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Trump’s Russian Laundromat
BlackCat
Every day is an extra day
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07-15-2017 01:16 AM

Posts: 5,186



Post: #1
Trump’s Russian Laundromat
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https://newrepublic.com/article/143586/t...-syndicate

Quote:In 1984, a Russian émigré named David Bogatin went shopping for apartments in New York City.

...Donald Trump was just coming into his own as a serious player in Manhattan real estate, and Trump Tower was the crown jewel of his growing empire. From the day it opened, the building was a hit—all but a few dozen of its 263 units had sold in the first few months. But Bogatin wasn’t deterred by the limited availability or the sky-high prices. The Russian plunked down $6 million to buy not one or two, but five luxury condos. The big check apparently caught the attention of the owner. According to Wayne Barrett, who investigated the deal for the Village Voice, Trump personally attended the closing, along with Bogatin.



If the transaction seemed suspicious—multiple apartments for a single buyer who appeared to have no legitimate way to put his hands on that much money—there may have been a reason.

At the time, Russian mobsters were beginning to invest in high-end real estate, which offered an ideal vehicle to launder money from their criminal enterprises. “During the ’80s and ’90s, we in the U.S. government repeatedly saw a pattern by which criminals would use condos and high-rises to launder money,” says Jonathan Winer, a deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement in the Clinton administration. “It didn’t matter that you paid too much, because the real estate values would rise, and it was a way of turning dirty money into clean money. It was done very systematically, and it explained why there are so many high-rises where the units were sold but no one is living in them.” When Trump Tower was built, as David Cay Johnston reports in The Making of Donald Trump, it was only the second high-rise in New York that accepted anonymous buyers.

In 1987, just three years after he attended the closing with Trump, Bogatin pleaded guilty to taking part in a massive gasoline-bootlegging scheme with Russian mobsters. After he fled the country, the government seized his five condos at Trump Tower, saying that he had purchased them to “launder money, to shelter and hide assets.” A Senate investigation into organized crime later revealed that Bogatin was a leading figure in the Russian mob in New York. His family ties, in fact, led straight to the top: His brother ran a $150 million stock scam with none other than Semion Mogilevich, whom the FBI considers the “boss of bosses” of the Russian mafia. At the time, Mogilevich—feared even by his fellow gangsters as “the most powerful mobster in the world”—was expanding his multibillion-dollar international criminal syndicate into America.

Since Trump’s election as president, his ties to Russia have become the focus of intense scrutiny, most of which has centered on whether his inner circle colluded with Russia to subvert the U.S. election. A growing chorus in Congress is also asking pointed questions about how the president built his business empire. Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, has called for a deeper inquiry into “Russian investment in Trump’s businesses and properties.”




....A review of the public record reveals a clear and disturbing pattern: Trump owes much of his business success, and by extension his presidency, to a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia. Over the past three decades, at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money. Some ran a worldwide high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower—in a unit directly below one owned by Trump. Others provided Trump with lucrative branding deals that required no investment on his part. Taken together, the flow of money from Russia provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics. “They saved his bacon,” says Kenneth McCallion, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration who investigated ties between organized crime and Trump’s developments in the 1980s.

It’s entirely possible that Trump was never more than a convenient patsy for Russian oligarchs and mobsters, with his casinos and condos providing easy pass-throughs for their illicit riches. At the very least, with his constant need for new infusions of cash and his well-documented troubles with creditors, Trump made an easy “mark” for anyone looking to launder money. But whatever his knowledge about the source of his wealth, the public record makes clear that Trump built his business empire in no small part with a lot of dirty money from a lot of dirty Russians—including the dirtiest and most feared of them all.

much more at the link

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LoP Guest
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07-15-2017 01:23 AM

 



Post: #2
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
More Nothing Burger. Tree Fiddy! 5
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BlackCat
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07-15-2017 01:27 AM

Posts: 5,186



Post: #3
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
[Image: 441bd285a59aaf42e856ed5024c93c514ed846ac...;amp;h=320]

Quote:Over the years, Trump and his sons would try and fail five times to build a new Trump Tower in Moscow. But for Trump, what mattered most were the lucrative connections he had begun to make with the Kremlin—and with the wealthy Russians who would buy so many of his properties in the years to come. “Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. boasted at a real estate conference in 2008. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

The money, illicit and otherwise, began to rain in earnest after the Soviet Union fell in 1991. President Boris Yeltsin’s shift to a market economy was so abrupt that cash-rich gangsters and corrupt government officials were able to privatize and loot state-held assets in oil, coal, minerals, and banking. Yeltsin himself, in fact, would later describe Russia as “the biggest mafia state in the world.” After Vladimir Putin succeeded Yeltsin as president, Russian intelligence effectively joined forces with the country’s mobsters and oligarchs, allowing them to operate freely as long as they strengthen Putin’s power and serve his personal financial interests. According to James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey & Company who consulted on the Panama Papers, some $1.3 trillion in illicit capital has poured out of Russia since the 1990s.

At the top of the sprawling criminal enterprise was Semion Mogilevich. Beginning in the early 1980s, according to the FBI, the short, squat Ukrainian was the key money-laundering contact for the Solntsevskaya Bratva, or Brotherhood, one of the richest criminal syndicates in the world. Before long, he was running a multibillion-dollar worldwide racket of his own. Mogilevich wasn’t feared because he was the most violent gangster, but because he was reputedly the smartest. The FBI has credited the “brainy don,” who holds a degree in economics from Lviv University, with a staggering range of crimes. He ran drug trafficking and prostitution rings on an international scale; in one characteristic deal, he bought a bankrupt airline to ship heroin from Southeast Asia into Europe. He used a jewelry business in Moscow and Budapest as a front for art that Russian gangsters stole from museums, churches, and synagogues all over Europe. He has also been accused of selling some $20 million in stolen weapons, including ground-to-air missiles and armored troop carriers, to Iran. “He uses this wealth and power to not only further his criminal enterprises,” the FBI says, “but to influence governments and their economies.”

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BlackCat
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07-15-2017 01:42 AM

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Post: #4
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
Quote:Mogilevich’s greatest talent, the one that places him at the top of the Russian mob, is finding creative ways to cleanse dirty cash. According to the FBI, he has laundered money through more than 100 front companies around the world, and held bank accounts in at least 27 countries. And in 1991, he made a move that led directly to Trump Tower. That year, the FBI says, Mogilevich paid a Russian judge to spring a fellow mob boss, Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov, from a Siberian gulag. If Mogilevich was the brains, Ivankov was the enforcer—a vor v zakone, or “made man,” infamous for torturing his victims and boasting about the murders he had arranged. Sprung by Mogilevich, Ivankov made the most of his freedom. In 1992, a year after he was released from prison, he headed to New York on an illegal business visa and proceeded to set up shop in Brighton Beach.

In Red Mafiya, his book about the rise of the Russian mob in America, investigative reporter Robert I. Friedman documented how Ivankov organized a lurid and violent underworld of tattooed gangsters. When Ivankov touched down at JFK, Friedman reported, he was met by a fellow vor, who handed him a suitcase with $1.5 million in cash. Over the next three years, Ivankov oversaw the mob’s growth from a local extortion racket to a multibillion-dollar criminal enterprise. According to the FBI, he recruited two “combat brigades” of Special Forces veterans from the Soviet war in Afghanistan to run the mafia’s protection racket and kill his enemies.

Like Mogilevich, Ivankov had a lot of dirty money he needed to clean up. He bought a Rolls-Royce dealership that was used, according to The New York Times, “as a front to launder criminal proceeds.” The FBI concluded that one of Ivankov’s partners in the operation was Felix Komarov, an upscale art dealer who lived in Trump Plaza on Third Avenue. Komarov, who was not charged in the case, called the allegations baseless. He acknowledged that he had frequent phone conversations with Ivankov, but insisted the exchanges were innocent. “I had no reason not to call him,” Komarov told a reporter.

The feds wanted to arrest Ivankov, but he kept vanishing. “He was like a ghost to the FBI,” one agent recalls. Agents spotted him meeting with other Russian crime figures in Miami, Los Angeles, Boston, and Toronto. They also found he made frequent visits to Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which mobsters routinely used to launder huge sums of money. In 2015, the Taj Mahal was fined $10 million—the highest penalty ever levied by the feds against a casino—and admitted to having “willfully violated” anti-money-laundering regulations for years.

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BlackCat
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07-15-2017 01:51 AM

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Post: #5
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
Quote:The FBI also struggled to figure out where Ivankov lived. “We were looking around, looking around, looking around,” James Moody, chief of the bureau’s organized crime section, told Friedman. “We had to go out and really beat the bushes. And then we found out that he was living in a luxury condo in Trump Tower.”

There is no evidence that Trump knew Ivankov personally, even if they were neighbors. But the fact that a top Russian mafia boss lived and worked in Trump’s own building indicates just how much high-level Russian mobsters came to view the future president’s properties as a home away from home. In 2009, after being extradited to Russia to face murder charges, Ivankov was gunned down in a sniper attack on the streets of Moscow. According to The Moscow Times, his funeral was a media spectacle in Russia, attracting “1,000 people wearing black leather jackets, sunglasses, and gold chains,” along with dozens of giant wreaths from the various brotherhoods.

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LoP Guest
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07-15-2017 01:52 AM

 



Post: #6
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
LoP Guest  Wrote: (07-15-2017 01:23 AM)
More Nothing Burger. Tree Fiddy! 5


Yep. More like a big fat juicy steak with Russian dressing. Lmao
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Isabella
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07-15-2017 02:24 AM

Posts: 19,806



Post: #7
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
LoP Guest  Wrote: (07-15-2017 01:52 AM)
LoP Guest  Wrote: (07-15-2017 01:23 AM)
More Nothing Burger. Tree Fiddy! 5


Yep. More like a big fat juicy steak with Russian dressing. Lmao

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQk_rYtOcAt0hMH4XayFiM...vYGLgD66QM]

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BlackCat
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07-15-2017 03:10 AM

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Post: #8
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
Isabella  Wrote: (07-15-2017 02:24 AM)
LoP Guest  Wrote: (07-15-2017 01:52 AM)
Yep. More like a big fat juicy steak with Russian dressing. Lmao

[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQk_rYtOcAt0hMH4XayFiM...vYGLgD66QM]

Quote:Trump had found his market. After Trump World Tower opened, Sotheby’s International Realty teamed up with a Russian real estate company to make a big sales push for the property in Russia. The “tower full of oligarchs,” as Bloomberg called it, became a model for Trump’s projects going forward. All he needed to do, it seemed, was slap the Trump name on a big building, and high-dollar customers from Russia and the former Soviet republics were guaranteed to come rushing in. Dolly Lenz, a New York real estate broker, told USA Today that she sold some 65 units in Trump World Tower to Russians. “I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz said. “They all wanted to meet Donald.”

To capitalize on his new business model, Trump struck a deal with a Florida developer to attach his name to six high-rises in Sunny Isles, just outside Miami. Without having to put up a dime of his own money, Trump would receive a cut of the profits. “Russians love the Trump brand,” Gil Dezer, the Sunny Isles developer, told Bloomberg. A local broker told The Washington Post that one-third of the 500 apartments he’d sold went to “Russian-speakers.” So many bought the Trump-branded apartments, in fact, that the area became known as “Little Moscow.”

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Isabella
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07-15-2017 03:17 AM

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Post: #9
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
BlackCat  Wrote: (07-15-2017 03:10 AM)
Isabella  Wrote: (07-15-2017 02:24 AM)
[Image: images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQk_rYtOcAt0hMH4XayFiM...vYGLgD66QM]

Quote:Trump had found his market. After Trump World Tower opened, Sotheby’s International Realty teamed up with a Russian real estate company to make a big sales push for the property in Russia. The “tower full of oligarchs,” as Bloomberg called it, became a model for Trump’s projects going forward. All he needed to do, it seemed, was slap the Trump name on a big building, and high-dollar customers from Russia and the former Soviet republics were guaranteed to come rushing in. Dolly Lenz, a New York real estate broker, told USA Today that she sold some 65 units in Trump World Tower to Russians. “I had contacts in Moscow looking to invest in the United States,” Lenz said. “They all wanted to meet Donald.”

To capitalize on his new business model, Trump struck a deal with a Florida developer to attach his name to six high-rises in Sunny Isles, just outside Miami. Without having to put up a dime of his own money, Trump would receive a cut of the profits. “Russians love the Trump brand,” Gil Dezer, the Sunny Isles developer, told Bloomberg. A local broker told The Washington Post that one-third of the 500 apartments he’d sold went to “Russian-speakers.” So many bought the Trump-branded apartments, in fact, that the area became known as “Little Moscow.”

Jhikpghf

"Before Donald Trump attacked foreigners, he helped sell them condos"

snip:

"In 2004, Trump signed a licensing deal for an 813-unit condo project called Trump Towers in the city of Sunny Isles Beach. The Apprentice star’s gold-plated name was used to market the units to wealthy foreigners.

The Miami Herald found that at least 13 Trump Towers buyers have been the subject of government investigations, either personally or through their companies. They include members of a Russian-American organized crime group, a Venezuelan oilman convicted in a bribery scheme and a Mexican banker accused of robbing investors of their life savings.

Nothing Trump and his partners did was illegal, although they profited from a South Florida real estate market that regulators and former law enforcement officials believe is tainted by dirty cash. That’s because lobbying has left real estate unregulated compared to many other industries where money laundering abounds. The purchases highlighted by the Herald show how easily illicit funds from around the world can worm their way into local real estate".

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics...rylink=cpy

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics...50442.html

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Jess
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User ID: 418577
07-15-2017 03:23 AM

Posts: 3,588



Post: #10
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
Can't help but wonder how patriotic Italian and Sicilian and other older, more established "families" feel about the Russian mafia horning in on their 'territory'.....

.

To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture. Enjoy, sir, your insensibility of feeling and reflecting. It is the prerogative of animals. Thomas Paine: American Crisis
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BlackCat
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07-15-2017 03:32 AM

Posts: 5,186



Post: #11
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
Jess  Wrote: (07-15-2017 03:23 AM)
Can't help but wonder how patriotic Italian and Sicilian and other older, more established "families" feel about the Russian mafia horning in on their 'territory'.....

.

Yeah, is this some kind of international mob war going on below the radar?

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BlackCat
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User ID: 398054
07-15-2017 03:41 AM

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Post: #12
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
Isabella  Wrote: (07-15-2017 03:17 AM)
BlackCat  Wrote: (07-15-2017 03:10 AM)

Jhikpghf

"Before Donald Trump attacked foreigners, he helped sell them condos"

snip:

"In 2004, Trump signed a licensing deal for an 813-unit condo project called Trump Towers in the city of Sunny Isles Beach. The Apprentice star’s gold-plated name was used to market the units to wealthy foreigners.

The Miami Herald found that at least 13 Trump Towers buyers have been the subject of government investigations, either personally or through their companies. They include members of a Russian-American organized crime group, a Venezuelan oilman convicted in a bribery scheme and a Mexican banker accused of robbing investors of their life savings.

Nothing Trump and his partners did was illegal, although they profited from a South Florida real estate market that regulators and former law enforcement officials believe is tainted by dirty cash. That’s because lobbying has left real estate unregulated compared to many other industries where money laundering abounds. The purchases highlighted by the Herald show how easily illicit funds from around the world can worm their way into local real estate".

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics...rylink=cpy

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics...50442.html

Quote:More than 60 percent of units are owned by corporations. These companies are called “shells” because they exist only to hold real estate. Shell companies have established legal uses such as liability protection. In addition, foreign nationals can lower their U.S. tax burden by owning real estate through offshore corporations. But corporate laws in many jurisdictions, both foreign and domestic, allow owners of these companies to stay hidden. Instead of listing their own names, buyers can put down lawyers, accountants, real estate agents and other fronts on corporate filings.

More than 170 Trump Towers units are owned by opaque offshore corporations or Delaware companies, structures designed to conceal their owners.

good article!

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BlackCat
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07-15-2017 07:29 PM

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Post: #13
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
[Image: 7c1eb2ff662eefc1eccc68772bcc9f78512f5821...mp;fm=pjpg]

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BlackCat
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07-15-2017 07:41 PM

Posts: 5,186



Post: #14
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
https://newrepublic.com/article/143586/t...-syndicate

Quote:Throughout the 1990s, untold millions from the former Soviet Union flowed into Trump’s luxury developments and Atlantic City casinos. But all the money wasn’t enough to save Trump from his own failings as a businessman. He owed $4 billion to more than 70 banks, with a mind-boggling $800 million of it personally guaranteed. He spent much of the decade mired in litigation, filing for multiple bankruptcies and scrambling to survive. For most developers, the situation would have spelled financial ruin. But fortunately for Trump, his own economic crisis coincided with one in Russia.

In 1998, Russia defaulted on $40 billion in debt, causing the ruble to plummet and Russian banks to close. The ensuing financial panic sent the country’s oligarchs and mobsters scrambling to find a safe place to put their money. That October, just two months after the Russian economy went into a tailspin, Trump broke ground on his biggest project yet. Rising to 72 stories in midtown Manhattan, Trump World Tower would be the tallest residential building on the planet. Construction got underway in 1999—just as Trump was preparing his first run for the presidency on the Reform Party ticket— and concluded in 2001. As Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier this year, it wasn’t long before one-third of the units on the tower’s priciest floors had been snatched up—either by individual buyers from the former Soviet Union, or by limited liability companies connected to Russia. “We had big buyers from Russia and Ukraine and Kazakhstan,” sales agent Debra Stotts told Bloomberg.

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fnord
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User ID: 397213
07-15-2017 08:27 PM

 



Post: #15
RE: Trump’s Russian Laundromat
Call me cynical. But a guy mentored by NYC's chief mobster attorney might well find it helpful to take in a little dirty money from his mentor's associates, and clean it up a bit, in return for a few dollars along the way.

The Kennedy family certainly didn't have much problem taking money from mobsters.

The Bush and Clinton families are composed of mobsters.

Mr. Trump goes to the same parties the others do.
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