Robert Mueller’s team of investigators in the ongoing Russia probe added another heavy hitter, recently.
They’ve added an attorney who most recently has worked on the Justice Department’s highest-profile money laundering case, Kyle Freeny.
Freeny, whose assignment to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s staff has not been previously reported, is the 17th lawyer known to be working with the former FBI chief on the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. She departed from the courthouse Friday with two other members of Mueller’s squad: former Criminal Division chief and Enron prosecutor Andrew Weissman and Civil Division appellate attorney Adam Jed, a former clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
Before being detailed to Mueller’s team, Freeny was shepherding the Justice Department’s headline-grabbing effort to seize the profits from the film “The Wolf of Wall Street” on grounds that the film was financed with assets looted from the Malaysian government.
Freeny withdrew from the “Wolf of Wall Street” case on June 26, court records show, shortly before many of Mueller’s attorneys joined his team in early July.
And while the movie case seems to have reached its conclusion, Freeny’s use in the current Russia probe may be related, based on the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, which is an effort to track down profits obtained through foreign corruption and to return those funds to the people of the affected nations.
So what’s the connection?
The same project that focused on the movie’s financing is also focused on the transfer of assets overseas by Ukrainian officials, including former President Viktor Yanukovych. That, and the fact that Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, served as a consultant to Yanukovych, who is tied to Moscow, and his Party of Regions.
Manafort – Yanukovych – Moscow – Russia probe.
A Manafort firm belatedly filed a report in June with U.S. authorities disclosing about $17 million in payments from the Party of Regions between 2012 and 2014.
Manafort has denied wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime. However, in July, FBI agents executed an early-morning search warrant at his Alexandria, Va. condominium.
With that in mind, it makes sense that Mueller is bringing in attorneys with a further background in investigating money laundering cases. That apparently seems to be the direction his probe is taking.
As for Freeny’s further background:
Freeny, a Maryland native, is a graduate of Harvard University and Harvard Law School. An Arabic speaker, she taught kindergarten for a time in Egypt before getting her law degree.
Freeny began work at the Justice Department in 2007. She also did a stint in President Barack Obama’s White House in 2011, vetting potential appointees.
And let me just get the inevitable out of the way –
Deep state… Obama holdover… yada yada yada.
Never let it be said that I don’t pay attention to the readers.