We know that Donald Trump lies constantly, but the “no Russians” thing may be the biggest lie of all. I’ve long thought that the thing he will be caught on is money laundering. Here’s an enormous article about money laundering associated with Trump Tower and other Trump properties.
Unfortunately, an article like this isn’t enough for proof in court, but Robert Mueller has brought experts in money laundering and financial fraud onto his team. You can bet he’s looking at these transactions.
If the transaction [in 1984] seemed suspicious—multiple apartments for a single buyer who appeared to have no legitimate way to put his hands on that much money—there may have been a reason. At the time, Russian mobsters were beginning to invest in high-end real estate, which offered an ideal vehicle to launder money from their criminal enterprises. “During the ’80s and ’90s, we in the U.S. government repeatedly saw a pattern by which criminals would use condos and high-rises to launder money,” says Jonathan Winer, a deputy assistant secretary of state for international law enforcement in the Clinton administration.
In 1987, just three years after he attended the closing with Trump, Bogatin pleaded guilty to taking part in a massive gasoline-bootlegging scheme with Russian mobsters. After he fled the country, the government seized his five condos at Trump Tower, saying that he had purchased them to “launder money, to shelter and hide assets.”
1987 was Trump’s first trip to Russia.
Trump had found his market. After Trump World Tower opened, Sotheby’s International Realty teamed up with a Russian real estate company to make a big sales push for the property in Russia. The “tower full of oligarchs,” as Bloomberg called it, became a model for Trump’s projects going forward. All he needed to do, it seemed, was slap the Trump name on a big building, and high-dollar customers from Russia and the former Soviet republics were guaranteed to come rushing in.
There are many cautions in the article about no way to connect Trump directly to the money laundering. That’s the whole point of money laundering – to keep your hands clean. Smoke, so far, but no fire yet.