And so it begins…In December, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered DOJ prosecutors to start “interviewing FBI agents about evidence they uncovered in a criminal investigation into a highly-controversial uranium deal that involves Bill and Hillary Clinton” and here we go…
An 11-count indictment was handed out on Friday in connection to the famed Uranium-One deal, the Russian bribery scheme involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, Uranium One. The charges are against 54-year-old Mark Lambert of Mount Airy, Maryland. The founder and owner of Frederick’s Dragon Distillery was indicted on charges related to his alleged role in the bribery of a Russian atomic energy official to win government contracts for the company he formerly co-owned.
Lambert, who owns Dragon Distillery in Frederick, is the former co-president, along with Daren Condrey, of a Maryland-based nuclear fuel transportation company. The company, referred to as Transportation Company A in the indictment, provided logistical support for transporting nuclear materials in the United States and to foreign clients.
In the indictment unsealed Friday, prosecutors allege that Lambert concealed corrupt and fraudulent payments with fake invoices, offshore bank accounts and shell companies in Latvia, Cyprus, and Switzerland. Lambert now faces 11 different charges including violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and wire fraud, according to a statement released by the U.S. Department of Justice late on Friday.
The DOJ statement reads in part – “Mark Lambert, 54, of Mount Airy, Maryland, was charged in an 11-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering. The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.
The case against Lambert is assigned to U.S. District Court Judge Theodore D. Chuang of the District of Maryland.”
TENEX is the commercial sales arm for Russia’s Rosatom, which took full control of Uranium One in 2013. The company supplies uranium and uranium enrichment services to international companies. An October 2017 report reveals federal agents started collecting evidence in 2009 about Russian officials that were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering connected to the Uranium One deal.
The report reads –
Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.
They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow…
Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.
According to the indictment from at least 2009 to October 2014, Lambert and other company executives conspired to bribe Mikerin in order to secure contracts for transporting nuclear fuel. Lambert is accused of conspiring to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX. In exchange, Mikerin would help steer contracts to the transportation company.
The indictment goes on the describe how Lambert and others caused fake invoices to be prepared, purportedly from TENEX to Transportation Corporation A, that described services that were never provided, and then Lambert and others caused Transportation Corporation A to wire the corrupt payments for those purported services to shell companies in Latvia, Cyprus, and Switzerland in an effort to conceal the fraudulent payments for bribery to Mikerin. Code language was used in emails to the Russian official at his personal email account with words like “lucky figures,” “LF,” “lucky numbers,” and “cake” to describe the payments.
The indictment also alleges that Lambert and others caused Transportation Corporation A to overbill TENEX by building the cost of the corrupt payments into their invoices, and TENEX thus overpaid for Transportation Corporation A’s services. Prosecutors also believe that on Dec. 21, 2011, Mikerin sent Condrey an invoice purportedly from TENEX requesting payment of $125,930.53 for services that were never provided to Transportation Company A, according to the indictment. On Dec. 22, 2011, Lambert allegedly authorized a wire transfer from the company’s Maryland bank account to a shell company bank account in Latvia for the same amount.
Investigators identified eight similar wire transfers from Transportation Company A to the shell companies in Latvia and Switzerland made between 2011 and 2014 for amounts ranging from $48,089 to more than $142,000, according to the indictment.
In June 2015, Condrey, Lambert’s former co-president, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and commit wire fraud, and Mikerin pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering involving violations of the FCPA. Mikerin is currently serving a sentence of 48 months in prison and Condrey is awaiting sentencing. The indictment includes allegations against Lambert based on his role in effectuating the criminal scheme with Condrey, Mikerin, and others.
Lambert’s attorney, William M. Sullivan Jr. states of the 11-count indictment – “We categorically reject the charges and are eager to dispute and defeat them in court.”