The Trump administration isn’t doing so great after both National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied about communications they shared with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Now one of Trump’s top campaign financiers also has a shady connection with Russia.
The largest donor to Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was Robert Mercer. Mercer, IBM computing pioneer, is also the co-CEO of a company called Renaissance Technologies LCC. Renaissance is a quantitive hedge fund, using complex algorithms to direct investment strategies.
It’s worth noting that Mercer was also the top donor to John Bolton Super PAC, which resulted in the funneling of millions of donation dollars into data analytics contractors. Those data analytics contractors used something called data mining in order to politically target millions of people with gathered from the individual’s online activity.
In 2016 Mercer also funded a data mining operation that was similar in favor of the Brexit campaign in the UK. According to Dealbreaker, the way in which the data mining was carried out most likely violated British campaign finance laws.
Donating to the Trump campaign is not Mercer’s first experience fundraising for the Republican party but the 2016 election saw him emerge as one of the top overall financial contributors.
Mercer did more than just fund Trump’s campaign, he recommended that Trump hire two of his top advisers, Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon.
During the 2016 presidential campaign it was already known that Mercer was a donor to the alt-right publication, Breitbart. It wasn’t discovered that he’s actually part owner until February 24, by a Buzzfeed reporter.
And we’re back. The owners of Breitbart are Solov, Andrew Breitbart’s widow, and the Mercer family
— Steven Perlberg (@perlberg) February 24, 2017
The likely reason for the risk Mercer took with his investments in both the Trump campaign and the Brexit campaign seems to be related to another risky investment that Mercer made in Russian telecommunications.
In 2014 it was reported that Mercer’s company, Renaissance Technologies, deepened it’s investments in two large Russian telecom companies, VimpelCom and Mobile TeleSystems.
VimpelCom is partially owned by Ukrainian-born billionaire Mikhail Fridman. Fridman’s name came up during recent investigations into Trump’s bizarre connection to the Russian government. The Trump-Russia dossier, that mentioned some lewd behavior on Trump’s part, also featured Fridman’s name.
Forbes advised that parts of the dossier, including parts mentioning Mikhail Fridman, should be investigated. The dossier makes the claim that Fridman had a long-standing relationship with Putin and Fridman shared information through U.S. business contacts.
Slate reported in October that investigators scanned internet servers Trump controlled, looking for evidence of hacking by Russian intelligence. Instead of finding evidence of hacking a server Trump set up in 2009, that was utilized for communications between a small list of other servers, was discovered. In fact, two servers registered to a company called Alfa Bank, had regular communications with the Trump Organization. 87 percent of all incoming communications were from Alfa Bank. Fridman is not only the chairman of Alfa Bank, he’s the co-founder.
This is alarming and raises questions like what information has Fridman and the Russian Government been privy to through Renaissance.
One of the companies Mercer invested in, VimpelCom, announced it’s transition from a telecom to a global technology company that will go by the name VEON.
Now the risky investment in the Russian telecom company Mercer chose to invest in, VimpelCom, seems to be heading toward a heavy payday. One could speculate that Mercer had information about the future no one else could foresee, like he somehow knew that relations between Russia and the U.S. would warm exponentially.
With Brexit and Trump’s election the payday for the billionaires who invested in the data mining business arrangement is massive. VEON, formerly VimpelCom, plans to become “a revolutionary mobile internet platform that integrates powerful data analytics and artificial intelligence.”
The connection between Mercer, Fridman, Trump, and the Russian government is beyond shady and during the course of the investigation (that needs to take place) it’s only a matter of time before Mercer’s name emerges.
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