It may almost be too good to be true. Donald Trump’s ties to Russia may have been revealed. According to Politico, a Russian businessman with links to the mafia and loyalists of Russian President Vladimir Putin donated $5,400 to Trump’s campaign.
Better yet, the Russian businessman, Felix Sater, claims he visited Trump Tower last month for “undisclosed business.” In fact, Sater specifically told Politico the purpose of his trip was “confidential.” When asked if he has had any interaction with Trump’s children, he simply replied, “I don’t see the relevance of that.”
It couldn’t sound anymore suspicious.
The campaign’s most recent FEC filing reveals Sater donated $5,520 over three donations throughout July. This crosses the limit of individual contributions which is set at $5,400 But, don’t worry. The campaign refunded the difference.
Sater claims he has interacted closely with Trump and his family. However, Trump denies it and claims he wouldn’t recognize Sater if he saw him. Despite Trump’s denial, Sater can recall specifics, including how he frequently visited Trump’s office, a flight to Colorado with him, and being asked to escort Donald Jr. and Ivanka around Moscow. He commented, “They were on their way by themselves, and he was all concerned. He asked if I wouldn’t mind joining them and looking after them while they were in Moscow.”
So, who is Sater?
Sater is a Russian businessman who was convicted in the ’90s for stabbing a man. He also plead guilty to racketeering in the ’90s for what The Washington Post described as “…a mob-orchestrated stock fraud.” However, as Sater was also an informant for the FBI and provided enough information to gain mob convictions and aid national security, he was given a reduced sentence.
Sater also allegedly has a history of threatening to kill his former business associates. Even crazier, a 2007 lawsuit filed by a former project partner, Ernes Mennes, alleges that Sater called and told him he would have his cousin, “electrically shock Mr. Mennes’ testicles, cut off Mr. Mennes’ legs, and leave Mr. Mennes dead in the trunk of his car,” if he disclosed his criminal past.
Sater, who declined to provide a comment to The Washington Post, does not deny his past criminal history and acknowledges it on his website stating he made poor business decisions but came clean and plead guilty before going on to help the government with national security issues and helping to fend off terrorist attacks.
But, Trump and Trump’s lawyers both state they were not aware of Sater’s criminal background when Trump first started business dealings with Sater and his firm Bayrock Group. After the success of The Apprentice, he licensed his name to firms. Bayrock Group was one of those firms; however, due to legal issues with previous business colleagues and losing the money of investors in Trump-named projects, it muddies the waters for the Republican presidential nominee.
Trump Organization lawyer, Alan Garten, commented on the differing views of the Trump/Sater relationship saying, “I can see how the relationship may have been viewed differently from one person’s side of the relationship from the other. There was no relationship with Mr. Sater. The relationship was a business relationship with Bayrock.”
The Washington Post described Trump and Sater’s relationship:
‘He described the relationship as “friendly,” saying he had met one-on-one with Trump “numerous times” in Trump’s office to discuss various projects. In Phoenix, Sater testified, he met with local officials alongside Trump’s son, Donald Jr. In New York, Sater said he met with Trump and Trump’s staff “on a constant basis” to discuss possible deals in places such as Los Angeles, Ukraine, and China.’
Though Sater appears to be a Trump supporter, having tweeted, “He will make the greatest President in our century,” Trump has obviously never watched any movies regarding organized crime. Forgetting your associates is never a good idea when it comes to the mafia.
Featured image via Getty/Darren McCollester.