During his visit to New York, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with the businessman Sam Kislin. According to the Russian news outlet The Insider, Kislin has been trying to use his connections to Donald Trump’s close circle to get some of the funds the government confiscated from former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
A native of Odessa, Ukraine, and founder of the company Trans Commodities, Sam Kislin is an associate and patron of Trump’s advisor and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. At the same time, Kislin is believed to have close ties to Ukrainian and Russian organized crime. The FBI has linked him to “Little Japanese”, head of the Solntsevskaya organized crime group, and the brothers Michael and Lev Cherney from the Izmailovskaya group.
With such a background, Kislin attended Zelensky’s meeting with the US Jewish diaspora, and later attended another smaller meeting, where Zelensky was represented by Andriy Bohdan, Head of the Presidential Office.
On October 1, it was learned that US Congress had subpoenaed Kislin to testify alongside Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman. These US citizens of Ukrainian extraction are believed to have organized a meeting between Giuliani and Ukraine’s senior prosecutors last year in an attempt to have Joe Biden’s son investigated.
Kislin has admitted that he was the one who persuaded Giuliani to advise Trump to promote the story of corruption in Ukraine.
According to the journalists, Kislin has his own self-serving interest in getting Giuliani and Trump involved in this case. A source acquainted with Kislin told The Insider that his motivation is to reclaim assets that were frozen in Ukraine under Petro Poroshenko as part of the hunt for Yanukovych’s money. In 2014, Kislin bought the Cyprus-based company Opalcore Ltd for $8 million at a discount. $20 million in bonds was placed in his Ukrainian bank accounts, but these funds were seized. With accrued interest, the amount is now around $23 million. But the funds were never received – they were confiscated by order of the Kramatorsk District Court as part of the Yanukovych case. While Poroshenko was in power, Kislin was silent, but now, having connected with Zelensky through the diaspora, he has become very active.
In August, he suddenly arrived in Ukraine and gave an interview, positioning himself as someone who fought against corruption and against Poroshenko personally. Kislin’s allegations have been actively promoted by the pro-Russian media in Ukraine and also by Kremlin-controlled news outlets such as NTV, Novorossiya and Russkaya Vesna.