When The Washington Post reporters, Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, were reporting on the complex web of corruption that led to Richard Nixon’s attempts to cover up the Watergate scandal, their anonymous source, who they nicknamed “Deep Throat,” told them the answers to their questions would be simple if they would just “follow the money.”
That advice may also apply to the questions surrounding the allegations that the 2016 Trump presidential campaign colluded with Kremlin-linked operatives to smear Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump get elected.
Buzzfeed News reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has uncovered a suspicious $3.3 million in shady money transfers on the day that the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting was set up by email between Donald Trump, Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort and people tied to the Kremlin.
‘The very day that email was sent, another exchange was taking place behind the scenes.
‘Documents reviewed by BuzzFeed News show that $3.3 million began moving on June 3 between two of the men who orchestrated the meeting: Aras Agalarov, a billionaire real estate developer close to both Vladimir Putin and President Donald Trump, and Irakly “Ike” Kaveladze, a longtime Agalarov employee once investigated for money laundering.’
In following that money trail, even more shadiness became clear. In order to make sense of it, drastic steps were taken by the banks through which the transactions took place.
‘To unearth connections between some of their accounts, banks took an extraordinary step: They invoked a provision of the Patriot Act — a post-9/11 law that included new tools to track money laundering and terrorist financing. That provision, rarely used in the Trump-Russia investigation, allowed the banks to share information about customers with one another.
‘Three financial institutions — Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, and Morgan Stanley — discovered the $3.3 million that flowed from Agalarov to Kaveladze…
‘That lack of transparency made it difficult for bankers to know the true purpose of the funds into the company’s accounts. Examiners also became concerned with how Kaveladze handled the money.’
This is, however, not the first time that suspicious money transfers have been flagged in connection to that meeting, which Trump, Jr. was already exposed for lying about when he insisted that the purpose of it was to discuss Russian adoptions. That was proven false in less than 24 hours when emails showing that Junior was offered dirt on Clinton by Russian government operatives and he responded by saying, “if it’s what you say it is, I love it.”
‘That money is on top of the more than $20 million that was flagged as suspicious, BuzzFeed News revealed earlier this month, after the money ricocheted among the planners and participants of the Trump Tower meeting. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, which has been investigating whether any individuals colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, is examining the suspicious transactions, four federal law enforcement officials said. A spokesperson for Mueller’s office declined to comment.’
Follow the money, indeed.