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Report: DOJ Did Not Interview FBI Informant in Russian Nuclear Bribery Case

Report: DOJ Did Not Interview FBI Informant in Russian Nuclear Bribery Case
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (AP)

By    |   Monday, 04 December 2017 08:24 AM

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's office, when he was Maryland's chief federal prosecutor, failed to interview the FBI's undercover informant in the Russian nuclear bribery case ahead of them filing criminal charges in 2014, officials told The Hill.

The officials added that the prosecutors handed up an indictment that portrayed the informant as a "victim" of the Russian corruption plan, and did not review — until months later — extensive documents that the informant possessed.

Officials told The Hill they learned more from informant William Campbell after more debriefings in 2015, which led to prosecutors changing their case against Vadim Mikerin, a former Russian uranium industry executive.

Nonetheless, the case proved that Rosatom, the Russian-state owned nuclear energy agency, was involved in criminal activity starting in 2009, before the Obama administration made decisions that benefited Rosatom, the report said.

The conduct of the prosecutors in the case is at issue thanks to the revelations, according to The Hill, now that Rosenstein is the No. 2 official in the Justice Department and supervises the special counsel probe into Russian tampering in the election.

"I've never heard of such a case unless the victim is dead. I've never heard of prosecutors making a major case and not talking to the victim before you made it, especially when he was available to them through the FBI," said Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law professor, according to The Hill. 

"It is negligence, and I'm sure there will be internal issues with the Justice Department and U.S. attorney for making such an obvious mistake," Dershowitz added. 

Justice Department officials said they knew that Campbell had been involved in a bribery scheme controlled by the FBI, which gave him permission to pay kickbacks to Russians as part of the investigation, but they declined to say why they portrayed Campbell as a "victim" of an extortion scheme.

One source said the case was changed to money laundering after the 2015 debriefings. Mikerin eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of money laundering conspiracy, and was sentenced in Dec. 2015 to 48 months in jail, The Hill's report said.

Now Congress is probing the entire Russian nuclear bribery case, seeking information about whether the FBI told the Obama administration about Mikerin before the administration made deals with Rosatom that awarded nuclear fuel contracts to the agency, according to The Hill.

Campbell confirmed to Reuters in November that he is the informant who will testify and give documents to Congress about the Obama administration's approval of the sale of the Uranium One company to Rosatom.

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's office, when he was Maryland's chief federal prosecutor, failed to interview the FBI's undercover informant in the Russian nuclear bribery case ahead of them filing criminal charges in 2014, officials told The Hill.
officials, doj, russia, nuclear, bribery, case
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2017-24-04
Monday, 04 December 2017 08:24 AM
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