Follow the money: In Trump’s case, the money leads to Russia

Back in February the so-called President told reporters that he “had no dealings in Russia. No deals that could happen in Russia because we’ve stayed away. I have no loans in Russia”.  This may not be the case.  In Russian, conducting research about oligarchs and rich Americans can’t be easy,  HOWEVER — if the research is conducted in the US,  documents and information can be found.

And documents and information have been found in the US — quite a few of them in fact, and they create a fascinating picture. Trump and his companies have been associated with at least 10 wealthy Russians who have ties to criminal activities and money laundering, they include;

• A member of the firm that developed the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York is a twice-convicted felon who spent a year in prison for stabbing a man and later scouted for Trump investments in Russia.

•  An investor in the SoHo project was accused by Belgian authorities in 2011 in a $55 million money-laundering scheme.

• Three owners of Trump condos in Florida and Manhattan were accused in federal indictments of belonging to a Russian-American organized crime group and working for a major international crime boss based in Russia.

•  A former mayor from Kazakhstan was accused in a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles in 2014 of hiding millions of dollars looted from his city, some of which was spent on three Trump SoHo units.

•  A Ukrainian owner of two Trump condos in Florida was indicted in a money-laundering scheme involving a former prime minister of Ukraine.

Notice the heavy interest in the Trump Soho property? Now, there is certainly no crime in a real estate developer having investors and in selling units in his property, that’s how they make a living. But the catch here is the investors and buyers themselves. Buying foreign real estate is a well known practice for money laundering and protecting illegal or ill gotten gains from seizure back home. Trump has never even been accused of any wrongdoing in these deals, much less charged. But the subject of money laundering is an uncomfortable one for The Donald, since he’s already admitted to it and paid a fine in the past for it. To quote the report;

Money laundering was an issue for Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City, which was fined $10 million in 2015 for failing to report suspicious transactions. Federal rules are designed to protect the U.S. financial system from being used as a safe haven for dirty money and transnational crimes, Jennifer Shasky Calvery, then-director of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen), said at the time. It was the largest penalty the agency ever levied against a casino since reporting requirements began in 2003, according to The Wall Street Journal.

This is by no means any kind of indictment, but it is an interesting starting point for an investigation. And considering the fact that Trump tried to build in plausible deniability by operating through third parties and shell companies, this investigation is likely going to have to come from either the FBI or the Justice Department, in order to use subpoena powers to obtain documents and testimony.

A New York real estate agent told USA Today that she had sold 65 units in Trump World in Manhattan to rich Russian businessmen. She was lucky enough to have contacts in Moscow with rich people wanting to invest in the US. And guess what? According to the real estate agent, they all wanted to meet Trump, and you’d never guess what comes next. They mostly got their way, the agent stated that many of these meetings took place in Trump’s office in Trump Tower, and some were at sales events. Make of it what you will. A Trump representative denied the story entirely, claiming that all of the units were owned and sold by third parties, not The Orange Julius. Notice the lack of a statement on the cozy little fireside chats with the buyers in his office. Why would buyers obtaining a property from a third party ask for a personal meeting with Trump? Inquiring minds want to know. Pity we’re never going to see his taxes. Not unless this gets messy, and a committee in congress subpoenas them to view. Certainly not this year, but if we git ‘er done in 2018, who knows.

There is a reason for this to be a front and center issue, and it is provided by a former prosecutor who spent years researching Trump’s business dealings, and the possibility that the foundation of his company may rest on millions of Russian dollars. The big concern is this;

“The FBI is always concerned if public officials can be blackmailed,” McCallion said. “It’s Russian-laundered money from people who operate under the good graces of President Putin. If these people pull the plug on the Trump Organization, it would go down pretty quickly.”