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Trump - Follow the Money

Donald Trump told the New York Times 19 July 2017 that if a special prosecutor investigating Russia's influence on last year's presidential election and possible collusion with his campaign expands the probe to look at Trump's family finances unrelated to Russia, that would cross the line of what is acceptable. "I would say yes," Trump said when asked if that would represent a "red line," according to a transcript released late Wednesday. "I have no income from Russia. I don't do business with Russia."

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Donald Trump's son denied 08 May 2017 that he told a sportswriter that the family's real estate business got money from Russia to fund golf courses. Eric Trump said the account from writer James Dodson was "completely fabricated." According to Dodson, Eric Trump told him in 2014 that the family was receiving "all the funding we need out of Russia" and wasn't relying on American banks for money to build golf courses. Dodson, who recounted the alleged exchange 05 May 2017 in an interview with Boston radio station WBUR, said Eric Trump also said Russians are "really invested in our programs" and "we just go there all the time." Eric Trump continued to deny the comments. "This story is ridiculous," he said. "We own all of assets free and clear, buy the properties in cash, etc. This really is the worst of the media."

Leading analyst of Russian affairs Stephen Blank wrote: "Laundering criminally obtained sums in luxurious foreign real estate is a hallmark of Russian intelligence operations whose purpose beyond the actual money laundering is to corrupt all those involved and thus the targeted country’s economic-political institutions. The large sums invested by Russians in Trump’s real estate projects fall squarely into that category since no one can move that kind of money out of Russia without Putin and the security organs approving it. These investments make Trump’s fortune hostage to Russian money."

Franklin Foer wrote : wrote "This investment wasn’t incidental to Trump: It was essential. After his 2004 bankruptcy, the big banks wouldn’t touch him. Who would? He had a record of litigiousness and going belly up. But Russian investors helped prop up Trump’s megabuilding projects, which were crucial to his image as a man who makes things, not just a reality television star. There would be no Trump SoHo, for instance, without capital from Russia. As one lawsuit alleges, the money arrived at Trump projects through an Icelandic investment fund “in favor” with Putin’s elite and through mysterious infusions of cash from Russia and Kazakhstan into the accounts of his partners."

Wilbur Ross, a billionaire investor, was nominated to lead the Commerce Department. Ross served as vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus since 2014. Ross, a private equity investor who said he would step down from the bank after his confirmation, had also been asked to provide more details about his own relationship with previous and current Russian investors in the bank, including Viktor Vekselberg, a longtime ally of the Russian president, and Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, the former vice-chairman of Bank of Cyprus who is also a former KGB agent with a close relationship to Putin. Ross recruited a high-profile banker with close ties to Russia, former Deutsche Bank chief executive Josef Ackermann, to serve as chairman of the bank.

Deutsche Bank is the Trump Organization’s largest creditor. Ross’s investment followed a controversial 2013 bailout of the bank at the height of the European debt crisis that was agreed by the EU, IMF and European Central Bank. At the time, the deal was scrutinised by German politicians who expressed concern that taxpayer funds were being used to bail out a money laundering haven used by Russian oligarchs.

Deutsche Bank loaned more than a billion dollars to Donald Trump and his business partners over the past few years, at a time when most other banks viewed him as too big a risk. Deutsche Bank was busted for laundering Russian money for clients in places like New York.

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Page last modified: 20-07-2017 18:04:01 ZULU