Donald Trump’s Russian Ties, Part Two
As President Trump’s rehearses and readies himself for his first speech before Congress, more information is being uncovered which show that President Trump, as a businessman, has had ties to Russia and that those ties are still alive and well. This connection between Trump’s real estate enterprise and a Russian thug started in 2007 and as of today, the man in the middle of it all, Felix Sater, was still serving Trump but now he is inside the White House.
Donald Trump was always looking for the next big thing. In 2007 the next big thing was a new hotel/condominium complex to be built in New York and it would be called Trump SoHo. Felix Sater, came on board to help find financing for the project and to work for Trump as a consultant. Questions have arose as to who was this Felix Sater and what was he doing with Donald Trump? How did he become a player in New York real estate? Sater is now counsel to the President even though he has served time for assault and was involved in a large financial ruse that targeted Holocaust surivivors who were swindled out of their life savings. The company that was helping Trump with the financing, Bayrock Group.
Bayrock Group was an real estate investment company that for lack of a better term, had shady ownership. Bayrock was founded by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan who worked for the USSR’s Ministry of Commerce and Trade for 17 years. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Arif stretched his new empire to Kazakhstan for Trans World Group, a natural resources company run by David and Simon Reuben. He also grew a new business importing and exporting rare metals, chrome, and raw materials. It was in 2001 that Arif created Bayrock Group in the New York Trump Tower as a real estate investment group. The group and Arif have been investigated as a shill for the Russian mafia so that illegal money could be laundered through the company. Arif later then hired Felix Sater as a manager director. The Russian influence would continue with Trump as a partner as Bayrock contracted with future owners for millions the new real estate holding, Trump SoHo.
Felix Sater is a name that, for a long time, Donald Trump tried to forget. Sater was not just a go between for the Bayrock Group but he became a part of Trump’s inner circle. Trump even rewarded Sater with his own business cards which show that Sater was a senior adviser to Trump. Sater is not the kind of man you would think would have the ear of the President of the United States but he does now. Remember the scandal that rocked the Clinton years, called Whitewater? Sater’s reputation and background makes that so called scandal look like high school hijinks. This is Sater’s background.
Sater is a Russian born American whose first run in with the law occurred when he was convicted of first degree assault, a felony, and spent time in prison for stabbing a man in the face with a broken glass in 1991. Following a year in prison, Sater began a career as a stockbroker and was convicted in 1998 of racketeering in a huge boiler-room securities fraud case. According to the AP describes it as “a $40 million stock fraud scheme involving the prominent Genovese and Bonanno crime families.” At least 19 individuals were convicted of crimes in the case. Sater then spent more than a decade as an informant on the Mafia and on national security-related matters. The records indicate that about $40 million was stolen with much of it from elderly investors, including Holocaust survivors. Federal prosecutors kept even the existence of Sater’s racketeering case out of publicly available court records for 14 years. All the while he was working to promote Bayrock Group and enlist Trump as a partner.
Bayrock and Sater continued their partnership with Trump helping to develop the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There were other projects that Bayrock was involved with including, Trump development in Phoenix, Trump SoHo, and worked to being a Trump Tower to Moscow although that did not pan out. Lawsuits ensued against Bayrock and Trump as many of the developments either were not built or were so far behind on the projects that investors wanted their money back. In 2007, Trump was deposed about his relationship with Sater and Bayrock but Trump denied knowing Sater very well. “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like,” Trump says in court papers from a 2013 law suit.
Trump ended up settling the lawsuits, which according to him, he never does. He and Bayrock gave back 90% of investors’ money regarding Trump SoHo development. Fast forward to 2017 and Sater’s buddy is now the President of the United States. How in the world can a man who has been charged not only in a violent assault but has been charged with stealing from surivivors of the Holocaust? The other big question is, was Trump lying in 2013 when he said he barely knew Sater or is it now as new information about Sater is being revealed and that he is actually involved in the Trump administration?
This is where Sater’s relationship with Trump gets even more complicated. This man with the questionable background, actually worked on the document, with Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen who would then deliver it to General John Flynn. Cohen also worked with Sater to bring Andrey Artemenko, a member of Ukrainian parliament and former member of the country’s far-right Radical Party together in New York, the plan.
Cohen now denies that this document was ever given to Flynn who at the time was the National Security Adviser, but Artemenko announced Monday, that he in fact had personal confirmation that the plan was delivered to Flynn. The plan was designed for lifting sanctions on Russia and allowing Moscow to lease Crimea for either 50 or 100 years, he said. In return, Russia would have to withdraw its support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
President Trump has not spoken on the subject of Sater or Cohen but continues to deny that he has any influence with or any business with Russia. That picture has just gotten a bit more murky.