Trump/Russia: Follow the $$$ (Part 2)

By Darrell Roberts

Welcome to the second installment of the Trump/Russia series. This six-part series will focus on relevant matters and people involved in the Trump/Russia saga.

To review previous series’ article: Follow the $$$ (Part 1)

The second column in the series will utilize a timeline of known economic ties between Trump and Russia from 2002 through 2009. Important events will also be included to provide additional clarity. Then the data will be interpreted in a six-part analysis.

2002: Felix Sater joins The Bayrock Group (run by Tevfik Arif) based in Trump Tower to work on Trump developments such as Trump Soho. Tamir Sapir’s Organization is also part of the development.

Also in 2002: A Russian firm and Sotheby’s International try to expand Trump’s business interests in Moscow. Presentations are held in Moscow to increase sales of Trump properties to Russians/American-Russians in such locations as Trump World Tower.

Also in 2002:  Big Russian money rolls into Trump’s Sunny Isles Beach, Florida project. In total, $98 Million dollars are poured into seven Trump properties.

2003: An Uzbekistan immigrant, Eduard Nektalov purchases a 79th-floor unit while also under investigation for money laundering. A month after the purchase, Mr. Nektalov makes a $500,000 profit by selling the unit. In early 2004, while believed to be cooperating with law enforcement, Eduard Nektalov is gunned down in Manhattan.

2004: A Bloomberg investigation shows, that in Trump World Tower’s 90-story residential building that a third of units on floors 76-83 are purchased by people or companies connected to Russia and other former USSR states.

2004: Trump bankruptcy #5 for Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts, in Atlantic City, which includes the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Marina, and Trump Plaza casinos. Also included, is an estimated $1.8 billion dollar debt for a riverboat casino in Indiana.

2005:  Donald Trump, Jr. writes a letter to Sater regarding the development of Trump Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Also in 2005: Trump gives Bayrock and Sater an exclusive development in Russia. In a 2008 deposition, Sater would say, “I’d come back, pop my head into Mr. Trump’s office and tell him, you know, ‘Moving forward on the Moscow deal.’ And he would say ‘All right.’ I showed him photos, I showed him the site, showed him the view from the site. It’s pretty spectacular.”

Also in 2005: Paul Manafort proposes a secret plan to “greatly benefit the Putin Government” to a Putin ally, Oleg Deripaska.

The Manafort offer vows to influence political, business, and news inside of former USSR states, Europe, and United States. In a memo to Deripaska, Manafort wrote, “We are now of the belief that this model can greatly benefit the Putin Government if employed at the correct levels with the appropriate commitment to success.”

2006: Manafort signs a $10 million dollar a year deal with Deripaska that lasts until at least 2009.

Also in 2006: Ivanka and Donald Trump, Jr. travel to Moscow with Sater. Sater claims Don, Jr. asked, “If I wouldn’t mind joining them and looking after them while they were in Moscow.”

Also in 2006:  Trump seeks trademarks in Russia (from 2006-2008).

2007: Trump sues a journalist. The suit is filed by Trump because the journalist wrote a book that claimed Trump is worth less than he claims. During the suit, Trump says of his Moscow deal with Bayrock had investors. In his unsuccessful suit deposition, Trump says, “It would be a non-exclusive deal so it would not have precluded me from doing other deals in Moscow, which was very important to me,” and Trump would add, “We’re going to do one fairly soon,”

Also in 2007: Trump Vodka is presented in Moscow. Trump Vodka was sold in Russia until 2009.

Also in 2007: An Arizona lawsuit against Bayrock and Sater alleges money skimming. An investor claims that Sater threatened to kill him. Sater denied the allegation in an interview stating, “You think I’m doing Trump Towers [deals] and telling someone I would … cut their legs off?” Eventually, Bayrock would settle the suit.

Also in 2007: Ukraine’s richest man, Rinat Akmetov, introduces Paul Manafort to Viktor Yanukovich. Manafort replaces Russian strategists that previously advised Mr. Yanukovich’s failed 2004 campaign. Mr. Manafort’s goal was to turn around Mr. Yanukovich and his party’s image. However, political opponents would claim, “It’s the same Soviet and post-Soviet political culture.” However, Manafort responds, “I am not here just for the election,” he said. “I am trying to play a constructive role in developing a democracy. I am helping to build a political party.” He goes on to add, “The West has not been willing to move beyond the cold war mentality and to see this man and the outreach that he has extended,” said Mr. Manafort.

Also in 2007: During an interview with Larry King, Trump states,

“Look at Putin — what he’s doing with Russia — I mean, you know, what’s going on over there. I mean this guy has done — whether you like him or don’t like him — he’s doing a great job.”

2008: Trump fails to start a reality show starring a mixed martial artist set in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Also in 2008: US Justice Department annual report claims Manafort’s company received only $63,750 for consulting services to Yanukovych’s Party of Regions.

Also in 2008: During a real estate conference, Donald Trump Jr. says,

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets.” Donald Trump Jr. added, “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Also in 2008: Trump sells his Florida mansion for almost $100 million dollars to Dmitry Rybolovlev known as the “fertilizer king” of Russia. Four years earlier, Trump had purchased the mansion for $41 million.

2009: Trump bankruptcy #6 for Trump Entertainment Resorts (formerly known as Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts), due to failure to make a $53.1 million dollar bond interest payment.

Also in 2009: Sergii Leshchenko (a Ukrainian lawmaker) claims that 22 off the record payments found in Yanukovych’s “Black Ledger” were made to Paul Manafort for a total $12.7 million dollars. An October 2009 payment lists Manafort as receiving $750,000 for computer equipment.

Also in 2009: Donald Trump rents his Westchester estate to Muammar al-Qaddafi. Mr. Trump also takes the Libyan ambassador golfing in Florida, attempts to meet al-Qaddafi, and seeks to gain investments from the Libyan regime.

Six Analyses from 2002 to 2009:

  1. Trump has benefitted greatly from his business dealings with Russians, Russia-Americans, and former USSR states.
  2. Trump has a long and diverse history of trying to establish his trademarks and businesses within Russia.
  3. Trump’s relationship with Bayrock and Felix Sater exposes a direct bond between Trump and an *alleged* organized Russian crime syndicate.
  4. The secrecy around Paul Manafort’s activity along with written offer to assist Putin’s interest in the West is extremely questionable and concerning.
  5. By 2007, Donald Trump shows an obvious admiration of Vladimir Putin.
  6. In addition to organized crime connections, Donald Trump’s pursuit of a relationship with Muammar al-Qaddafi suggests that Mr. Trump will forego ethical considerations for his monetary gain.

 

To read more articles from the author.

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