After fraud exposed, Atlantic Council terminates relation with Gaurav & Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation

The Atlantic Council has con­firmed it has terminated its re­lationship with a major donor, Gaurav Srivastava, after the Indian-American businessman was exposed as involved in sev­eral fraudulent activities. The leading American think-tank said it decided to terminate its relationship with Gaurav Sriv­astava, his wife Sharon and their fake charitable organ­isation The Gaurav & Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation after the think tank couldn’t confirm important details of their background in its donor vetting process. Srivastava and his wife Sharon donated at least $1 million to the think tank for its Global Food Security Forum in Bali in November 2022. “All funds received by the Atlantic Council from Mr Srivastava for the Global Food Security Forum were dedicated to and used for the event,” a spokesperson for the Atlantic Council said. “We did, however, return funding received from Mr Srivastava in 2023 for future collaboration.” “We made the decision to ter­minate our relationship with Mr Srivastava upon learning new in­formation because of our donor review process. For example, we learned that The Gaurav & Sharon Srivastava Family Foun­dation was not an established 501(c)(3) [non-profit organiza­tion] in April of 2023, despite Mr Srivastava’s representation to the Council that this was a reg­istered foundation,” the spokes­person said. In an attempt to distance Srivastava from these allegations of misrepresenta­tion, the businessman’s lawyer claimed the termination was “related to a gift in respect of a subsequent project, as to which the parties disagreed on the manner of its implementation whereupon $500,000 given in advance was returned.” 

The Atlantic Council was fac­ing questions and mounting criticism after the discovery that one of its major donors, Gaurav Kumar Srivastava, was involved in large scale scams, some of which include using the name of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to make money fraudulent­ly. Gaurav Srivastava, an Indian businessman living in America, is accused of orchestrating in­ternational scams in which he claimed to be an undercover CIA operative to defraud interna­tional businessmen.

The Atlantic Council hosted its 2022 Global Food Security Forum in Bali, sponsored with more than $1 million by the Gaurav & Sharon Srivastava Foundation, an alleged non-profit NGO run by Srivastava with his wife Sharon Srivastava (née Johnson) where Srivas­tava paid a panel of experts to discuss global food security. The think-tank had come un­der pressure after respected journalists Bradley Hope and Soobin Kim, found that Srivas­tava pretended to be a CIA spy in order to fraudulently take over assets of a Dutch trader after assuring him of help using his alleged “CIA” links. He told the trader that he was a “non-offi­cial cover” or NOC (pronounced “knock”) for the CIA and oper­ated at the senior level amongst a total of 30 NOCs around the world. Srivastava put forth a du­bious proposition: if the trader could make Srivastava a partner in the business, by moving 50% of the shares of his company to a Delaware-incorporated com­pany controlled by Srivastava, and domicile the structure in the US, the trader would qui­etly be excused from future sanctions on Russia because he would be given a special licence to continue trading in accor­dance with the US Treasury’s desire to keep oil flowing.

While the Foundation is said to have been established in 2015, a company named The Gaurav & Sharon Srivastava Family Foundation was regis­tered in the secretive state of Delaware (USA) on 12 October 2022. However, foundations are typically not registered as cor­porations, and the earliest ar­chives on the foundation’s web­site only date back to November 2022. These factors raised doubts about its establishment date and credibility. We have also identified the Foundation applied for its trademark on 23 February 2023, assisted by US attorney Jonathan Berger. The trademark application affirmed that the legal entity type of the Foundation is a ‘Corporation’ – not a charitable organisation. 

The Foundation is not regis­tered in the US federal tax au­thority IRS as a charitable orga­nization or private foundation. Neither does the fake foundation comply with the regulation to file Form 990. After the Project Brazen exposed Mr Srivastava and his foundation, Mr Sriva­satava lodged false claims with Google and Tumblr to remove the main article exposing his deceit. The journalists protested with Google and Tumblr for fall­ing in Mr Srivastava’s trap.

Immediately after that Tumblr confirmed that it had removed several accounts and posts from its platform after its site was abused by Gaurav Srivastava. The Indian businessman used Tumblr’s backdating function to create posts that appeared to be from an earlier date, then used these posts as the basis for copyright claim to manipulate Google results for his name in or­der to remove the Project Brazen fraud exposé of Srivastava. Tum­blr said that the blogs and their posts were removed “for violat­ing community guidelines” after they were used in an attempt to remove factual stories about the businessman. The complex, international fraud carried out by Srivastava is the subject of in­creasing media interest after oth­er allegations about Srivastava’s history of fraud came to light.

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