Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of opposition research firm Fusion GPS, told Congress in November that the Russian government appeared to “purge” people after his firm’s research on President Donald Trump’s alleged Kremlin connections became public.
It’s one of a host of concerns Simpson shared late last year with members of the House intelligence committee in a closed-door hearing. The committee voted this morning to release the transcript of Simpson’s testimony. One of Simpson’s central arguments was that Trump and his associates appeared to be involved in money-laundering on behalf of Russian oligarchs and organized crime figures.
Trump’s allies have spent the last year working to undermine the credibility of Simpson, his controversial firm, and the dossier he produced—work which was funded in part by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Those efforts make a lot of political sense, given the eye-popping concerns Simpson shared about the president.
“[I]t gradually reached a point where it seemed like most of the people around Trump had a connection to Russian organized crime or Russia in one way or another,” Simpson said.
But one of Simpson’s most dramatic revelations was that the Kremlin used the publication of his firm’s dossier—which contains salacious and unsubstantiated allegations about Trump—as a pretext for a spate of arrests and killings, Simpson said. He also said some of those people who were purged may have been sources for the American intelligence community.
Simpson made this revelation when Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), a member of the House intelligence committee, asked him about sources for the dossier.
“And it appears that one of the sources was mysteriously killed?” she asked.
“That's not my information,” Simpson replied. “I mean there was a series of episodes where people were arrested or died mysteriously that came shortly after the disclosure of the existence of this information. And I do believe there was a bit of an old fashioned purge. And I think that—but to my knowledge, it wasn’t anyone that helped us. [I] think it was more likely people who were taking the opportunity to settle scores or were falsely accused, as often, you know, just like in the old days, and/or were sources of the U.S. Intelligence Community, not us.”
Besides concerns about a purge, Simpson went into great detail about his suspicions that Trump and his businesses had connections to money-laundering.
“I think we saw patterns of buying and selling that we thought were suggestive of money laundering,” he said.
One person Simpson mentioned was an accused Russian organized crime figure named Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov, known as “Taiwanchik.” He allegedly ran organized crime network out of Trump Tower, as ABC News detailed, and is currently on the lam. Simpson
“[W]hen Mr. Trump went to the Miss Universe pageant in 2013, Taiwanchik was there in the VIP section with Mr. Trump and lots of other Kremlin biggies,” Simpson said. “So that kind of thing raised questions with us.”
Simpson said he also saw a pattern of unusual business deals involving Trump properties, especially projects in Panama and Toronto; both projects drew investment of Russian mobsters in a way that “smacks of fraud.”
Simpson specifically pointed to Irish and Scottish Trump golf courses as possible thoroughfares for Russian funds. Simpson explained that the Trump-owned golf-courses in Ireland and Scotland have financial statements that “don't, on their face, show Russian involvement, but what they do show is enormous amounts of capital flowing into these projects from unknown sources [...].” He elaborated that these payments amount to “hundreds of millions of dollars.” Simpson described how this was particularly suspect, considering that golf courses as “sinks” that “don't actually make any money.”
When asked if the Russian government would be aware of the activities of Russian organized crime, Simpson replied that, “Russian mafia is essentially under the dominion of the Russian Government and Russian Intelligence Services. And many of the oligarchs are also mafia figures. [...] And so basically everyone in Russia works for Putin now.”