Donald Trump knows Pavel Fuks, a wealthy Ukrainian-Russian who got rich in banking, real estate, and businesses. Fuks agreed to talk to Bloomberg News‘ Kiev Office but only under the condition that a group of “armed security guards” were posted outside the door.
Donald Trump wanted to do business with Fuks. At this time, Fuks and Trump are disputing the amount of money the president charged to attend POTUS’s inaugural events. He has also been barred from entering the U.S.
Trump wanted Fuks to pay him $20 million for the use of his name on a Moscow development — up front. Plus, the New Yorker wanted the fee to be non-negotiable. The developer offered the president $10 million in installments. Fuks said:
‘He said $20 million is nothing. I said, no, it’s a lot of money. We couldn’t agree.’
For 30 years, Trump has been trying to make his dream of a Trump tower in the Moscow skyline into a reality.
In 2015 and 2016 during his presidential campaign, Trump Told the Russian development company I.C. Expert Investment Co.that he would take $4 million upfront money for his name and a percent of the profits. Then, president signed a letter of intent.
Trump’s former personal attorney and self-described fixer Michael Cohen pled guilty to lying to the senators, saying that the project halted in January 2016. In truth, these negotiations continued. Trump asked his attorney to lie.
In his book The Art of the Deal, Trump wrote that he took his first run at getting his name on a Moscow tower in 1987. He came to Moscow to scout sites for his hotel. He wrote:
‘I was impressed with the ambition of Soviet officials to make a deal.’
When that did not pan out, he tried again in 1996. That effort was doomed, too.
It was no mistake that Donald Trump held his Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. He went to the Russian capitol for the event, but also met with a Russian developer Aras-Agalarov.
By 2016 and after the presidential elections, Fuks had built a powerful real-estate empire and returned to Ukraine where he was born. He decided to approach Trump again. He went to Trump’s informal inaugural events.
He said that he had paid the commander-in-chief $200,000 to go to the formal inaugural events via “a Ukrainian-American businessman Yuri Vanetik.” Fuks’ attorneys are trying to recover the builder’s money now.
Vanetik released a statement saying Fuks felt he had been shortchanged:
‘…he’d referred Fuks to a public relations firm that would organize his visit. Fuks misunderstood what was being offered…(and) became confrontational.’
Fuks is still trying to get a visa. He said:
‘They did not let me in and began to ask some nonsense questions like are you Russian military?’
Fuks adventure with Trump began in 2005, when a wealthy New York real estate developer who lived in Trump Tower, Felix Sapir, introduced Fuks to Trump. The developer had sold “petroleum products from a Moscow refinery,” and that was how the two met.
Sapir and Trump “were business partners in the SoHo hotel-condominium development.”
Trump pitched Fuks the same deal he offered developers from Istanbul to Toronto. The two men, Melania Trump, and her father dined together. Later, Fuks invited Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. to Moscow. Fuks said:
‘I told them my conditions, and they said they would think about it. I offered him $2 million up front and a million each month during the year.’
That was when Trump turned the developer down. Apparently, Fuks was just one of the Moscow projects Trump was looking at then.
Donald Jr. claimed that he had gone to Moscow “dozens of times in the preceding 18 months” to discuss deals of some kind. According to Bloomberg, Donald Jr. said in 2008:
‘I really prefer Moscow over all cities in the world. Several buyers have been attracted to our projects there.’
If Fuks is right, both Ivanka and Don Jr. went to Moscow twice in 2006 — at a minimum. Felix Sater was also involved in the Trump SoHo project. He wanted a Trump Tower built on “an old pencil factory on the Moscow River.”
Fuks has not seen the president in person since 2009 or 2010 in Miami. He also went to Trump’s big Mar-a-Lago party at that time. Yet, the two men did not talk about the Moscow project. Fuks said:
‘At that point it was already the financial crisis and prices had fallen. It was no longer interesting.’
Russia sanctioned him and over “300 over Ukrainians,” because the U.S. sanctioned Russia. Fuks said he also had legal problems with Russia, too:
‘My lawyers are fighting them.’
Bloomberg was unable to independently verify this man’s account.
Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.