Konstantin Kilimnik

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Konstantin Kilimnik
Native nameRussian: Константин Килимник
Ukrainian: Костянтин Кілімнік
Born1970 (age 47–48)
Kriviy Rikh, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Soviet Union
Known forSuspected involvement in Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections

Konstantin V. Kilimnik (Russian: Константин Килимник; Ukrainian: Костянтин Кілімнік; b. 1970) is a Russian-Ukrainian political consultant and suspected Russian intelligence operative. As an associate of Paul Manafort, his activities have become a point of focus in the 2017 Special Counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. Kilimnik is believed by CNN and The New York Times to be "Person A" listed in court documents filed against Manafort, which allege that Person A has ties to Russian intelligence agencies, or is a Russian intelligence operative. He is also believed to be Person A in court documents filed in the criminal indictment of Alex van der Zwaan. In 2017 Kilimnik denied any such intelligence ties.[1]

Kilimnik was indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's grand jury on June 8, 2018 on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice by attempting to tamper with a witness on behalf of Manafort.[2][3]

Early life[edit]

Kilimnik was born in 1970 at Kriviy Rikh, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Soviet Union.[4] Fluent in Russian and Ukrainian before his service in the Soviet Army,[4] he became fluent in Swedish and English as a linguist[4] at the Military University of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation,[5][6] which trained interpreters for the Soviet Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).[7] He served in the Soviet Army as a translator and worked closely with the Soviet Army's GRU.[4] He took Russian citizenship after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.[7] He worked in Sweden as an interpreter for a Russian arms dealer.[7] In Moscow, Kilmnik then worked for the International Republican Institute (IRI) from 1995 to early 2005.[4][7] When applying for his position with the IRI, he responded to the question about how he learned English by stating that the "Russian military intelligence" taught him and thus he became known among his colleagues at the IRI as "Kostya, the guy from the GRU".[4] He was dismissed after the Federal Security Service's chief gave a speech discussing internal private meetings at the Institute.[7]

Employment by Manafort[edit]

Recruited by Philip M. Griffin as a translator for pro-Russia Ukrainian Rinat Akhmetov and seeking better pay than at IRI, Kilimnik met Paul Manafort in 2005 and became an employee of Manafort's consulting firm.[4][8] After leaving IRI in April 2005, he lived and worked in Kiev and Moscow while his wife and two children remained in Moscow living in a modest house near the Sheremetyevo International Airport.[4] Some reports say Kilimnik ran the Kiev office of Manafort's firm and was Manafort's right hand man in Kiev.[4] They started working for Viktor Yanukovych after the 2004 Orange Revolution cost him the Presidency. With help from Manafort and Kilimnik, the Russian backed Yanukovych became President in 2010. Kilimnik then spent 90% of his time inside the Presidential administration.[8] From 2011 to 2013 with liaison to Viktor Yanukovych's chief of staff Serhiy Lyovochkin, Kilimnik, Manafort, Alan Friedman, Eckart Sager, who was a one time CNN producer, and Rick Gates devised a strategy to discredit Yulia Tymoshenko along with Hillary Clinton.[9] This effort supported the pro-Russia administration of then President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych.[9] Yanukovvych hired Paul Manafort's company Global Endeavour, a St. Vincent and Grenadines based consulting and lobbying company, which during the end of Yanukovych's presidency transferred $750,000 out of Ukraine and also paid Kilimnik $53,000 during November and December 2013.[10][11] When Yanukovych fled the country, Manafort and Kilimnik went to work for the pro-Russia Ukrainian party Opposition Bloc which is backed by the same oligarchs who backed Yanukovych.[4] At some point Opposition Bloc stopped paying Manafort's firm but even though the non-payment forced Manafort's firm to shut down their Kiev office, Kilimnik continued to advise the party while working to collect unpaid fees for Manafort's firm.[4]

Around 2010, Kilimnik collaborated with Rinat Akhmetshin when the Washington based lobbyist was trying to sell a book disparaging one of Yanukovych's opponents.[7]

In 2017 Kilimnik helped Manafort write an op-ed for a Kiev newspaper. A journalist in Ukraine, Oleg Voloshyn, has disputed this, stating that he and Manafort wrote the op-ed and that he e-mailed the rough draft to Kilimnik.[12] The op-ed may have violated a gag order issued against Manafort by a US court and may have been a breach of Manafort's bail conditions.[1]

Mentions in court filings[edit]

Kilimnik has been reported by the New York Times to be the "Person A" in Court filings in December 2017 against Manafort and Gates.[13]

Court filings in late March 2018 allege that Rick Gates said he knew that Kilimnik was a former officer with the Russian military intelligence service. These came after Gates reached a plea deal in exchange for cooperation in the investigation.[14]

The sentencing memo for Alex van der Zwaan states that Rick Gates told van der Zwaan that Person A, believed to be Kilimnik,[15] was a former intelligence officer with the Russian Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).[16]

Indictment[edit]

On June 8, 2018, Kilimnik was indicted by Special Counsel to the United States Robert Mueller on charges of obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice, in conjunction with Paul Manafort,[17][3] regarding unregistered lobbying work.[18]

Connection to Trump campaign[edit]

Through numerous regular email exchanges, Kilimnik conferred with Manafort after Manafort became Donald Trump's campaign manager in April 2016 and requested that Manafort give "private briefings" about the Trump campaign to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire and close ally to Vladimir Putin.[11][19][20] In May 2016 and August 2016, Kilimnik met with Manafort to discuss "unpaid bills" and "current news".[20] Kilimnik was still working for Russian intelligence when, during September and October 2016, he was known to be communicating with the Trump campaign. Both Rick Gates and Paul Manafort were in contact with him at the time.[8] Manafort has said that he and Kilimnik discussed the Democratic National Committee cyber attack and release of emails, now known to be undertaken by Russian hacker groups known as Cozy Bear and Fancy Bear.[16]

Kilimnik and Manafort had been involved in the Pericles Fund together, an unsuccessful business venture financed by Oleg Deripaska.[7] In July 2016, Manafort told Kilimnik to offer Deripaska private information in exchange for resolving multimillion dollar disputes about the venture.[7]

The New York Times reported on August 31, 2018 that an unnamed Russian political operative and a Ukrainian businessman had illegally purchased four tickets to the inauguration of Donald Trump on behalf of Kilimnik. The tickets, valued at $50,000, were purchased with funds that had flowed through a Cypriot bank account. The transaction was facilitated by Sam Patten, an American lobbyist who had related work with Paul Manafort and pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b CNN, Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez,. "Source: Mueller pushed for Gates' help on collusion".
  2. ^ Gerstein, Josh (June 8, 2018). "Mueller hits Manafort with new indictment for alleged obstruction of justice". Politico.
  3. ^ a b Mueller, Robert S. (June 8, 2018). "Case 1:17-cr-00201-ABJ Document 318". United States Department of Justice.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Vogel, Kenneth P. (18 August 2016). "Manafort's man in Kiev". Politico. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  5. ^ Christopher Miller (February 23, 2017). "Who Is Paul Manafort's Man In Kyiv? An Interview With Konstantin Kilimnik". rferl.org. Retrieved 18 June 2018.
  6. ^ "The Absolute Soviet Man" at Proyekt (22 August 2018)
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Kramer, Andrew E. (7 April 2018). "He Says He's an Innocent Victim. Robert Mueller Says He's a Spy". The New York Times. p. A7. Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  8. ^ a b c Fryer-Biggs, Zachary (29 March 2018). "Mueller just connected a top Trump campaign staffer to Russian intelligence - Vox". Vox (website). Retrieved 11 April 2018.
  9. ^ a b Harding, Luke (2018-04-05). "Former Trump aide approved 'black ops' to help Ukraine president: Paul Manafort authorised secret media operation that sought to discredit key opponent of then Ukrainian president". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  10. ^ Leopold, Jason; Cormier, Anthony (October 29, 2017). "These 13 Wire Transfers Are A Focus Of The FBI Probe Into Paul Manafort: BuzzFeed News has learned of a series of wire transfers, made by companies linked to Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, that federal officials deemed suspicious. Many of the wires went from offshore companies controlled by Manafort to American businesses". BuzzFeed. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  11. ^ a b Moore, Jack (October 29, 2017). "Robert Mueller Probe: Manafort 'Suspicious' Wire Transfers Focus of FBI Trump-Russia Investigation". Newsweek. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  12. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S. (2017-12-05). "Ukrainian pundit says Paul Manafort did not 'ghostwrite' his pro-Manafort opinion piece". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  13. ^ CNN, Katelyn Polantz and Evan Perez,. "Source: Mueller pushed for Gates' help on collusion".
  14. ^ Helderman, Spencer S. Hsu and Rosalind S. "Manafort associate had Russian intelligence ties during 2016 campaign, prosecutors say".
  15. ^ "What this lawyer's guilty plea tells us about Mueller's investigation".
  16. ^ a b "Could an ex-Russian operative and an imprisoned escort crack open the Trump-Russia case?".
  17. ^ Harris, Andrew M.; Schoenberg, Tom; Baker, Stephanie (June 8, 2018). "Mueller Indicts Konstantin Kilimnik, Manafort's Ukraine Fixer". Bloomberg News.
  18. ^ Stone, Peter (9 November 2018). "Konstantin Kilimnik: elusive Russian with ties to Manafort faces fresh Mueller scrutiny". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 9 November 2018.
  19. ^ Bertrand, Natasha (September 21, 2017). "Paul Manafort's offer to brief a Putin ally about the campaign sheds new light on Russia's election interference". Business Insider. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Hamburger, Tom; Helderman, Rosalind S.; Leoning, Carol D.; Entous, Adam (September 20, 2017). "Manafort offered to give Russian billionaire 'private briefings' on 2016 campaign". Washington Post. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  21. ^ "Lobbyist Pleads Guilty to Steering Foreign Funds to Trump Inaugural". Retrieved 31 August 2018.

Further reading[edit]