‘The Daily Beast’ Reveals Russian Money Funnel Through Trump Property

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It’s no surprise that Donald Trump is being investigated in the southern district of New York for tax and campaign finance fraud. After all, he’s bragged about avoiding taxes and has displayed no understanding of what it means to have a sense of honor. On Sunday, an article in The Daily Beast revealed that Trump’s criminal history goes back decades, which led him to cross paths with an even more well-connected criminal, Felix Sater.

Sater worked as a middleman for kleptocrats around the world, kleptocrats who kept power through violence and shady financial deals. Trump has repeatedly denied knowing him, but new reporting shows the men had been working together for some time. With connections to oligarchs in Russia, connections that went all the way up to the Kremlin, Sater began working with Trump years before he ran for the presidency, but that relationship became even more key in Trump’s 2016 campaign.

‘From Budapest to Beijing, Harare to Riyadh, they have seized power and are busily guzzling their nations’ wealth. There is nothing they will not do to maintain control. Those who dare to cross them are massacred on the Kazakh steppe and brutalized during Zimbabwe’s sham elections; those who threaten to spill their secrets have their mouths permanently closed…

‘So they need people who can remove the stain from both by rewriting the past. They need middlemen who can move between these two worlds. Characters like the charming, mercurial Russian-born Brooklyn fraudster Felix Sater. He has the connections—connections that go all the way to the White House.’

Sater specialized in laundering money for powerful men, and Trump already had a long history of working with the mob in New York on real estate deals in order to skirt the law and rake in the money. With Sater, Trump was able to expand his criminal dealings outside of the United States.

‘The danger of erasing money’s past was that if you didn’t record an alternative history, someone else might. Front companies were blank pages: anyone could write on them. Felix Sater understood dirty money. He had made dirty money, moved dirty money, traced dirty money. He understood that, in this arena, things that Westerners saw as contradictory could be simultaneously true.’

One real estate deal in Florida that involved a Trump-owned property, a property that sold for many times its market value to a Russian oligarch, netting Trump millions, has already been the focus of many news stories. Sater’s connections, however, may have influenced far more deals and methods of laundering dirty money far beyond that one property.

‘In 2001, one of the tenants of Trump Tower had introduced himself. “I’m going to be the biggest developer in New York,” Felix Sater told Trump, “and you need to be my partner.” There was no need to discuss the criminal connections in either man’s past: Trump’s mobster associates or Felix’s days as a pump-and-dump fraudster. What mattered was that Trump needed money and Felix and his partner, Tevfik Arif, were ideally placed to capitalize on the great shift that would save him: the tide of dirty money.’