David Pressman's alleged role in aiding Russian oligarch to evade sanctions

2023. október 19. 13:56

The US diplomat, who recently lectured Hungary for maintaining relations with Russia, may have ties to Mikhail Prokhorov.

2023. október 19. 13:56
David Pressman, az Egyesölt államok budapesti nagykövete országa zászlójával a kezében a 28. Budapest Pride résztvevői között a Városligetben 2023. július 15-én.

In his asset declaration worth millions of dollars, the US ambassador openly acknowledged that he had received funds from an associate of Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov. What remains uncertain, however, is the precise nature of the legal services provided by David Pressman to the pro-Putin financier's associates, enabling them to successfully evade sanctions. What is certain, though, is that this collaboration has significantly boosted the diplomat's earnings, despite his consistent criticism of Hungary.

Mysterious legal services

The US diplomat, who recently lectured Hungary for maintaining relations with Russia, may have ties to Mikhail Prokhorov, one of Russia's ten wealthiest individuals. International press reports suggest that Mr Prokhorov is successfully sidestepping the adverse impacts of economic sanctions.

Before his appointment to our country, Hungary, David Pressman spent two years working at the law firm Jenner&Block, which,

according to its website, has extensive experience in international sanctions and export regulations.

Mr Pressman's assets declaration was published after the diplomat's ambassadorial assignment. In it, he revealed that he, as an employee of Jenner&Block, had provided legal services to a woman named Ellen Pinchuk, who is none other than the person in charge of managing Mikhail Prokhorov's US dealings.

In 2010, the Russian oligarch acquired the Brooklyn Nets, a professional NBA team, and it was Ellen Pinchuk, a fluent Russian speaker, who played a pivotal role in organizing Mr Prokhorov's US media appearances and image-building for this deal. Her efforts were so successful that the oligarch has garnered positive exposure, including a favorable spotlight on the renowned American '60 Minutes' program, and a positive profile piece in The New York Times.

Russian dollar carries no scent, either

According to information in the international press,

Mr Prokhorov has skillfully evaded international sanctions aimed at Russian billionaires,

proactively preparing for the tightening and extension of punitive measures initiated in 2014. The tycoon's determination to avoid sanctions is evident, as he recently obtained Israeli citizenship, presumably with a view to eluding such punitive measures. Consequently, it comes as no surprise that there are calls from Ukrainians for Mr Prokhorov to face sanctions from the international community.

Given the above, it can hardly be a coincidence that David Pressman, as an associate in a law firm specializing in sanctions law at a high level, had Mr Prokhorov's confidant as a client in the period before the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war.

The U.S. ambassador's asset declaration doesn't specify the duration or fees for the legal services provided to Ellen Pinchuk. Hoever, it is clear that these negotiations occurred between 2020 and 2022, just months before the outbreak of the war. What's more, Mr Pressman's involvement in the Russian contract, despite his consistent criticisms of Hungary, brought the US diplomat significant financial gains,

amassing nearly two million dollars in less than two years during his tenure at Jenner&Block.

Double standards, Pressman style

Mr Pressman, who readily accepted funds from a close confidant of Mikhail Prokhorov, has been a vocal critic of our country, particularly regarding economic sanctions that target Russia but also harm Europe. In a striking instance of these double standards, in April this year, the US ambassador announced sanctions against the Budapest-based International Investment Bank and three of its senior officials.

At the time, the diplomat said:

„We have concerns about the continued eagerness of Hungarian leaders to expand and deepen ties with the Russian Federation despite Russia’s ongoing brutal aggression against Ukraine and threat to transatlantic security.  Close economic engagement with Russia feeds the Russian war machine, which threatens transatlantic security.”

But the Hungarian government has already been criticized by Mr Pressman not only for seeking normal relations with Russia, but also for promoting peace. On the anniversary of the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine war, he said „there is not a peace camp and a war camp. There is only Russia and those who will not acknowledge its accountability for continuing this war.”


Cover photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás


Összesen 8 komment

A kommentek nem szerkesztett tartalmak, tartalmuk a szerzőjük álláspontját tükrözi. Mielőtt hozzászólna, kérjük, olvassa el a kommentszabályzatot.
Nehidd El
2023. október 19. 21:29
It is clearer and clearer every day that Mr. Pressmann was not delegated to Budapest by the US State Department as an ambassador but as a subversion agent.
2023. október 19. 18:36
"The tycoon's determination to avoid sanctions is evident, as he recently obtained Israeli citizenship," How surprising. It will quickly turn out that the author of the article is a blood-handed anti-Semite. Why should that poor Jewish person be sanctioned? After all, only his citizenship is Russian and otherwise he's part of the ruling race. There's no room for criticism here or the hyena-chorus will start howling.
2023. október 19. 18:32
Értékelem, hogy megkönnyítették Pressmannak az olvasást...
2023. október 19. 15:27
Hey, Mr! Keep your passport in your pocket!
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