- Haitian businessman builds lobby team for fundraising, US support for presidential run
- New York law firm registers $12 million debt work for Mexico
- BGR signs $20,000-a-month contract with Kurdistan Regional Government
- S-3 still working for Azerbaijan
- Akin Gump picks up more business with Japan embassy
- National Education Association embraces Armenia genocide education
Haitian businessman builds lobby team for fundraising, US support for presidential run
Haitian businessman-turned-opposition figure Reginald Boulos is building a US lobbying team to garner financial support from the diaspora and political backing from the American government as he looks to replace President Jovenel Moise.
Read the story here.
New lobbying filings
Mexico: New York law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has disclosed a four-year, $12 million contract with Mexico’s Ministry of Finance and Public Credit to help the country with its external public debt. The contract dates to December 2019 but the firm just registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) because it will “begin performing registrable activities on behalf of foreign principal on or after May 25, 2021,” according to the disclosure. Those activities include advising the ministry on “engaging with state and federal government officials,” and Cleary Gottlieb “may conduct outreach to such officials directly.” The firm is expected to provide “state and federal government affairs advice and consulting services … with respect to proposed sovereign debt restructuring legislation.” The contract runs until the end of 2023.
The firm has registered six people on the account:
- Partner Carmine Boccuzzi;
- Partner Richard Cooper;
- Associate Stephanie Fontana;
- Partner Nicolas Grabar;
- Law clerk Nicholas Koeppen; and
- Attorney Boaz Morag.
Azerbaijan: Washington public relations firm the S-3 Group is still working for Azerbaijan although its contract formally ended at the end of last year, according to a new lobbying filing. The firm disclosed receiving $120,000 in the six months through April from Baku-based Investment Corporation, LLC to “create and place earned and digital media to further diplomacy.” The company is believed to be a front for the Azerbaijani government and has hired S-3 to help defend Baku’s role in last year’s conflict with Armenia over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Japan: The Embassy of Japan has hired Akin Gump for a total of $50,000 from April 1 through March 31, 2022, to provide “advice and assistance in connection with the normal business of the Japanese Embassy and other matters as required.” The contract is in addition to the firm’s existing $600,000-a-year contract with the embassy, which focuses on trade and economic matters. Akin Gump partner Scott Parven signed the contract for the firm. Akin Gump has represented the Japanese embassy since 2011.
Japan: Atlanta government relations firm Taylor English Decisions has registered executive administrator Sandy Riordan on its $40,000-a-year account with the Japanese consulate in Atlanta. Public affairs consultant Daraka Satcher was terminated from the account on April 30.
Malaysia (Jho Low): Kobre & Kim has terminated consultant Yakir Hyman from its account with fugitive Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho, also known as Jho Low, effective March 18. Hyman had provided “digital search strategies and analytics related to various ongoing legal proceedings” for the firm since October 2018.
A New York-based firm specializing in “disputes and investigations involving international fraud and misconduct,” Kobre & Kim has served as Low’s lead law firm for years as he fights international charges that he embezzled $4.5 billion from Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. The firm has disclosed $5.4 million in revenues for non-legal work (ie, lobbying and public relations) on behalf of Jho Low requiring disclosure under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
|Revealed: Kuwaiti royal, Thai tycoon underwrote 1MDB fugitive’s $3.4 million influence campaign|
Bulgaria: A Bulgarian couple that has accused that country’s government of trying to steal from their wine-making business have renewed their lobbying contract with the Alexandria Group for $90,000 for the six months from May 1 through October 31. The firm, founded by former State Department official Marshall Harris, began representing Vinprom Karnobat owners Minyu Staykov and Reni Staykova last year after Staykov was accused of embezzling European Union funds for rural development. Harris also represents the owners of Bulgaria’s Prista Oil motor oil company, which he says are also victims of the Bulgarian government’s alleged “state criminal capture” of private enterprise.
Anti-corruption protests have rocked the Balkan country for months, leading to the ruling party’s drubbing in elections last month and the resignation of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov. Meanwhile a law firm for media tycoon-turned-lawmaker Delyan Peevski hired the BGR Group in December to help its client with “issues in the US” amid widespread corruption allegations against Peevski. That agreement is for $30,000 per month for six months.
Iraq (Kurdistan Regional Government): The US office of the Kurdistan Regional Government has signed a new lobbying contract with BGR Government Affairs for the 2021 calendar year. The contract is for $20,000 per month. This is the first new contract with the KRG that BGR has filed under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) since its original $700,000-a-year engagement with the US office in 2005.
Qatar: Qatar PR firm Proof Strategies helped distribute a new report from the American Security Project, a Washington think tank, calling for continued US strategic engagement in the Persian Gulf. The report was followed by a webinar today featuring Khalid al-Khater, the director of Planning and Policy Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Qatar. Proof Strategies has advised and assisted the embassy with its public communications and helped monitor media coverage since May 2020 for $71,000 per month.
Caught our eye
China: The US Justice Department has told casino mogul Steve Wynn to register as a foreign lobbyist in connection with his 2017 efforts to convince the Donald Trump administration to send businessman Guo Wengui back to China and is preparing to go to court to force him to comply, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Armenia: The National Education Association (NEA), the US teachers’ trade union, embraced Armenian genocide education in a letter to the Armenian National Committee of America. Genocide education is a top advocacy priority for the Armenian diaspora following President Joe Biden‘s recognition of the genocide last month, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian told Foreign Lobby Report in an in-depth interview.
Read the letter below: