Friday, May 12, 2017

Donald Trump's Financial Ties To Russian Oligarchs and Mobsters Detailed In Explosive New Documentary from The Netherlands

Dutch TV did what no American TV network dared, suggesting Trump's past included illegal racketeering.

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By Steven Rosenfeld

Donald Trump's business partners have included Russian oligarchs and convicted mobsters, which could make the president guilty of criminal racketeering charges.
That's only one of the eyebrow-raising takeaways from a 45-minute Dutch documentary that first aired last week, "The Dubious Friends of Donald Trump, Part 1: The Russians." Produced by Zembla, the first installment in its investigative reporting series did what no American TV network has yet dared to do--take a deep look at the organized crime links and corrupt international business strategies used by Trump and his partners in his properties.
It starts with Trump's luxury tower in the lower Manhattan neighborhood known as Soho, where his partner in building that highrise was Bayrock LLC, a corporation whose primary investor was a Russian mining oligarch and another major investor was a convicted Russian mobster Felix Sater.
"Why did 60 Minutes pass on the Bayrock story in 2016? Why did ABC News Brian Ross pass on the Trump Soho [Tower] story in 2015? Why is no major network done any kind of documentary on what the Dutch just did?" said James Henry, an ex-corporate lawyer turned financial investigative reporter who writes for and is one of several investigative journalists whose work on Trump's shady business empire is profiled in the film.
The documentary shows how Trump not only helped hide the identity of his mobster business partner—which prompted an ongoing lawsuit accusing Trump of criminal racketeering, but also how Trump used that internal company crisis to demand more money. It goes on to show how Russian oligarchs saw Trump's properties as a way to get their money out of Russia, and describes the international financial networks used that are akin to a pyramid scheme for money laundering. It also notes how the law firm of Trump's political advisor, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, helped set up a "money-laundering" account in the Netherlands used by Bayrock. 
The financial trail exposed raises questions about whether Trump fired FBI Director James Comey because the FBI's investigation of his campaign's collusion with Russia was encroaching into Trump's world of dark money and dubious business partners.

"Although still in its early days, Donald Trump’s presidency is coming under fire. The Russians are alleged to be in possession of sensitive information about Trump. And that exposes Trump to blackmail. Fake news, tweets Trump: “I have nothing to do with Russia – no deals, no loans, no nothing!” Trump swears he has no ties with the Russians. But is that actually the case?" is how the filmmakers describe their opening installment.
They go onto to show that while Trump denies his ties with Russia, there are many Russians who have deep financial ties to him.
"For months, the FBI have been investigating Russian interference in the American presidential elections," the fimmakers continue. "ZEMBLA is investigating another explosive dossier concerning Trump’s involvement with the Russians: Trump’s business and personal ties to oligarchs from the former Soviet Union. Powerful billionaires suspected of money laundering and fraud, and of having contacts in Moscow and with the mafia. What do these relationships say about Trump and why does he deny them? How compromising are these dubious business relationships for the 45th president of the United States? And are there connections with the Netherlands? ZEMBLA meets with one of Trump’s controversial cronies and speaks with a former CIA agent, fraud investigators, attorneys, and an American senator among others."
Their YouTube description barely does justice to their investigative reporting. While American journalists are following Trump's tweets and tantrums, they followed the money into a world where the lines blur between outright profiteering and organized crime. What they found on a fact-based money trial reveals much about who the real Trump is and how he operates.

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