Sunday, June 18, 2017

Donald Trump's links to the Russian Mob.


Dutch documentary investigates Trump’s past links to the Russian mob.

Trump told reporters in February: "I have no dealings with Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away. And I have no loans with Russia. I have no loans with Russia at all." 

Donald Trump said in a recent interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, "I have had dealings over the years where I sold a house to a very wealthy Russian many years ago. I had the Miss Universe pageant — which I owned for quite a while — I had it in Moscow a long time ago. But other than that, I have nothing to do with Russia."

The truth is that Trump is lying. Donald Trump has deep Russian connections that far exceed what he admitted to. In 2013, after Trump addressed potential investors in Moscow, he bragged to Real Estate Weekly about his access to Russia's rich and powerful. “I have a great relationship with many Russians, and almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” Trump said, referring to Russians who made fortunes when former Soviet state enterprises were sold to private investors.

In September 2008, Donald Trump Jr. gave the following statement to the “Bridging U.S. and Emerging Markets Real Estate” conference in Manhattan: “In terms of high-end product influx into the United States, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” 

He refers specifically to the Soho venture in which Trump partnered with the Russian-connected Bayrock group.

New York City real estate broker Dolly Lenz said she sold about 65 condos in Trump World at 845 U.N. Plaza in Manhattan to Russian investors, many of whom sought personal meetings with Trump for his business expertise. “I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz said. “They all wanted to meet Donald. They became very friendly.” Many of those meetings happened in Trump's office at Trump Tower or at sales events, Lenz said.

I am amazed that none of the major media outlets in the USA have released this information. This is the most damning evidence I have seen of Trump's multiple criminal activities. 50 years of lies and cons. Trump's association with criminal figures isn't going to go away. After six bankruptcies, US banks stopped making loans to him. One Billion Dollars in debt, no bank in New York would lend him a dime. To expand his real estate empire, Donald Trump and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics, allegedly connected to organized crime, Trump and company have had business dealings with Russians that go back decades.

The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations and money laundering schemes. efforts to launch real estate ventures in Russia through Bayrock Associates, a Russian-connected outfit. Bayrock had partnered with Trump on at least four major but failed American projects: the Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, the Trump Ocean Club in Fort Lauderdale, the SoHo condominium-hotel in New York, and a resort in Phoenix. Since President Trump won the Republican nomination, the majority of his companies’ real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities.

Over the last 12 months, about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before. What’s interesting about this is: It’s not the first time. A decade ago, when Donald Trump’s seventh bankruptcy had wiped out his ability to borrow, he was dragged back from the brink of financial failure by money from Russian oligarchs. That infusion of money came not only in the form of big investments in new building projects, it also came through a money-laundering scheme that created LLCs for the express purpose of grabbing Trump properties at premium prices.

Bayrock had its office on the 24th floor of Trump Tower, and its 2007 brochure featured a photo of Trump and Tevfik Arif, a principal Bayrock partner, who served for 17 years in the Soviet government before emigrating to the United States. It called the Trump Organization a “strategic partner,” and listed Trump as their primary reference.

Among them:
• Felix Sadar, a Russian-born managing director at Bayrock, is a twice-convicted felon, and is a founding member of Bayrock, a firm that developed the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York. Felix Sadar is the son of the head of the Russian mafia, and who spent a year in prison for stabbing a man. Felix Sater,was convicted of assault in 1991. Then, in 1998, federal prosecutors convicted Sater of fraud, for running a $40 million penny stock fraud in collaboration with the New York and Russian Mafia. In return for a guilty plea, Sater reportedly agreed to work as a government informant.

•  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.

Trump's Russian connections are of heightened interest because of an FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump's presidential campaign and Russian operatives to interfere in last fall's election.  The FBI apparently knew, directly or indirectly, based upon available facts, that prior to Election Day, Trump and his campaign had personal and business dealings with individuals and entities linked to criminal elements — including reputed Russian gangsters — connected to Putin.

The FBI can't talk about Donald Trump’s contacts with Russia because it would jeopardize a sensitive operation targeting mobsters tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to Trump.

The plaintiffs in a 2015 racketeering case against Bayrock, Sater, and Arif, among others, alleged in the civil lawsuit that: “for most of its existence Bayrock was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated,” engaging “in a pattern of continuous, related crimes, including mail, wire, and bank fraud; tax evasion; money laundering; conspiracy; bribery; extortion; and embezzlement.” Although the lawsuit does not allege complicity by Trump, it claims that Bayrock exploited its joint ventures with Trump as a conduit for laundering money and evading taxes. The lawsuit cites as a “Concrete example of their crime, Trump SoHo stands 454 feet tall at Spring and Varick, where it also stands monument to spectacularly corrupt money-laundering and tax evasion.”


Trump’s 2013 sojourn in Russia for the Miss Universe pageant was far less innocent that he would have us believe. According to the Washington Post, the deal to bring the pageant to Russia was “financed in part by the development company of a Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov.… a Putin ally who is sometimes called the ‘Trump of Russia’ because of his tendency to put his own name on his buildings.”

While in Moscow, Trump met with Russian oligarchs who were closely aligned with President Vladimir Putin, including Herman Gref, the chief executive officer of the state-controlled Sberbank, Russia’s largest bank. In 2014, the United States and the European Union sanctioned Sberbank in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The Russian market is attracted to me,” Trump said. “Almost all of the oligarchs were in the room,” he bragged. He tweeted, “TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next.”

The Bayrock Group’s Felix Sater emerges again during the Trump campaign and presidency. Sater contributed the maximum $5,400 to Donald Trump’s campaign. Then on February 19, 2017, the New York Times reported that “A week before Trump fired Michael Flynn resigned as national security advisor, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.”

The Times said that three men were responsible for developing and delivering the plan: Andrew Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, and Andrii V. Artemenko, a pro-Russian member of the Ukrainian parliament.

The third man was none other than Trump’s former business partner and convicted fraudster, Felix Sater. How and why Sater became involved with a key member of the Trump administration in the most sensitive of diplomatic transactions between the United States and Russia remains one of the many mysteries to be resolved by congressional and FBI investigators.

“I Can’t Go into Those Details Here”

Former FBI Director James Comey said In his March 20 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that he could not go into detail about its probe into the Trump administration’s Russian connection. If he had we may have learned that for more than three decades the FBI has had Trump Tower in its sights. Many of its occupants have been targets of major investigations. One thing many of them have in common is deep ties to organized crime — including the Russian mafia.

Felix Sater fits all of these categories. A convicted felon, Sater worked in Trump Tower, made business deals with Donald Trump through Sater’s real estate firm, Bayrock, and later scouted for  investments in Russia on behalf of Trump. Sater cooperated with the FBI and CIA and was subsequently protected by the DOJ from prosecution. The Moscow-born immigrant now lives in New Jersey and remains deeply linked to Russia and Ukraine. 

The FBI has spent years untangling the financial machinations of Bayrock — which they allege involve hundred of millions of dollars in claims arising from, among other things, money laundering and fraud.

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