First crack in mystery around unnamed foreign company fighting Mueller subpoena

The law firm of Alston & Bird has been identified as being among those taking part in legal battles over a subpoena from Robert Mueller’s prosecutors against a mysterious company owned by a foreign government.

Just the identity of the firm constitutes a break in information about the case. It was only tied to the special counsel at first through scraps uncovered by reporters following it.

The identity of the company has been kept under seal, and an entire floor of a federal courthouse in Washington was closed to reporters during one stage to keep the identities of interested parties under wraps.

The firm was outed by CNN as taking part in the case. Alston & Bird is a major national and international law and lobbying firm with offices in Washington and overseas whose most prominent partner is former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole.

Dole backed Trump’s candidacy and was the only former party presidential nominee to attend the Republican National Convention that nominated Trump.

The mystery case is unusual since the unnamed country involved has gone to great lengths to fight Mueller’s subpoena, leading to speculation that it has something to hide in the ongoing Russia probe. Lawyers at Alston & Bird have been identified as being involved

The mystery case is unusual since the unnamed country involved has gone to great lengths to fight Mueller’s subpoena, leading to speculation that it has something to hide in the ongoing Russia probe. Lawyers at Alston & Bird have been identified as being involved

The mystery case is unusual since the unnamed country involved has gone to great lengths to fight Mueller’s subpoena, leading to speculation that it has something to hide in the ongoing Russia probe. Lawyers at Alston & Bird have been identified as being involved

CNN identified two of the firm’s attorneys, Ted Kang and Brian Boone, as taking part. But it wasn’t even immediately clear whether they represented the company itself or another entity.

The firm has had Russian clients over the years, including oligarch Oleg Deripaska. He was a business associate of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort. He is believed to have been deeply in debt to Deripaska at the time he was helming Trump’s campaign. 

Deripaska paid the firm hundreds of thousands of dollars to handle visa and other matters.

The firm didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment or confirmation.

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is among the most prominent partners at Alston & Bird

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is among the most prominent partners at Alston & Bird

Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is among the most prominent partners at Alston & Bird

ON THE CASE! Attorney Fred Kang has been identified as performing work related to a sealed case involving an unidentified company. It has been tied to the Mueller probe

ON THE CASE! Attorney Fred Kang has been identified as performing work related to a sealed case involving an unidentified company. It has been tied to the Mueller probe

ON THE CASE! Attorney Fred Kang has been identified as performing work related to a sealed case involving an unidentified company. It has been tied to the Mueller probe

Laywer Brian Boone of Alston & Bird also was identified. The firm has represented Russian clients in the past, including oligarch Oleg Deripaska

Laywer Brian Boone of Alston & Bird also was identified. The firm has represented Russian clients in the past, including oligarch Oleg Deripaska

Laywer Brian Boone of Alston & Bird also was identified. The firm has represented Russian clients in the past, including oligarch Oleg Deripaska

The case has previously been reported to involved special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, and special counsel attorneys have been spotted in court at key times.

The case has attracted considerable attention as it popped through the court system, despite the lack of disclosure about who or what it involves. 

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The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the company must pay fines of $50,000 per day for as long as it resists the subpoena requiring it to turn over information. 

The U.S. Supreme Court declined on Tuesday to side with the company as it sought to block a subpoena from Mueller’s federal grand jury.

The company hasn’t been named in any court documents, but it is reportedly owned by a foreign government. 

CNN says it approached Kang and Boone following an October hearing but they declined to comment. 

The case is unusual since the unnamed country involved has gone to great lengths to fight Mueller’s demands,leading to speculation that it has something to hide in his wide-ranging Russia probe.

In its arguments before the D.C. Circuit Court, the company unsuccessfully argued that complying with the subpoena would be a violation of its home country’s laws.  

Its challenge to Mueller’s authority was the first such motion to reach the Supreme Court.   

Roberts temporarily blocked the subpoena in December, forcing Mueller’s team to explain why the government is investigating a foreign-backed corporate entity whose government has been trying hard to avoid cooperating.  

The Supreme Court dropped a temporary ruling by Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday, clearing the way for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to enforce a subpoena against a government-owned foreign corporation

The Supreme Court dropped a temporary ruling by Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday, clearing the way for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to enforce a subpoena against a government-owned foreign corporation

The Supreme Court dropped a temporary ruling by Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday, clearing the way for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to enforce a subpoena against a government-owned foreign corporation

The Supreme Court's order, issued Tuesday, puts an end to the mystery company's temporary shield from Mueller's subpoena power

The Supreme Court's order, issued Tuesday, puts an end to the mystery company's temporary shield from Mueller's subpoena power

The Supreme Court’s order, issued Tuesday, puts an end to the mystery company’s temporary shield from Mueller’s subpoena power

CNN speculated that the company could be anything from a sovereign-owned bank to a state-backed technology or information corporation – the kind that Mueller has targeted with requests for information in the past. 

In order to keep its identity a secret, an entire floor of a Washington courthouse was closed to reporters, and the public was ordered to leave the courtroom when arguments were heard in December. 

The D.C. appeals court ruled that the company could face fines for every day it refused to obey. Roberts’ temporary order paused those fines. 

Roberts referred the case to the full Supreme Court, which dropped his intervention on Tuesday. 

Mueller and multiple congressional committees are looking into allegations that there was collusion between Russian operatives and Trump associates during the presidential campaign and transition. 

CNN reported that prosecutors had confided in the D.C. court that they had ‘reasonable probability’ the records they demanded would show actions that took place in a foreign country but affected the United States.  

Mueller has already indicted three Russian companies and 25 Russians for their alleged contributions to a social media propaganda scheme meant to influence American voters, and to computer hacking that targeted the Democratic National Committee.

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