Congressman Cohen Questions Expert Witnesses on Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy

November 18, 2021
Press Release
Helsinki Commission hearing on Kremlin and Chinese activities

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), Co-Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, better known as the Helsinki Commission, today questioned expert witnesses at a commission hearing entitled “Confronting Kremlin and Communist Corruption.”

In his opening statement, Co-Chairman Cohen, a founding member of the Congressional Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy, said corruption in Russia and elsewhere is “a threat to world order,” and commended the work of imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny. Co-Chairman Cohen said that while it is important to hold kleptocrats accountable and to disable their networks, the problem of global kleptocracy won’t be solved until countries act against the professionals who enable them, including lawyers, lobbyists, real estate professionals, consultants and others.

See Co-Chairman Cohen’s entire opening statement here.

In his questions, Co-Chairman Cohen focused on witness Leonid Volkov, Mr. Navalny’s chief of staff, asking about Navalny’s health and the conditions of his imprisonment. He also asked for suggestions for additional kleptocrats deserving of sanctions and about the role Google and Apple played in censoring information about Navalny’s candidate endorsements. See that line of questions here.

In addition to Volkov, witnesses at the Commission’s hearing today were:

  • Representative Tom Malinowski of New Jersey, Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy;
  • Representative María Elvira Salazar of Florida, Member, Congressional Caucus against Foreign Corruption and Kleptocracy;
  • Elaine Dezenski, Senior Advisor, Center on Economic and Financial Power Foundation for Defense of Democracies;
  • Scott Greytak, Advocacy Director, Transparency International U.S. Office.