fund” that’s got 53 percent of its assets invested in the Russian oil and gas industry. EPA also noted that “Spectrum partnered with Marcuard Holdings to form Marcuard-Spectrum, a Moscow-based investment firm to operate hedge funds in Bermuda such as Marcuard Spectrum Ltd” in 2002.
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