FBI: Donor To Giuliani And Schumer Has Mob Ties
NEW YORK - A campaign contributor to Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and Sen. Charles Schumer has been identified by the FBI as a member of a Russian crime syndicate whose company has laundered millions of dollars.
Semyon "Sam" Kislin, 64, along with family members and businesses, gave $46,250 to Giuliani's mayoral campaigns in 1993 and 1997, and $8,000 to Schumer's Senate campaign last year.
Giuliani is a Republican; Schumer is a New York Democrat. Kislin and his family also have donated to the re-election campaigns of President Clinton and former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y.
Kislin, a commodities trader prominent in the Russian Jewish ÀemigrÀe community in Brooklyn, has denied any wrongdoing. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Kislin also is a board member of the city's Economic Development Corp., which is charged with protecting the city's economic base.
Giuliani, a likely candidate for a New York Senate seat, said he knew Kislin and his wife but was not aware of Kislin's reputed mob ties.
"I'm not aware of any of the allegations," the mayor said. "They have not contributed to the federal (Senate) campaign. . . . They have not raised any money (for me) since, I think, September 1997."
A spokeswoman for Schumer said the senator had also been unaware of Kislin's ties.
"Our campaign policy was to do background checks on our donors," said Cathie Levine. "Our research raised no red flags. If any of the allegations prove true, we will absolutely return the money."
Kislin's suspected involvement with organized crime was first reported yesterday by the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan group based in Washington.
Despite internal reports on Kislin alleging laundering and mob ties, the FBI has not pursued charges. FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette declined to comment yesterday.
A 1994 FBI intelligence report obtained by The Associated Press claims Kislin is a "member or associate" of a Brighton Beach crime operation headed by Vyacheslav "Little Japanese" Ivankov, who was sentenced in 1997 to 10 years in prison for extortion and a fraudulent marriage to prevent deportation.
The FBI report said Kislin's company, Trans Commodities, "is known to have laundered millions of dollars from Russia to New York."
In an interview with the center, Kislin said that he doesn't know Ivankov and that he has never been charged with a crime. He also denied that his company laundered money for Russian organized-crime figures.
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