Donald Trump has so many corrupt business practices, and so many connections to Russia, Russian spies, the Russian mob, and Russian oligarchs that it’s not beyond the realm of thinking that he could be a real-life Manchurian candidate. Well except that he would be a Manchurian president instead of just a candidate.
A bombshell report from a Financial Times investigation today shows just how shady money from a Russian billionaire connected to the Kremlin, flowed to Trump through one of his hotels in Canada.
Financial Times reports that it,
‘has been investigating the money behind Trump Toronto for 10 months. Legal documents, signed statements and two dozen interviews with people with knowledge of the project and the money that flowed through it reveal that the venture connects the US president with a shadowy post-Soviet world where politics and personal enrichment merge.’
They’ve discovered that Trump’s Russia connected billionaire partner in Trump Hotel Toronto, Alex Shnaider, made a secret $100 million payment to a group of so-called “introducers” who were representing the Kremlin’s interests. The goal of the secret payment to the “introducers” was to help Shnaider sell off his stake in a Zaporizhstal steel mill in Ukraine. Shnaider eventually succeeded in selling off the mill with the help of the Russian state bank Vnesheconombank (VEB), whose chairman at the time was Vladimir Putin. It appears that VEB would not have approved the financing if not for the bribe to the “introducers”.
After the sale of the mill Shnaider, who is a Canadian-Russian, turned around and used $40 million of the proceeds from the sale to further invest in the Trump Toronto Hotel. He also paid Trump $4 million for licensing fees. The case of the alleged bribe payment is in the Canadian courts now. If the court rules that the $100 million secret payment was a bribe, then it’s bad news for Trump.
Former JPMorgan Chase banker, Tom Keatinge, who now specializes in financial crimes at London’s Royal United Services Institute, told Financial Times that if the court rules the original $100 million dollars a bribe, then
‘you could argue that the Trump Organization is receiving the proceeds of crime and therefore is being used as a money-laundering opportunity.’
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