Trump businesses tied to apparent Russian mafia big-shots
To expand his real estate developments over the years, Donald Trump, his company and partners repeatedly turned to wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime, according to a USA TODAY review of court cases, government and legal documents and an interview with a former federal prosecutor.
The president and his companies have been linked to at least 10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering. …
Trump’s Russian connections are of heightened interest because of an FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian operatives to interfere in last fall’s election.
Paul J. Manafort, the former Trump campaign manager facing multiple investigations for his political and financial ties to Russia, has engaged in a series of puzzling real estate deals in New York City over the past 11 years.
Real estate and law enforcement experts say some of these transactions fit a pattern used in money laundering; together, they raise questions about Manafort’s activities in the New York City property market while he also was consulting for business and political leaders in the former Soviet Union.
Between 2006 and 2013, Manafort bought three homes in New York City, paying the full amount each time, so there was no mortgage.
Then, between April 2015 and January 2017 – a time span that included his service with the Trump campaign – Manafort borrowed about $12 million against those three New York City homes: one in Trump Tower, one in Soho, and one in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
Manafort’s New York City transactions follow a pattern: Using shell companies, he purchased the homes in all-cash deals, then transferred the properties into his own name for no money and then took out hefty mortgages against them, according to property records.
Go make yourself a big batch of popcorn and read both of these major developments in the Trump saga.