It is no surprise that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating the Trump family and his campaign officials for money laundering. In fact, Trump’s former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon isn’t withholding any information in author Michael Wolff’s new book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”
‘This is all about money laundering.Their path to [expletive] Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr. and Jared Kushner. It’s as plain as a hair on your face.’
‘Thanks to an overlooked filing made in federal court this past summer, we can now add a jewelry business to the list of Trump family enterprises that allegedly served as vehicles to fraudulently hide the assets of ultra-rich foreigners with checkered backgrounds. In late June, the Commercial Bank of Dubai sought—and later received—permission to subpoena Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct fine jewelry line, claiming its diamonds were used in a massive scheme to hide roughly $100 million that was owed to the bank, according to filings at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.’
Although high-end real estate has been a large vehicle for money laundering due to being exempt from laws aimed at preventing laundering, but what most people don’t know is that diamonds have become a large tool for money laundering as well. GQ explains:
‘Mountains of dirty money can be converted into tiny diamonds, which are easy to store or smuggle across national boundaries, and convert back into cash when the opportunity arises.’
Western business owners have been entangled in money laundering and fraud schemes for awhile. This is not new, but what is important to understand here is that the Trumps “are also in charge of American foreign policy, making the entanglements—and possible points of leverage—that arise from such ventures matters of national security.”
Trump Fine Jewelry was Ivanka’s first independent business venture, which she began about a decade ago. She partnered with the young real estate and diamond heir Moshe Lax. According to GQ:
‘She licensed her name for use by Madison Avenue Diamonds, which did business under Trump’s name in exchange for royalties. Trump also owned an equity stake in the business for an unspecified period. Around the time they were going into business together, Lax introduced Trump to Jared Kushner, the man who would become her husband, at a luncheon for real estate heirs he convened in Midtown Manhattan.’
Trump and Lax partnered in setting up a flagship boutique on Madison Avenue, but that relationship fell apart. There have been many accusations that Lax has been involved in a good amount of wrongdoing including lawsuits for stiffing creditors and extortion. Some of those lawsuits also involved Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.
‘Trump terminated her relationship with Lax late last year, and according to the Trump Organization, Lax still owed her money as of August. Meanwhile, the defunct diamond line is getting dragged into court proceedings like this latest Dubai case, which alleges a plot by the family of prominent Emirati oil traders named the Al-Saris.’
The Al-Saris are said to have borrowed over $100 million from the Commercial Bank of Dubai, and then defaulted on the debt, so they hid their assets in a network of shell companies, through which they bought diamonds and Las Vegas real estate. GQ states:
‘In addition, to Ivanka’s line, the bank—which filed a fraud suit in 2014—says the Al-Saris purchased diamonds from Jacob Arabo—better known as “Jacob the Jeweler”—for the same purpose. As “Jacob the Jeweler,” Arabo became famous as a diamond dealer to the stars (he was sentenced to 30 months in prison in 2008 for lying to investigators about Detroit’s “Black Mafia Family” drug trafficking ring).’
In relation to the new case, The Commercial Bank of Dubai has not accused the jewelry line or Arabo of any wrongdoing. The GQ article goes on to explain that the attempt to subpoena the jewelry business has gone relatively unnoticed by the public because the court documents only name “Madison Avenue Diamonds,” which is the corporate entity rather than “Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.”
Trump has cut ties with Madison Avenue Diamonds. However, the timeline of transactions provides details showing that any alleged transactions would have taken place while they were still doing business as Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry.
This may also suggest that some of Mr. Trump’s recent actions toward the middle east have nothing to do with his interest in making policy decisions, but rather in the interest of his own personal business dealings. According to GQ:
‘In June, shortly after a trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump endorsed a move by the Saudis, the Emiratis, and others to blockade Qatar even as his own State and Defense departments struck a more conciliatory tone.’
It may also be no coincidence that around the same time, The Commercial Bank of Dubai, which is party owned by the Emirati government, made its subpoena request. After this happened, in August, a judge granted their request to issue a subpoena to Madison Avenue Diamonds, although Lax says they haven’t received one.
According to Moshe Lax, there is nothing substantial here:
‘They might have bought a piece of fashion jewelry at our former boutique. We will fully comply in verifying and providing info the court might ask from us.’
Ivanka and her hubby, Jared, apparently have a lot in common.
This is what Twitter had to say:
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