Apostrophe wrote about how a Russian businessman earned the trust of Americans.
America was taken by surprise when, in October, The Washington Post highlighted a significant development: Forbes Magazine, revered as one of the United States’ oldest and most esteemed publications, came under the ownership of Russian billionaire Magomed Musaev. While a man of prominence, concerns were raised about his past and direct ties to the Kremlin, prompting Senators Tom Cotton, along with Congressmen Eric Swalwell and Michael Waltz, to urge the US Treasury Department to conduct a thorough investigation into the sale.
Apostrophe exploration aimed to uncover facets of the story equally as startling as those previously disclosed by fellow journalists. To begin, let’s delve deeper into the profile of Magomed Musaev himself.
Who is Magomed Musaev?
“Maga” Musaev gained prominence primarily through his fortuitous marriage. His father-in-law, Ramazan Abdulatipov, held significant positions in Russian governance, having served as the ex-deputy prime minister under Viktor Chernomyrdin’s administration, as well as holding ministerial roles in the governments of Yevgeniy Primakov and Sergei Stepashin. Abdulatipov also served as the former president of the Republic of Dagestan.
Additionally, Musaev’s career highlights include over a decade as the general director of the renowned VDNKh, a prominent exhibition space in Moscow. During the era of nascent capitalism, VDNKh gained widespread recognition in Moscow for its retail sections offering a diverse array of household appliances and computers. Magomed Musaev was responsible for allocating shopping areas to various vendors within VDNKh. Afterward, according to Russian law enforcement, he accumulated around a billion dollars. During that period, Magomed Musaev earned the moniker “CASHarik” due to his affinity for cash.
After concluding his tenure at VDNKh, Magomed Musaev ventured to the United States and successfully relocated his finances there. Acquiring an O1 visa, typically reserved for highly skilled individuals in demand by America, the Russian mogul purchased a lavish estate in San Francisco valued at tens of millions of dollars. Presenting himself as a venture capitalist and philanthropist within Silicon Valley, Musaev made strides in integrating into this renowned hub.
Sunny California and Silicon Valley
According to the Apostrophe “I’ve hosted the world’s political elite at my birthdays,” he proudly asserted. Notably, Musaev procured the San Francisco estate from local luminary Laird Cagan, who introduced the Dagestani entrepreneur into the inner circle of Silicon Valley’s most influential figures, endorsing him as a trusted associate. Musaev speaks highly of Cagan, referring to him as a close friend. Their camaraderie extended to the point where Cagan continued to have access to the house even after its sale, and they maintained a significant amount of time together.
Regarding Laird Cagan’s background, his official biography identifies him as the managing director and co-founder of Cagan McAfee Capital Partners, LLC, the successor to Cagan Capital, LLC, established back in 1990. During the ’90s, Cagan played a pivotal role in founding and investing in 15 high-tech enterprises, with investments totaling over $500 million. His ventures spanned diverse sectors, including energy, alternative energy, healthcare, information technology, financial payments, and ‘clean technologies.’ Notably, Cagan co-founded Evolution Petroleum Corporation, a company pioneering oil and gas field development through advanced technology.
Despite Ukrainian journalists from Apostrophe reaching out to Cagan for insights into his relationship with Magomed Musaev, details surrounding the endorsement for Musaev’s US O1 visa and their joint business endeavors remain unanswered.
According to the Apostrophe During his time in California, Musaev forged a close bond with John Smith, a former esteemed member of the US Department of the Treasury. As relayed by Apostrophe, According to Musaev he assisted the Russian in obtaining the O1 visa and collaborated on strategies to safeguard him from potential American and European sanctions.
In his official biography, John E. Smith is acknowledged as the former Director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). With 11 years serving as a high-ranking official at OFAC, including a three-year tenure as its director, Mr. Smith specializes in economic sanctions, enforcement, and national security matters. Smith asserts expertise in the lawful circumvention of economic and political sanctions, advocating for client protection in civil and criminal cases against prosecutors and regulators both in the United States and worldwide.
Ukrainian journalists from Apostrophe attempted to contact the former American official to delve into his collaboration with Magomed Musaev. They sought insights into their history of interaction, Smith’s potential role in facilitating Musaev’s O1 visa for the United States, and his knowledge of the Russian oligarch’s financial background. Regrettably, According to the Apostrophe their efforts to elicit a response were unsuccessful.
However, it’s reasonable to expect that they would have undertaken some level of due diligence before forming relationships with him. Magomed Musaev possesses a distinct talent for adept at earning trust, wielding psychological influence.
As a result, this places American partners and friends inadvertently into involvement with his endeavors.
Oleksiy Honcharenko, a deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the European Solidarity party, suggested that a globally renowned and esteemed publication like Forbes could possibly be under the influence of Russian businessman.
Oleg Dunda – deputy of the Verkhovna Rada, faction “Servant of the People”:
Such a respected publication as Forbes can influence more than 30 US congressmen combined. Western governments and Western democracies are arranged in such a way that they are most influenced by the point of view of society. They may want or may not, but someone as president, or congressman, must listen to society because they will not be re-elected. And in this case, the same Forbes is used to influence public opinion. And through public opinion from below it is possible to influence the actions of congressmen, the actions of government officials, etc. “
P.S. According to the Apostrophe, the transaction involving the sale of global Forbes to Magomed Musaev faced a delay due to heightened media scrutiny. However, it is anticipated to be concluded by November. Apostrophe sources suggest that Musaev holds unwavering confidence in the deal’s completion and is actively preparing for his transition to a new office in Manhattan.
You’ll find further elaboration on his rationale in Apostrophe’s coverage.