Fifteen months before the 13 members of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, known as CFIUS, approved the sale of the Canadian company Uranium One to Russia’s nuclear arm giant Rosatom, the FBI began investigating persons who were connected to the Russian state corporation. The FBI said in court documents and in interviews conducted by Circa that by 2010 they had gathered enough evidence to prove that Rosatom-connected officials were engaged in a global bribery schedule that included kickbacks and money laundering. FBI officials said the investigation could have prevented the sale of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium supply under U.S. law.
The deal which required approval by CFIUS, an inter-agency committee who reviews transactions that leads to a change of control of a U.S. business to a foreign person or entity that may have an impact on the national security of the United States. At the time of the Uranium One deal the panel was chaired by then-Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and included then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-Attorney General Eric Holder.
By the time CFIUS approved the sale of Uranium One to Rosatom the FBI’s investigation had already gathered substantial evidence of bribery and kickbacks against a Russian national, Vadim Mikerin, who was then a top official with Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary, according to court documents. The FBI said while at Tenex, which was located in Maryland, Mikerin was involved in multiple bribery and kickback schemes.
In a 2015 affidavit, FBI officials said Mikerin, “with the consent of higher level officials at Tenex and Rosatom (both Russian state-owned entities), would offer no-bid contracts to U.S. businesses in exchange for kickbacks in the form of money...” made to offshore accounts, stated the affidavit in support of a search warrant. Mikerin pled guilty to the allegations.