Evidence Reveals Troubling List of Trump’s Own Business Partners Allegedly Involved In Human Trafficking, Mafia, etc.
The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a scathing report which features an incriminating list of people Donald Trump chose as his partners for potential projects in Russia. These ties include people with alleged ties to the mob, to Putin, and to human trafficking.
The list alone raises eyebrows when one considers what kind of person would have connections to every person on this wily list but when one factors in that this list of people are associates of a sitting president of the United States of America, it becomes shockingly unbelievable.
He told Forbes at the time:
“We do extensive vetting on everyone we do business with…We do background checks on an international level. We do background checks on a local level. We check every available database commonly used. We use outside experts who specialize in this area. And that’s in addition to looking at the deal itself. So extensive vetting goes on.”
All that is well and good but… how about you just scroll on down and see for yourself.
Trump’s long association with Felix Sater has gotten him plenty of criticism. Sater is a managing director at a firm called Bayrock Group, which worked with Trump on projects in New York, Florida, and Arizona and he spent a 15-month stint in prison for assault in the mid-nineties. Three years after serving that sentence, he was back in court entering a guilty plea kto racketeering as part of a Mafia scheme. He ultimately managed to stay out or prison that time by cooperating with the feds and sharing intelligence on topics like the mob, North Korea, and Osama bin Laden.
The report says this of the man, “Sater began using his existing network, largely in Russia, to establish a network of contacts including intelligence officers, military operatives and personnel at military research facilities in various countries… Sater explained that he was in contact with ‘mostly GRU [Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate] guys.’”
The report also sheds some light on what kind of relationship Sater had with Trump and says, “This arrangement, and Sater’s office space on the 26th floor of Trump Tower only several offices away from Trump, gave Sater greater access to Trump, allowing Sater the ability to see Trump frequently and ‘pitch’ business opportunities to him.” The report continues, “During this time, Trump would see Sater every day, generally more than once. In general, Sater recalled that he had interacted with Trump ‘hundreds’ of times over the course of their relationship.”
The New York Times first published a piece on Sater’s past in 2007 and Trump made sure to distance himself from the man by saying, “We do as much of a background check as we can on the principals… I didn’t really know him very well.”
Following the article’s release, Trump gave a deposition in which he stated that most of his work was done with a man named Tevfik Arif. Trump said, “The one I dealt with was Mr. Arif,” and he explained that he and Arif had been working new business ventures in Turkey, Poland, Ukraine and, obviously, Russia. Trump said, “Mr. Arif had the contacts… He’s very international, as I’m sure you’ll see if you interview him. And he had international connections.”
But as with Sater, Arif had some baggage but his just hadn’t caused much commotion… yet. But the Senate Committee’s report slammed Arif with accusations: “Information obtained by the committee suggests he was involved in Russian organized crime, money laundering and human trafficking dating back to at least 2000.”
Although the report includes some redactions, there are some clear accusations from his old partner, Sater. The report said: “Sater, Arif’s longtime business partner, suggested to the committee that he believed Arif engaged in human trafficking in the United States and elsewhere. According to Sater, Arif brought ‘thousands’ of women into the United States, primarily from Ukraine.”
Arif’s and Trump’s plans ultimately fell apart. Trump, in the 2007 deposition, said, “When I saw him once I said, ‘It’s too bad we didn’t do those deals.’ He said, ‘It’s too bad.’ Because if you know anything about Moscow and the different places, the market has been through the roof, more than the United States. So I told him, I said, ‘It’s too bad we didn’t do those deals. They would have been very good deals.’ ”
Emin and Aras Agalarov
Finally in 2013, Trump got to Moscow by way of the Miss Universe contest, which was hosted by Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov and his popstar son, Emin. The Trump-affiliated pageant was held at Crocus City Hall, which is a property controlled by the Agalarovs.
According to the Senate report, the Agalarovs’ firm spent about $12 million to host the event and the Agalarovs themselves paid $6 million in licensing fees and another $6 million in additional expenses. The only took in about $2 million in revenue, however, meaning they suffered a pretty staggering loss of about $10 million on the event.
As a co-owner of Miss Universe, Trump received his money, so he didn’t seem to mind how much his partners had lost. “I had a great weekend with you and your family,” he tweeted at Aras Agalarov, “You have done a FANATASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next. EMIN was WOW!”
Tt rump had business plans with the Agalarovs but they fell through, and according to the Senate report, that might have been for the best, given what the report said about them: “The Agalarovs have significant ties to Russian organized crime and have been closely affiliated with individuals involved in murder, prostitution, weapons trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, narcotics trafficking, money laundering and other significant criminal enterprises. Some of those activities have extended outside of Russia, including to the United States.”
The report continues: “Aras Agalarov also has significant ties to the Russian government, including to individuals involved in influence operations targeting the 2016 U.S. election. He has access to President Putin and to Putin’s close aide Dimitry Peskov.”
The trail continues like this: the first negotiations for the proposed Trump-Agalrov business deal (real estate) were carried out by two men- Donald Trump Jr. and Irakli Kaveladze, who, according to Robert Mueller’s special report, worked for Aras Agalarov.
The Senate report has the following to say on Kaveladze: “According to a report by the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) in October 2000, Kaveladze has been involved in a range of activities in the United States that raise serious concerns regarding Russian money laundering. According to the GAO, companies created by Kaveladze established approximately 2,000 corporations, some of which had made up names for Russian brokers. Kaveladze’s companies moved more than $1 billion in wire transfer transactions into 236 accounts at two U.S. banks, most of which was then transferred back to accounts in eastern Europe again for Russian brokers. Kaveladze has insisted that he had no involvement in any wrongdoing, calling the GAO investigation a ‘witch hunt.’”
Another associate, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, had warned The Trump Organization about the Agalarovs. The new report explained that “according to Michael Cohen, around the time of the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, a friend, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, cautioned that he ‘did not care for the Agalarovs, thought they were gangsters and didn’t do business with them.’ According to Cohen, when Rtskhiladze heard that Donald Trump Jr. was considering a real estate development project with the Agalarovs, Rtskhiladze again warned Cohen that the Agalarovs, and particularly Aras Agalarov, ‘are really rough.’”
Rtskhiladze was available for a comment and during that email, he spoke softer, saying. “I told Michael that the Agalarovs were prominent businesspeople, and while Crocus was a very successful group, I would proceed with caution because conducting business in Russia can be difficult, and he would be mindful of bringing Mr. Trump to Russia,” Rtskhiladze continued. “I mentioned to Michael Cohen that my business with Crocus was not what I expected it to be. At no such time did I ever utilize the word ‘gangsters’ with respect to the Agalarovs.”
Rtskhiladze had previous ties to the Trump Organization and passed along another proposal for a project in Russia. Although that deal did not come to fruition, what it may have done is mixed up then-candidate Trump with Russian government officials. The Senate report says that Rtskhiladze told Cohen a new project idea was “being shared with the presidents cabinet and Moscow mayor.”
In Rtskhiladze’s email comment to Forbes, he wrote, “I am unable to recall exactly what I told Michael… To the best of my recollection, my friend mentioned that the developer was preparing a presentation of his project for the mayor of Moscow, and if they had the Trump trademark/license, it would have been far more impressive.”
He added, “Michael’s goal was to always have nothing less than a spectacular Trump tower project in Moscow. And he expected to hear that the project had the government’s support, as he seemed to be convinced that, unless the project had support from the top Russian gov, it would never materialize.”
Ultimately, during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Trump Organization chose to pursue a deal with a developer named Andry Rozov, who was working with Felix Sater. Sater said in the report, “I came to Michael and said, ‘Michael, I have a potential Trump Tower deal in Moscow that we could do, I have a good developer. I want to speak to Mr. T.’ He said, ‘Sure.’ He came back to me and said, ‘Let’s go.’”
Cohen adds his side of the story in the report, saying, “After the conversation with Mr. Sater, I told Mr. Trump that there’s an opportunity to develop the tallest building in the world in Moscow. He asked me who it was with. I told him Felix is bringing the proposal, and he was like, ‘Oy, Felix!’ And I said to him, ‘But you have to understand, Felix is not the partner in this. He’s just the licensee’s representative. And he’s not involved. And Mr. Trump said, ‘Okay, keep him tight.’ Meaning, keep him on a tight leash.”
Rozov had other entanglements. “A body of information suggests Rozov’s personal and professional network likely has at least some ties to individuals associated with Russian influence operations,” states the report. “For example, Rozov’s associate Stalbek Mishakov has significant ties to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who the committee assesses undertakes a wide variety of Russian government influence operations.”
The Rozov deal eventually fizzled out in mid-2016, but according to the Mueller report, Cohen believed there was still a chance that it could be revived and he therefore did not tell Trump it was dead.