Throughout the course of his presidential campaign, Donald Trump frequently denied that he had any business dealings with Russia.
I don’t know Putin, have no deals in Russia, and the haters are going crazy – yet Obama can make a deal with Iran, #1 in terror, no problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 7, 2017
The validity of those statements are debatable. However, what is not debatable is the fact that many Russian investors are pouring money into properties owned by Trump and his organization.
In an independent investigation, Reuters found individuals with ties to Russia spent nearly $100 million investing in Trump properties.
‘But in the United States, members of the Russian elite have invested in Trump buildings. A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records.’
The various buyers vary in influence in power, but the majority have some ties to the Russian government. Some of the most powerful are various business executives with ties to the Russian military and intelligence communities.
When Reuters questioned the White House regarding this recent influx of Russian money, they were referred to the Trump Organization which said such scrutiny of Trump was an “overblown” creation of the media.
That said, Reuters alleges that their tally of Russian property owners might be incomplete. Many of the properties are registered to various corporations which can make it difficult to track who really owns the unit or even the nationality of the buyer. Beyond that, Russian-Americans who possess Russian passports were not counted in Reuters’ estimates.
Determining just how much money Trump has made from the seven Florida buildings studied by Reuters is also difficult. The organization reports that the deal was completed for $2 billion and that Trump took a commission — though it is unknown just how much of a commission he earned. Beyond the initial sale, he makes no money in ongoing sales of those proprieties.
He does, however, continue to earn an income from one of the six properties. According to the disclosure forms Trump signed last year, he earned between $100,000 and $1 million from a company called Trump Marks Sunny Isles I LLC which is a condo and beach resort.
While Trump’s financial situation is difficult for the public to unpack without his tax returns, Reuters’ investigation has prompted calls from some Democrats for the president to be more transparent with his finances. Adam Schiff (D-CA.) said that Reuters’ work highlights why it was so important for Trump to release his tax returns.
‘While the president has denied having invested in Russia, he has said little or nothing about Russian investment in his businesses and properties in the United States or elsewhere. his should concern all Americans and is yet another reason why his refusal to release his tax returns should be met with considerable skepticism and concern.’
The president has frequently denied that he has any dealings with Russia, but we simply cannot know for certain unless he releases his taxes.
Featured image via Getty Images.