Ian Telfer (Credit: Galit Rodan / Bloomberg News)
In 2009, a branch of Rosatom, a Russian company linked to the Russian government, buys a 17 percent stake in Uranium One, a Canadian mining company. In 2010, it wants to increase that to a controlling 51 percent stake. Some US politicians are concerned, because Uranium One owns uranium mines around the world, and uranium is a strategic asset due to its use in nuclear energy and nuclear weapons. For instance, Senator John Barrasso (R) writes to President Obama, saying the deal “would give the Russian government control over a sizable portion of America’s uranium production capacity. Equally alarming, this sale gives [them] a significant stake in uranium mines in Kazakhstan.”
According to the Clinton Foundation’s disclosure records, Ian Telfer, the Canadian head of Uranium One, donates less than $250,000 to the foundation, in 2007. However, Canadian tax records show that Telfer gives $2.4 million more from 2009 to 2012. Additional millions in donations are given around this time by other people with ties to Uranium One.
In June 2010, former President Bill Clinton is paid $500,000 to give a speech in Moscow, one of his highest speaking fees. He is paid by a Russian investment bank with ties to the Russian government. That same month, Rosatom makes its deal to get a majority stake in Uranium One. However, the deal can’t go forward without approval from a group of US cabinet officials called the Committee on Foreign Investment, including Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. In October 2010, the committee gives its approval. The committee’s decision-making process is shrouded in secrecy, but it is said the approval goes relatively smoothly.
By 2013, the Russian company will own 100% of Uranium One, and they will have control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the US. The New York Times will later comment, “Whether the donations played any role in the approval of the uranium deal is unknown. But the episode underscores the special ethical challenges presented by the Clinton Foundation, headed by a former president who relied heavily on foreign cash to accumulate $250 million in assets even as his wife helped steer American foreign policy as secretary of state, presiding over decisions with the potential to benefit the foundation’s donors.”
Furthermore, Canadian mining financier Frank Giustra built a company that later merged with Uranium One, and he gives at least $31 million to the Clinton Foundation. (The New York Times, 4/23/2015) In 2007, Giustra cofounded a Canadian offshoot of the Clinton Foundation called the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), which has been accused of being a “slush fund” that allows politically toxic foreign contributors to anonymously donate money to the Clinton Foundation in the hopes of gaining political influence with Bill and Hillary Clinton. (Harper’s Magazine, 11/17/2015) The secret donations from Telfer and others connected to Uranium One all appear to have gone through the CGEP. (The New York Times, 4/23/2015)