U.S. Lobbying Firms Terminate Contracts with Sanctioned Russian Enterprises, Banks

 A number of United States lobbying firms have terminated contracts with Russian banks and enterprises that President Joe Biden recently sanctioned.

Two U.S. lobbying firms, Roberti Global and BGR Government Affairs, ended their contracts with the company Nord Stream 2 AG, which backs the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline in Europe, Politico reports. Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom owns all of Swiss-based Nord Stream 2 AG’s equity interest, Roberti Global stated in a filing. Biden announced sanctions against Nord Stream 2 AG on Wednesday after having  lifted sanctions on the pipeline (which were imposed by former President Donald J. Trump) in May, Breitbart News reported.

A Roberti Global spokesperson told Politico the company’s termination of their relationship with the Nord Stream project was done to comply with the sanctions.

Last year, the only firm member registered to lobby on behalf of Nord Stream 2 AG was Roberti Global’s Chair Vin Roberti, Politico reports. In 2021, Nord Stream 2 AG paid the firm $2.4 million. Roberti was an unofficial advisor to the failed 2008 Biden presidential campaign, according to the outlet.

BGR Government Affairs also ended its contract with Nord Stream 2 AG, which paid the firm $870,000 in 2021, Politico reports, citing lobbying disclosure filings.

BGR spokesman Jeffrey H. Birnbaum echoed Roberti Global’s explanation. Walker Roberts, a White House staffer for the Reagan Administration, lobbied for the firm on behalf of Nord Stream 2 AG on issues regarding the U.S. stance on the pipeline, Politico reports. 

Per the outlet, additional U.S. firms are severing ties with Russian banks and enterprises: 

The law firm Sidley Austin also moved to end its relationship with a Russian client, VTB Bank, which also found itself sanctioned by the Biden administration. A firm spokesperson told POLITICO in a statement on Friday that “VTB Group is no longer a client of Sidley Austin LLP in compliance with U.S. sanctions.” In an announcement of new sanctions on Thursday, which included the onetime Sidley Austin client, the Treasury Department said that VTB Bank — Russia’s second largest financial institution — was “one of the largest financial institutions Treasury has ever blocked.”

Mercury Public Affairs cut ties with its Russian clients on Friday as well. The lobbying firm has represented En+ Group, the Russian energy and mining conglomerate formerly controlled by sanctioned oligarch Oleg Deripaska since May of 2019, but told POLITICO it was terminating its contract with the company. En+ has avoided sanctions thus far as the White House has sought to spare the energy sector for the time being. Mercury is also parting ways with Russia’s Sovcombank, which had hired the firm last month to avert U.S. sanctions. Sovcombank was one of several financial institutions hit with penalties on Thursday.

Geopolitical Solutions, a firm also known as Geopols that is registered with the Department of Justice on behalf of Vnesheconombank, moved to formally terminate its relationship with the bank on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the matter. That same day, the administration announced sanctions on the Vnesheconombank, Promsvyazbank and 42 of their subsidiaries. The Treasury Department said that those two entities were “state-owned institutions that play specific roles to prop up Russia’s defense capability and its economy.”

Another lobbying firm, McLarty Inbound, did not have a contract with Nord Stream 2 AG but did have lobbying contracts with the pipeline’s five investors, which the firm ended Wednesday, according to Politico. Since 2017, the firm had received $3.5 million from the investors, CNN reports.

U.S. Lobbying Firms Terminate Contracts with Sanctioned Russian Enterprises, Banks U.S. Lobbying Firms Terminate Contracts with Sanctioned Russian Enterprises, Banks Reviewed by Your Destination on February 27, 2022 Rating: 5

No comments