A lawsuit alleges that the American founder of the ‘Mozart’ group is a sex pest and conman FILE PHOTO. Volunteers take part in training during courses with The Mozart Group, in the Donetsk region on September 22, 2022 © Juan BARRETO / AFP
A lawsuit filed by a former member of the mercenary Mozart Group has raised serious questions about the controversial outfit, including its founder – former US marine Andy Milburn. It’s just the latest example of how grift in the Ukraine conflict has led to very serious consequences.
What is ‘Mozart Group’?
Founded in mid-March 2022, the organization was designed to make a major impact in the Ukraine conflict, in every way. Its name was attention seeking, a provocative pun on Wagner, the Russian private military company that in recent weeks has been steadily liberating Ukraine-occupied territory in the Donbass. The media-savvy, combat-experienced Milburn was highly effective at inserting himself into the coverage, being widely quoted by Western news outlets.
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“Driven by the same pro-Ukrainian spirit that has put yellow and blue flags flying across the Western world, Mr. Milburn feels strongly that this is a just war,” the New York Times oozed in October 2022. “But there are other forces operating on him — boredom, guilt, his own sorrows and a quest for redemption.”
Mozart’s representatives publicly sought to characterize themselves not as an army-for-hire, but a team of seasoned veterans who don’t personally carry guns, but provide vital military training to the Ukrainian army, and extract civilians from the frontline. While Milburn made much of his three decades of service, including deployments in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia, he also claimed staff would be fired on the spot if they engaged in direct combat with Russian forces.
The entire Western media bought the line that Mozart wasn’t in Ukraine for belligerent purposes. The idea that a bunch of battle-hardened marines would simply show up in a combat zone to help – but disavow violence while they were there – was always a farce and recent comments by Milburn make this clear. Speaking to RT on 28 January, he said his primary goal was to “kill Russians”:
“Why do we train guys? It isn’t simply to defend themselves, it’s to kill the enemy. Everything we’re doing is exactly within the parameters of NATO policy. The West is providing Ukraine with lethal weapons that kill Russians…When we train soldiers that is their goal. It’s why we teach them how to operate their weapons.”
Despite Milburn’s boasts that Mozart Group “is filling a niche no one is filling,” and his consequent belief that sizable Western government funding should be “an absolute no-brainer,” neither sponsorship nor corresponding riches have been forthcoming. The organization has, to his immense disappointment, only received relatively small sums from unnamed US-based financiers with Ukrainian ancestry, and from a humanitarian organization for the purpose of evacuations.
Why was the leader of Mozart sued?
A lawsuit taken by Andy Bain, Mozart’s former chief financial officer, against Milburn, and “defendants John Doe 1 through 10,” who are “individuals or entities who have acted together with, or under the direction of” Milburn, might offer a clue as to why Washington and its international lackeys have been so reticent to stump up any cash for the effort.
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Bain’s suit paints a shocking picture of an utterly chaotic, corrupt, criminal organization, in which “on multiple occasions” Milburn “has taken actions which have and will continue to cause harm to the company.” A 26-point list, running from a-to-z, outlines the alleged behavior. This bombshell rap sheet has been completely ignored by the Western media since its publication.
They include “threatening and harassing a private business owner who volunteered a newly refurbished apartment for Mozart Group,” a residence where Milburn held “numerous late night parties,” and kept “a stray untrained dog…which defecated and urinated freely.” When the owner evicted the company due to this conduct, Milburn is said to have bombarded them with “hostile messages,” including one in which he warned “you have no idea who you are dealing with” and “will not escape unscathed.”
Milburn also “unilaterally” hired a Ukrainian woman he met on a dating app – “and with whom he had a prior personal relationship” – as his personal assistant, paying her an annual salary of $90,000, “which is at least four times more than the usual compensation rate for a Ukrainian based employee in such position.”
Milburn purportedly made “unwanted sexual advances and propositions to a female office manager” too, and when these were rejected, he “preemptively labeled her as a liar”to Bain and possibly others, “in the event she would not keep silent about his actions.”
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Bain further charges that Milburn embezzled donations and enriched himself through a number of scams. For example, he is said to have secretly meddled with donation links on Mozart’s website, so money intended for the organization was actually redirected to another company he set up. Yet another business entity with an almost identical name to Mozart Group’s is also apparently being established “to confuse donors and continue to facilitate the diversion of funds.”
It could be the case that certain donors knew their money would be spent on highly dubious, if not outright criminal activities. Milburn allegedly solicited cash from private companies, “promising to use those funds to pay bribes to senior military leaders to make military decisions favorable to safeguarding specific private assets, irrespective of damage such decisions may have to Ukraine’s military position,” therefore “forcing the Ukrainian government to divert badly needed Ukrainian counter-intelligence resources to track his illegal activities.”
Bain claims to have received “numerous threatening texts”from Milburn when he left the company, including promises “to tell the media about non-existent compromising information,” should he go public with what he knew.
If Mozart’s chief financial officer is to be believed – and the nature of his accusations suggest he may have incriminating evidence to support them – senior Ukrainian military officers called Milburn the “Crazy American”, and wished he’d “go home and stop saving our country.”
Other areas of the filing imply Milburn’s public declarations that Mozart did not and never would engage in military activities were lies, and the company is an active mercenary outfit with plans to expand its operations. Bain also claims Milburn failed to acquire the necessary approvals to comply with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR):
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“Outside the scope of original business interest in Ukraine, sought commercial contracts for military training in Armenia which would divert resources from Ukraine, having done so knowingly and deliberately without United States Department of State registration or approval in violation of ITAR.”
A day after Bain’s lawsuit was filed, Milburn responded with an enormous number of counter-accusations via various social media platforms, posts which he later deleted, claiming Bain was a “disgruntled” former employee who himself had been accused of financial and sexual misconduct.
Milburn even said Bain at one point attempted to sell Mozart to the Taliban. A wild charge, but believable, given the eagerness of foreigners to line their pockets off the back of the Ukraine conflict. As RT has repeatedly documented, the International Legion – including its celebrity fraudster spokeswoman – is a hotbed of embezzlement.
There are clear signs that Ukrainian military personnel, and the country’s civilian authorities, aren’t above profiteering from the conflict, and engaging in crime in the process. A drunken Andy Milburn testified to this on a December podcast, where he said it was a “corrupt, f****d-up society,” run by “plenty of f****d up people.” Comically, this is referenced in Bain’s lawsuit. He says Milburn was “significantly intoxicated and making unfounded accusations and derogatory comments against the government of Ukraine and the Ukrainian military.”
By Felix Livshitz
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