What a deal. Donald Trump bought an 11 bedroom mansion in Palm Beach, Florida for about $41 million. Then, he turned around and sold it to a Russian oligarch worth billions, Dmitry Rybolovlev for a cool $95 million. Now, the oligarch has pulled another fast one.
Trump’s deal made history as the largest residential sale in the area. It included 6.2 acres and 475 feet of beachfront. Rybolovlev subdivided the property and made $71 off of the parcels of land. At the time Trump told The Palm Beach Daily News:
‘It will be top of the line, with that ocean frontage, the ceiling heights and the skylights. By zoning, you could never build a house like that again in Palm Beach. I bought the land and gutted the house.’
Rybolovlev owns a penthouse overlooking Port Hercules and the ancient palace in Monaco. He even attended the prince’s twins christening reception in 2015. Adviser to Rybolovlev, Sergey Chernitsyn said his client was perfectly satisfied with his €300 million Monaco penthouse and had renovated it this year, according to The New York Times:
‘He is happy. As always in business, if somebody comes and proposes — let us say one billion euros — in theory it could be discussed.’
Now, he has been wrapped up in a judicial inquiry.
The oligarch always travels with five bodyguards, which is more than the monarch, Prince Albert II. He also owns a professional soccer team. Spokesperson to Rybolovlev, Brian Cattell said:
‘Monaco Football Club is only continuing the practice of invitations established before the purchase of the club by Rybolovlev, and corresponding to the practice of most major clubs in France. It is absolutely legal.’
Author of The Mysterious Mr. Rybolovlev Renaud Revel said:
‘It’s a story that has all the qualities of a dark detective novel. It’s a portrait of a king without a crown, who turned the rock of Monaco into an opaque system of favors.’
A local official has been investigating whether Rybolovlev has manipulated Monaco law enforcement officials to side with him against a longtime battle with a Swiss businessman. It involved the 38 pieces of world-class art, Rybolovlev purchased for $2 billion with Bouvier’s assistance. He also bought Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi for $450 million, breaking a historical record.
Then, Bouvier allegedly marked up some of the the art another billion and flipped them. He was arrested on fraud charges.
Officials searched the home of Philippe Narmino, the justice minister, and the Monaco Red Cross, where he remains a vice president as part of the influence peddling allegations. Narmino, texted Swiss attorney Tetiana Bersheda about the da Vinci. He said:
‘The record sale of the painting of Leonardo da Vinci was a great success, but it changes nothing in relation to the hidden profit made by Mr. Bouvier. My clients are entitled to the difference between the misrepresented price and the real price.’
Swiss businessman Yves Bouvier’s Monaco attorney, Frank Michel said:
I don’t know how powerful Rybolovlev is now. This is precisely the reason for the investigation. There are many elements that lead us to believe there is a system of corruption, not only with one official, but a general system.’
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) asked the Treasury Department for any records it might have on the Trump transaction.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.