A current FBI raid in Ohio impressed a rash of social media posts repromoting a debunked conspiracy idea about Ukraine and several other distinguished politicians.
One submit was published by a Fb web page referred to as Q Pin on Aug. 5. “Q” is a reference to QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory that claims the Trump administration is investigating members of the “deep state” for his or her involvement in pedophile rings.
The submit features a screenshot of a tweeted video that exhibits FBI brokers going by way of bins in an workplace.
“The FBI raiding a Cleveland workplace linked to Ukraine,” reads a caption on the video. “(Joe) Biden, (Nancy) Pelosi, (John) Kerry and (Mitt) Romney all had sons getting tens of tens of millions of dollars from no-show jobs in Ukraine.”
The submit was flagged as a part of Fb’s efforts to fight false information and misinformation on its Information Feed. (Learn extra about our partnership with Facebook.) It has been shared greater than 17,000 occasions, and we discovered similar versions shared by different QAnon-related accounts.
(Screenshot from Fb)
The footage within the video comes from news coverage of a current FBI raid in downtown Cleveland. However what does that need to do with Ukraine? And the way are American politicians concerned?
Briefly: They aren’t. Let’s break it down.
First: the raid.
On Aug. four, brokers with the FBI and the Inner Income Service raided workplaces in Miami and Cleveland that belong to Optima Administration Group LLC. Optima is a Miami investment company that has properties throughout the nation.
The raid was a part of a cash laundering investigation that’s been occurring for greater than a yr.
“The affidavit is underneath seal so I can’t present any specifics relating to the investigation,” FBI Particular Agent Vicki Anderson stated in an electronic mail. “I can say nobody was taken into custody. This continues to be an ongoing investigation.”
Subsequent: the Ukraine connection.
The Cleveland Plain Seller reports that Optima is partially owned by principals of the Privat Group, a big enterprise group based mostly in Ukraine. A kind of principals is Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky
Within the early 1990s, Kolomoisky based PrivatBank. It turned a key banking establishment within the nation, serving about half of Ukraine’s inhabitants.
In 2016, the federal government nationalized the corporate, claiming that it didn’t have sufficient capital to help its mortgage portfolio. The Monetary Occasions reported that PrivatBank lent billions of dollars to Kolomoisky associates.
In April 2019, the Day by day Beast reported that the FBI was investigating Kolomoisky — who not owns PrivatBank and reportedly lives in Israel — for potential monetary crimes, together with cash laundering. The U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace within the Northern District of Ohio was additionally a part of the investigation since Kolomoisky has investments there.
In early August, the Justice Division accused Kolomoisky of stealing billions of dollars from PrivatBank and utilizing an array of firms all over the world, together with some in the USA, to launder the cash. Kolomoisky’s lawyer has denied the allegations.
However how is all that associated to Ukraine extra broadly?
President Volodymyr Zelensky is a former comedian, and Kolomoisky owns the TV station that used to air his present. Kolomoisky is taken into account to be a Zelensky ally.
Which brings us to the third a part of the Fb submit: the connection — or lack thereof — to American politicians.
In 2019, a cellphone name with Zelensky was the subject of President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The investigation was prompted by a whistleblower’s criticism concerning the July 2019 name, throughout which Trump requested Zelensky to analyze the Biden household’s dealings in Ukraine.
Hunter Biden served as a board member for Burisma, a Ukrainian vitality firm, from 2014 till the spring of 2019. He did so when his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, was representing U.S. coverage on the nation.
There’s no proof to counsel that the sons of Kerry and Romney ever held related positions. We rated a similar claim False in October 2019.
Pelosi’s son, Paul, as soon as served on the board of an American vitality firm, Viscoil, that dissolved and re-formed in Singapore underneath a unique title. It’s unclear to what extent the corporate has finished enterprise in Ukraine, however Paul Pelosi had no half within the new entity.
Again to the Fb submit.
It’s appropriate to say that an organization linked to Ukraine was lately raided by the FBI. However there isn’t any proof that the sons of Biden, Pelosi, Kerry and Romney acquired “tens of tens of millions of dollars from no-show jobs in Ukraine.” They’re all unrelated to the continued investigation of Kolomoisky’s alleged cash laundering.
The submit is inaccurate. We price it False.