Posted this evening and written by Craig Unger, the story is titled Trump’s Russian Laundromat and you can get a real sense of where it is going with this tease immediately below the title:

How to use Trump Tower and other luxury high-rises to clean dirty money, run an international crime syndicate, and propel a failed real estate developer into the White House.

Let me offer two key paragraphs after the introductory material, itself key about a former Soviet pilot, 38 year old David Bogatin, who with no apparent means of income in 1984 bought five condos (for $6 million) in Trump Tower, eventually forfeited with the US Government

saying that he had purchased them to “launder money, to shelter and hide assets.”

Here are those two key paragraphs, with a bit of the first omitted:

…  A review of the public record reveals a clear and disturbing pattern: Trump owes much of his business success, and by extension his presidency, to a flow of highly suspicious money from Russia. Over the past three decades, at least 13 people with known or alleged links to Russian mobsters or oligarchs have owned, lived in, and even run criminal activities out of Trump Tower and other Trump properties. Many used his apartments and casinos to launder untold millions in dirty money. Some ran a worldwide high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower—in a unit directly below one owned by Trump. Others provided Trump with lucrative branding deals that required no investment on his part. Taken together, the flow of money from Russia provided Trump with a crucial infusion of financing that helped rescue his empire from ruin, burnish his image, and launch his career in television and politics. “They saved his bacon,” says Kenneth McCallion, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Reagan administration who investigated ties between organized crime and Trump’s developments in the 1980s.

It’s entirely possible that Trump was never more than a convenient patsy for Russian oligarchs and mobsters, with his casinos and condos providing easy pass-throughs for their illicit riches. At the very least, with his constant need for new infusions of cash and his well-documented troubles with creditors, Trump made an easy “mark” for anyone looking to launder money. But whatever his knowledge about the source of his wealth, the public record makes clear that Trump built his business empire in no small part with a lot of dirty money from a lot of dirty Russians—including the dirtiest and most feared of them all.

And the paragraph immediately after that is key as well:

Trump made his first trip to Russia in 1987, only a few years before the collapse of the Soviet Union. Invited by Soviet Ambassador Yuri Dubinin, Trump was flown to Moscow and Leningrad—all expenses paid—to talk business with high-ups in the Soviet command. In The Art of the Deal, Trump recounted the lunch meeting with Dubinin that led to the trip. “One thing led to another,” he wrote, “and now I’m talking about building a large luxury hotel, across the street from the Kremlin, in partnership with the Soviet government.”

We learn, if we did not already know, that Trump tried FIVE TIMES to build a luxury hotel in Moscow, all unsuccessfully.

And please note the date of that first trip —  while Moscow was still the capital of the USSR and the Communist party was officially in control.

We read about what happens after the fall of the USSR:

After Vladimir Putin succeeded Yeltsin as president, Russian intelligence effectively joined forces with the country’s mobsters and oligarchs, allowing them to operate freely as long as they strengthen Putin’s power and serve his personal financial interests. According to James Henry, a former chief economist at McKinsey & Company who consulted on the Panama Papers, some $1.3 trillion in illicit capital has poured out of Russia since the 1990s.

There is a LOT more in this article, including the key Russian mobster, Semion Mogilevich, and the man he sprung from prison to serve effectively as his enforcer in laundering money including in the US, one Vyachelsav Kirillovich Ivankov, who wound up living guess where —   yes, it was Trump Tower.  But before we get to that, we are told in detail about Ivankov, and this is key:  the FBI

also found he made frequent visits to Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which mobsters routinely used to launder huge sums of money. In 2015, the Taj Mahal was fined $10 million—the highest penalty ever levied by the feds against a casino—and admitted to having “willfully violated” anti-money-laundering regulations for years.

There is a LOT more in this article, which basically puts together almost all of the information in the public record that possibly connects Trump with Russian mobsters.

Read the article, and when you get to the last three paragraphs, perhaps you will find yourself doing as I did — I nodded my head at Unger’s conclusion.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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