TikTok Logo

X

Forensic News is entirely reader-funded.

Please consider supporting independent, paywall-free investigative journalism:

(this helps us the most!)



New to Forensic News? Learn more about us here.

 

Inside a Rudy Giuliani Operation to Smear Joe and Hunter Biden

SeeView Media was incorporated in Feb. 2020, the brainchild of Giuliani and Republican operatives Tim Yale and George Dickson III.

SeeView Media July 16, 2021 12:05 pm By

A media company connected to former mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, set up to produce a documentary in 2020 about alleged corruption by Joe and Hunter Biden in Ukraine conducted much more work than publicly known, including a previously unreported engagement with disgraced ex-Ukrainian prosecutor, Kostiantyn Kulyk. 

This comes as Forensic News has learned that New York prosecutors investigating Giuliani’s dealings with Kremlin-allied Ukrainians in the 2020 election have identified Kulyk as a key figure in their inquiry and are attempting to flip him against Giuliani.

George Dickson III and Tim Yale

SeeView Media was incorporated in February 2020, the brainchild of Giuliani and Republican operatives, Tim Yale and George Dickson III.

Described as “a veteran GOP fundraiser,” Yale raised money for two 2016 pro-Trump super PACs rife with problems. The first, founded by Roger Stone, only spent 2% of its haul on political activities. The second PAC was chaired by former California state senator, Tony Strickland, who was embroiled in a campaign finance scandal that resulted in $40,000 in fines. Yale later led Linear Therapies, a company aiming to capitalize off the coronavirus pandemic based on vague promises of a COVID-19 cure that never materialized.

Dickson, on the other hand, largely flew under the radar until joining forces with Giuliani. Among his various business ventures are an early-warning earthquake project and a cannabis consulting agency based in California.

The pair came to national attention after Mother Jones published an article about their attempt to raise money to produce the documentary.

SeeView Media’s Project “WindFall”

Throughout 2020, Giuliani, Dickson, Yale, and a small group of Republican operatives worked on-and-off on a documentary named “WindFall,” about alleged wrongdoing by the Bidens in Ukraine.

Forensic News received exclusive access to multiple video clips allegedly produced by SeeView Media. The videos, supplemented by a review of internal SeeView Media communications and discussions with a source directly involved in the project, present the most complete picture of Giuliani’s efforts to work with Ukrainian sources to produce the documentary.

The film was never published in full, but the clips indicate that SeeView Media had original footage of Kulyk, the ex-Ukrainian prosecutor now in the crosshairs of federal investigators. 

After being indicted three times for corruption and fired in 2019, Kulyk worked with Rudy Giuliani to spread unfounded claims about Hunter Biden and Burisma. The U.S. Treasury Department  slapped him with sanctions earlier this year for his role in Giuliani’s scheme, stating that Kulyk “formed an alliance with [Russian agent Andrii] Derkach to spread false accusations of international corruption.” Intelligence officials have concluded Derkach was under the direct purview of Russian President, Vladimir Putin.

In the SeeView Media footage, Kulyk is seen speaking Ukrainian with English subtitles, spewing wide-ranging conspiracy theories regarding former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, businessman George Soros, Burisma Holdings in Ukraine, and Hunter and Joe Biden.

A criminal can get much farther with big money and ties to the Vice President of the United States than with big money alone,” Kulyk exclaims in the film.

Kulyk ended the video by mentioning a letter he sent to Sen. Ron Johnson, detailing his claims and asking for public testimony. That letter was first reported by Forensic News two weeks after it was sent.

Kulyk spoke about the letter he sent to Johnson in his video, indicating that the footage was shot after the sent date of the documents, Oct. 10, 2020. Before the publication of this article, the last known interaction between Kulyk and the Giuliani inner-circle was in Dec. 2019.

Kulyk’s involvement with SeeView Media came after the Treasury Department had sanctioned his close associate, Derkach for election interference, labeling him, “an active Russian agent for over a decade, maintaining close connections with the Russian Intelligence Services.

As part of their effort to interfere in the U.S. election in support of Donald Trump, Derkach and Kulyk appeared side-by-side at multiple news conferences where they released audio of Joe Biden speaking with Ukraine’s former President Petro Poroshenko. In their announcement of sanctions, the Treasury Department said that some of the audio released by Derkach was edited.


Fired Ukrainian prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk, a key person in the FBI investigation speaks about alleged corruption by the Bidens.


Another person that made an appearance in the footage was Yuri Vanetik, a GOP operative and ex-aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Vanetik, like Kulyk, espoused numerous dubious or misleading claims in the video. 

Vanetik has been described as a “master of selfies” for his habit of posing in photos with high-profile Republican politicians, but a McClatchy investigation revealed that Vanetik, who was born in the Soviet Union, has often misled the public with false or misleading biographical information and has been involved in numerous civil lawsuits.

In June 2019, Ukrainian-Russian real estate developer Pavel Fuks sued Vanetik for allegedly defrauding him of $200,000 for non-existent VIP tickets to Trump’s 2017 inauguration. Vanetik later filed his own lawsuit against Fuks and former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko— sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for conducting a foreign influence in a U.S. election—accusing Fuks of being “an agent of Russian intelligence services” and “a money launderer.

The Vanetik-Fuks dispute makes its way into some of the “Windfall” draft footage, wherein Fuks is referred to as a “Russian asset.


GOP political operative and former registered agent of multiple Ukrainian politicians, Yuri Vanetik.


Matthew Galvin, one of only a handful of SeeView Media insiders, spoke with Forensic News over a series of phone calls and described the effort by Giuliani’s inner circle to create the documentary. Galvin, who has a background in video production and media, had a previous business relationship with Dickson and was brought onto the SeeView Media team near inception.

By the summer of 2020, Galvin said that Yale, Dickson, and Giuliani were focused on making a single documentary about the Bidens and alleged corruption in Ukraine, rather than creating a media empire.

George [Dickson] paid some people in May, and that’s when the focus shifted to Ukraine and the Bidens,” said Galvin. “The whole thing was about Joe Biden and corruption and George thought that they were going to have a huge audience,” he said. “And that’s around the time I was introduced to John Ryan.

While much of what SeeView Media did is evident in the documents and video footage, other aspects of the company like the involvement of an opaque character named John Ryan, are much more opaque. Ryan had a background in film, Dickson told Galvin and was set to act as the producer for the documentary.

He was allegedly connected to OAN (One America News) and had some sort of relationship with Chanel Rion,” Galvin told Forensic News. “But I was only given his phone number, and when we spoke on the phone, he didn’t really seem to understand basic film terminology.

Ryan acted as Galvin’s conduit to the video content created by SeeView Media, so Galvin could subsequently post any media to Roku, where SeeView Media had a channel.

All of the content came from John [Ryan] but the original creator of the videos was never clear to me, though I suspect it came from OAN or Michael Caputo’s documentary,” Galvin said.

Michael Caputo, a former aide to the Kremlin and later Donald Trump, produced his own Biden-Ukraine documentary for OAN that was released in early 2020. The documentary was aided by Russian intelligence assets, Andrii Derkach and Konstantin Kilimnik, who “helped produce” the film, according to a Director of National Intelligence report released in 2021. 

When the Hunter Biden laptop story first hit the New York Post in October of 2020, SeeView Media began hurried work to include information from the laptop in the documentary. “They said ‘we have the hard drives,’” Galvin told Forensic News

Soon thereafter, John Ryan sent Galvin additional video clips, including the ten-minute recording of Kulyk.


Reel of videos procured by SeeView Media. Rudy Giuliani and Yuri Vanetik appear on screen.


By the time the election arrived, SeeView Media did not have a full movie made.  Ryan stopped replying to Galvin and the project went dark.

Anna Massoglia, a researcher at the Center for Responsive Politics, told Forensic News that U.S. persons involved in SeeView Media, including Giuliani, could face potential Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) charges if certain conditions could be proven.

The most clean-cut case would be if there was evidence of ‘direction or control’ of a foreign principal, but a foreign agent doesn’t necessarily need to be ‘controlled’ and ‘directed’ by a foreign principal for the relationship to fall under FARA. A foreign agent’s activities may also fall under FARA if they are acting ‘at the request of’ a foreign principal,” she said.

Apart from FARA, Massoglia opined that potentially the most pressing legal challenge for Giuliani may be 52 U.S. Code § 30121, which makes it illegal to use foreign funds to influence U.S. elections or solicit any “thing of value” from foreign nationals in connection with an election. 

The bigger issue would be if the project was intended to influence the outcome of the election and Giuliani sought funding from a foreign national,” Massoglia said.

It remains unclear if SeeView Media received any foreign funding.

Federal Investigations

Federal investigators in New York have been scrutinizing Giuliani’s work with Ukrainians that may have run afoul of Foreign Agent Registration Act laws, resulting in a dramatic April raid of Giuliani’s home and office. That investigation has since widened to include one of Giuliani’s allies, Andrii Artemenko, and other figures including Derkach.

Forensic News can now report that in recent months, the investigators in New York have taken a keen interest in Kulyk, who was listed in the Giuliani search warrant documents from April. The investigators want to know more about any potential covert meetings or agreements between Kulyk and Giuliani or their respective teams, one of the people involved in the matter said.

Kenneth McCallion, an attorney representing multiple Ukrainian clients in the probe, said that prosecutors have scrutinized Kulyk as part of the Giuliani probe.

I can confirm that the SDNY prosecutors have been investigating Kulyk’s involvement with Giuliani and asking questions of various witnesses about that association,” McCallion exclusively told Forensic News.

McCallion also expanded on the current work of prosecutors in SDNY to build their case against Giuliani. According to the lawyer, prosecutors have been seeking to flip various Ukrainian figures against Giuliani. Those figures include Kulyk, whom the Ukrainian government appears to be squeezing to compel him to cooperate with SDNY.

There are other witnesses that I have represented who have cooperated, but they do not want their identities released. I can however also confirm that the SDNY is trying to get the cooperation of Kulyk against Giuliani and that the Ukrainian government has cooperated with those efforts. I don’t know whether a deal has been reached with Kulyk or not.

Asked if the activity by prosecutors might signal that they are considering charges other than FARA against Giuliani, McCallion said, “yes, definitely, based on the questions that they have been asking.”

The FBI, Yale, Dickson, and Giuliani did not reply to requests for comment about this story. Kulyk could not be reached.

Dickson’s home in California was raided last month by the FBI. One source familiar with the situation said that the raid was connected to Dickson’s work with Giuliani, but the source also noted potential interest in Dickson’s other business ventures. If the raid was directly connected to Dickson’s work with Giuliani and SeeView Media, the footage would appear central to any investigation.

The FBI was present…to conduct court-authorized law enforcement activity,” the Bureau said in a statement.


Tags



Related Posts


Forensic News

Forensic News is entirely reader-funded. Consider supporting paywall-free news.

Choose an amount
$