Fusion GPS testimonial puts businessman Sergei Millian back in the spotlight

Sergei Millian sat down for an interview with ABC in January 2017.Screenshot / ABC

  • The House Intelligence Committee released a transcript of its interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson on Thursday.

  • Simpson spoke at length about Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-born businessman who worked with the Trump Organization.

  • Millian has denied being a source for the Steele case. In November, U.S. prosecutors charged a person who contributed to the case with lying about receiving information from Millian.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated after a federal indictment of November 3, 2021 accusing Igor Danchenko, a Russian expert who contributed to the so-called Steele case, of lying to investigators about receiving information by Sergei Millian. Millian has repeatedly denied that he was a source for any material on the file.

Sergei Millian, a Belarusian-born businessman who worked with the Trump organization, returned to the limelight after a testimony was released to the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

Glenn Simpson, who co-founded opposition research firm Fusion GPS, told lawmakers that a trip that officials from the Trump organization took to Moscow several years ago appeared on the company’s radar in as part of their research into Trump’s business history.

The trip was organized by Sergei Millian, Simpson said. He said Millian “appeared in connection with Chris’s work as one of the people around Trump who had Russian origins.” Chris is a reference to Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer hired by Fusion to study Trump’s ties to Russia.

Millian was reportedly a key source in a collection of notes Steele wrote between June and December 2016 describing alleged links of Trump and his campaign members to Russian officials; Millian has denied this allegation. The memos allege that Moscow and the Trump campaign worked hand in hand on points to influence the US election.

Sergei millian

Sergei Millian at an event after Trump’s inauguration on January 20.Screenshot / Facebook

Millian, who changed his name upon his arrival in the United States from Siarhei Kukuts to Sergei Millian, founded the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce in 2006. He described himself as an exclusive broker for the Trump Organization in regards to the real potential of the company. real estate transactions in Russia.

Simpson called the Russian-American Chamber a “shadow business group.”

“The Russians are notorious for using chambers of commerce and trade groups for intelligence operations,” Simpson said.

Millian attended several black tie events during Trump’s inauguration. He told Russian news agency RIA that he had been in contact with the Trump organization until April 2016. He was also pictured at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in June 2016 with the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a longtime associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

It was around this time that Millian’s organization, the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce, was looking for “delegates” to attend the Russian Oil & Gas Forum in Moscow.

But Millian appears to have started playing down his ties to the Trump organization after reporters began to dig into Trump’s ties to Russia in 2016.

Contrary to what he told RIA, Millian told Business Insider US in an email last year that the last time he worked on a Trump-branded project was “in Florida around 2008” . He did not respond to a subsequent request to clarify the gap.

There were also discrepancies in his resume, Simpson said in his testimony.

“In one curriculum vitae he said he was from Belarus and visited Minsk state, then in another he was from Moscow and traveled to Minsk state. Moscow, ”Simpson said. “In one, he said he worked for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry; in the other, he said he worked for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Millian, who Simpson said was trained as a linguist, told ABC in July 2016 that he was “one of those very few people with extensive knowledge of Kremlin politics who has the ability to understand the Russian mentality and who was able to integrate successfully into American society. “

Millian and the Trump campaign

Millian was apparently also trying to fit into Trump’s campaign team.

Millian told associates in 2016 that he was in regular contact with George Papadopoulos – a foreign policy campaign adviser who pleaded guilty last fall to making false statements to the FBI about the extent and nature of his contacts with foreign nationals linked to the Kremlin.

Papadopoulos attempted to hook up another Trump aide, Boris Epshteyn, with Millian in September 2016, according to the Washington Post. Epshteyn said the meeting never took place.

Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner was copied from emails between Millian and Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen. These emails, according to Kushner’s attorney, consisted of Cohen urging Millian to stop talking to the press.

Simpson, however, suggested the Millian-Cohen connection ran deeper.

Michael cohen

Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, arrives at Trump Tower in New York City.Stephanie Keith / Reuters

“As time went on we found [Millian] was related to Michael Cohen, the president’s lawyer, ”Simpson told the House committee. “Michael Cohen was very adamant that he had no connection with Sergi, even though he was one of 100 people who followed Sergi on Twitter. . And they – we had Twitter messages between the two of them just – we just took them off Twitter. “

Millian did not return a request for comment. Cohen told Business Insider earlier this month that the last time he spoke to Millian was in November 2016, days before the election, in which they exchanged “4-6 emails. “. He said he didn’t have access to the emails but offered to share their content later.

Millian also worked with Rossotrudnichestvo, a Russian government organization whose “fundamental” objective is to familiarize “young people from different countries” with Russian culture through exchange trips to Moscow. The FBI has investigated whether Rossotrudnichestvo is a front for the Russian government to cultivate “promising young Americans as Russian intelligence assets” – a theory Rossotrudnichestvo has firmly denied.

Simpson mentioned Millian’s work for Rossotrudnichestvo in his testimony, noting that the organization landed on FBI radar for allegedly conducting recruiting operations. Last January, however, Millian told Mother Jones that he “had never had any business with Rossotrudnichestvo”. He did not respond to Business Insider’s requests for clarification.

Millian and the file

Although Millian was not directly named in the version of the dossier published by BuzzFeed last January, he was “someone important,” Simpson said.

ABC reported last January that a version of the file “provided to the FBI included Millian’s name as a source.” Millian denied being the “D” or “E” source on the record. More doubts about Millian’s connection to the case emerged in a federal indictment of November 3, 2021 that accused Igor Danchenko, a Russian expert who contributed to the Steele case, of lying to investigators about the receipt of information for the case by Millian.

Source D, according to the file, had been “present” for alleged “Trump’s perverse behavior in Moscow.”

Source E, meanwhile, “admitted that the Russian regime was behind the recent leak of embarrassing emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to the WikiLeaks platform,” according to the file.

Source E also claimed that the Trump campaign and Russia had moles within the Democratic Party; that US-based “cyber operators” were coordinating attacks against the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta; and that these operators were paid secretly through Russian “diplomatic staff” in “key” US cities through Russia’s emigrant retirement system.

The same source is quoted in the file as saying the Trump campaign was “relatively relaxed” about attention to Trump’s alleged ties to Russia “because it distracted media and Democrat attention from trade relations. of Trump in China “.

Millian has worked as “vice president of the World Association of Chinese Traders” since 2015, according to his LinkedIn page. He wrote last April that he had traveled to Beijing to meet with a Chinese official and the Russian ambassador to the Republic of San Marino.

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