Friday, September 16, 2016

Media Host Trump Adviser Boris Epshteyn On Russia Without Disclosing His Business Ties

 ERIC HANANOKI/Media Matters


Media outlets have been hosting Donald Trump senior adviser Boris Epshteyn, who has used the platform to defend Russian President Vladimir Putin from criticism and to claim that the Clintons, not Trump, have “been way too cozy with the Russians.” Outlets have failed to disclose during discussions about Russia that Epshteyn has financial ties to the former Soviet Union, which include consulting for “entities doing business in Eastern Europe” and moderating a Russian-sponsored conference on "investment opportunities in Moscow.” 

Epshteyn States He Provides Services For “Entities Doing Business In Eastern Europe”

Boris Epshteyn Is A Senior Adviser To The Trump Campaign. Epshteyn is an investment banker who serves as a senior adviser to Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign. He has also regularly appeared in the media as a Republican pundit. [Twitter.com, accessed 9/15/16]
Epshteyn’s Business Activities: “Relationship Management And/Or Consulting Services For Entities Doing Business In Eastern Europe.” According to his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck file, Epshteyn helps entities conduct business in Eastern Europe through Strategy International, LLC. From the file:
Other Business Activities
This section includes information, if any, as provided by the broker regarding other business activities the broker is currently engaged in either as a proprietor, partner, officer, director, employee, trustee, agent or otherwise. This section does not include non-investment related activity that is exclusively charitable, civic, religious or fraternal and is recognized as tax exempt.
1)SINCE MAY 2009, STRATEGY INTERNATIONAL, LLC AND AFFILIATED ENTITY SMETANKA LLC […] (A)PROVIDE RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT AND/OR CONSULTING SERVICES FOR ENTITIES DOING BUSINESS IN EASTERN EUROPE. THE BUSINESS CONDUCTED BY THOSE ENTITIES MAY HAVE AN INVESTMENT-RELATED COMPONENT, ALTHOUGH STRATEGY ITSELF DOES NOT PROVIDE INVESTMENT-RELATED SERVICES - 10 HOURS PER WEEK - MAY BE DURING TRADING HOURS; [Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, accessed 9/15/16
Epshteyn’s LinkedIn Says He Provides “Consulting And Liaising Services For For [sic] Domestic And International Transactions With A Focus On Eastern Europe An [sic] Former Soviet Union.” [LinkedIn, accessed 9/15/16]

Epshteyn Moderated 2013 Panel At Russian-Sponsored Conference With Russian Officials

Epshteyn Moderated “Invest In Moscow!” Panel With Russian Officials. Epshteyn moderated an October 28, 2013, panel at the “Invest In Moscow!” conference, during which Russian government officials provided “an overview of the principal investment opportunities in Moscow.” Panelists included several Russian officials including Sergey Cheremin, minister of the Moscow city government and Head of Moscow's Department for Foreign Economic and International Relations. From the event’s program (emphasis in original):
Moderator
Boris Epshteyn, Managing Director of Business and Legal Affairs at TGP Securities Inc.
Panelists:
1. Sergey Cheremin, Minister of the Moscow city government and Head of Moscow's Department for Foreign Economic and International Relations.
2. Andrew Somers, American Chamber of Commerce in Russia President and CEO.
3. Anatoly Valetov, Deputy Head of the Moscow City Department for External Economic and International Relations.
4. Evgeny Dridze, Deputy Head of the Moscow City Department for External Economic and International Relations.
5. Leonid Kostroma, Deputy Director of Moscow City Investment Agency.
Express Panel Topics:
− Moscow: The window to investing in Russia.
− The property complex owned by Moscow as a potential venue for various  investment projects.
− Industry in Moscow: where to set up manufacturing and where to find employees.
− Investments in social infrastructure, energy, and housing and public  utilities – a new trend in Moscow’s investment policy.
− Foreign business experience in Moscow. [The Huffington Post, 8/12/16; Moscowrfny.org, accessed 9/15/16]
Huffington Post: Trump “Keeps A Lot Of People With Financial And Political Ties To The Country Close At Hand,” Including Epshteyn. [The Huffington Post, 8/12/16
Moscow City Government Sponsored “Invest In Moscow!” EventThe event’s page listed the Moscow city government’s Department for Foreign Economic and International Relations as a sponsor for the event. The event’s Facebook page also said that the event received a  “generous sponsorship” from the Moscow city government and featured presentations by a high-level Moscow city government delegation on investment opportunities in Russia's capital to an audience of American business and financial leaders.”
[Moscowrfny.org, accessed 9/15/16, Facebook, 10/31/13]

Media Regularly Fail To Disclose Epshteyn’s Business Ties While Hosting Him To Discuss Russia

CNN’s New Day Saturday Hosted Epshteyn To Talk About U.S. And Russia Without Business Ties Disclosure. Epshteyn appeared on New Day Saturday, where he was identified as a “senior adviser to the Trump campaign.” During the segment, Epshteyn criticized Clinton’s policy toward Russia and claimed she is “a complete unhinged warmonger” and is trying to “start a war” with Russia. He later criticized Clinton for her rhetoric about Putin, which he characterized as “negative, negative, negative” and “absolutely not productive.” [CNN, New Day Saturday, 9/10/16, via CNN.com]
PBS Newshour Hosted Epshteyn To Talk About “How The Candidates View U.S.-Russia Relations” Without Disclosing Business Ties. During its September 8 program, PBS Newshour hosted Epshteyn but did not note his business ties. Host Judy Woodruff stated: “Boris Epshteyn, he advises the Trump campaign. He emigrated to the United States from Russia in the early 1990s. He’s a lawyer specializing in investment banking and finance and he worked for John McCain’s campaign for president.” During the segment, he claimed that “it’s actually the Clintons who have been way too cozy with the Russians.” [PBS, PBS Newshour, 9/8/16, viaPBS.org]
Epshteyn Appeared On CNN Newsroom Without Business Ties Disclosure, Claimed “Russia Did Not Seize Crimea.” Epshteyn appeared on the July 31 edition of CNN Newsroom, where he was identified as a Trump surrogate. CNN did not note his business ties to Russia. During the appearance, Epshteyn stated: “First of all, Russia did not seize Crimea. We could talk about the conflict that happened between the Ukraine and Crimea, it’s an ongoing conflict, but there was no seizure by Russia. That is an incorrect statement, characterization of what happened.” [CNN, CNN Newsroom8/31/16; Talking Points Memo, 9/1/16]
Epshteyn Appeared On Fox News To Talk Russia Without Disclosure About His Russian Business Ties.Epshteyn appeared on Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures and claimed liberals linking Trump to Russia is a "ridiculous narrative by the left."  He added that the "Clintons are the ones that have real connections to Russia." Fox News did not disclose Epshteyn’s business ties to Russia. [Fox News, Sunday Morning Futures,8/14/16The Hill8/14/16
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