Fusion GPS Sued for Smearing Whistleblowers

The plaintiff is suing Fusion GPS under RICO for compiling a dossier of falsehoods to libel him.

A few months ago Thor Halvorssen, the president of the Human Rights Foundation, claimed to know from personal experience that Fusion GPS did not always do research for clients but rather manufactured accusations for them.

Halvorssen isn’t going away. He is now suing Fusion GPS under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.

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The Daily Caller reports, “EXCLUSIVE: Human Rights Activist Files RICO Suit Against Fusion GPS Founders.

A prominent human rights activist is suing two of the founders of Fusion GPS and several Venezuelan businessmen under a statute usually associated with the Mafia.

Thor Halvorssen, the president of the Human Rights Foundation, claims that Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch, two former Wall Street Journal reporters who founded Fusion, engaged in a conspiracy to retaliate against him for blowing the whistle on one of Fusion’s clients, a Venezuelan power plant company called Derwick Associates.

The two Fusion founders were hired to produce a dossier and a media campaign “to depict Halvorrsen as a pedophile, heroin addict, and embezzler of the Foundation’s money,” reads Halvorssen’s lawsuit, which he filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) statute.

Mostly linked to organized crime cases, RICO can also be used in civil cases against legitimate businesses. Halvorssen’s case rests on the theory that Derwick and Fusion GPS engaged in a conspiracy to intimidate a whistleblower, which Halvorssen considers himself to be because he has provided information about an alleged Derwick bribery scheme to federal authorities.

“Thor’s got a righteous case,” G. Robert Blakey, a former federal prosecutor who drafted RICO back in 1970, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

A RICO case requires more than one criminal act. Halvorssen alleges that Fusion did the same thing to Alek Boyd and Bill Browder.

Fusion went after Browder, the leading force behind the Magnitsky Act, on behalf of a Russian businessman who faced penalties because of the sanctions law. Fusion GPS technically worked for BakerHostetler, a law firm that represented a Russian businessman named Denis Katsyv.

As part of its work, Fusion produced research alleging that Browder laundered money out of Russia and evaded taxes.

In a bizarre twist, some of Fusion’s research was taken into the June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a group of Russians. Fusion was working at the time with two of the Russian attendees, Natalia Veselnitskaya and Rinat Akhmetshin.

Halvorssen’s suit does not mention Fusion GPS’s most infamous project: the Steele dossier. Working for the Clinton campaign and DNC, Fusion hired former British spy Christopher Steele in June 2016 to investigate Donald Trump and members of his campaign.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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