Justice Department Special counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury in Washington, DC that could be looking into Donald Trump’s complicated but suspicious financing of his businesses, as well as his presidential campaign. The U.S. Senate has recognized the gravity of the grand jury probe of Trump and his campaign and White House advisers by maintaining the body in “pro forma” session throughout the August recess. The move prevents Trump from firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replacing him with a recess appointee who could fire Mueller.
WMR has identified a number of corruption cases in the United States and abroad in which money launderers were identified as purchasing Trump real estate in an attempt to launder their ill-gotten gains. One such case was the 2009 U.S. convictions of Peter Kiritchenko and former Ukrainian prime minister Pavlo Lazarenko for laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in the United States, including through purchases of Trump condominiums in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. Because the Trump Organization is a privately-held firm, there is no incentive for corporate “due diligence” applied by many publicly-traded firms in terms of audits and Securities and Exchange Commission oversight. The Trump Organization appears to be as corrupt in allowing the laundering of dirty money as individuals like Kiritchenko and Lazarenko, who have hidden away “black money” in Trump real estate.
Others who have stashed money in Trump properties, including condos in the Trump Tower in Manhattan, have been involved in illegal gambling activities. These include Anatoly Golubchik and Michael Sall, who were involved in high-stakes poker involving the notorious Trincher-Taiwanchik criminal syndicate. Some of the illegal poker games reportedly occurred in Plaza Hotel and the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. When, during the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump complained that the FBI had his building wiretapped, it was primarily because of illegal poker games and related organized crime activity occurring in the Trump building. Trump argued that his and his family’s privacy was violated while ignoring the fact that the Trump Tower welcomed as condo owners organized crime elements under continual surveillance by the FBI.
The FBI discovered that many illegal bettors in the 5th Avenue poker games lost their companies to pay off their gambling debts to the Trincher-Taiwanchik syndicate. One man, Peter Skyllas, lost his firm, Titan Plumbing, to cover a $2 million gambling debt. Another indebted gambler, referred to as “NYD Dave,” tried to cover his debts by turning over 10 percent of his fashion company, worth $1.2 million, to the syndicate. Among the details being looked at by federal investigators and those working for New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., is whether the Trump Organization benefited from illegal gains by the Trincher-Taiwanchik Organization, including the acquisition by the criminals of plumbing and fashion companies’ assets. Trump businesses include a residential real estate maintenance company and several fashion entities, including those owned by Donald Trump and First Daughter Ivanka Trump.
Other illegal foreign cash that was very likely involved in the purchase of Trump properties, including Trump SoHo in Manhattan and the Trump condo in Las Vegas, originated in Kazakhstan, Iceland, Cyprus, Venezuela, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Mexico, Panama, Uzbekistan, Israel, Seychelles, Russia, Georgia, Turkey, China, and Azerbaijan. Trump condo buyers include a Venezuelan oil executive and a Mexican bank swindler. One of the banks that is alleged to have helped launder funds into the Trump Organization is the Baltic International Bank, which is headquartered in Riga, Latvia and has branches in Moscow, Kiev, and London. The bank has been accused of laundering dirty money from a Mexican drug cartel and embezzled state funds from Kyrgyzstan. Donald Trump Jr. spoke at a Baltic International Bank conference in 2012.
Mueller and his investigative team have crossed Trump’s “Rubicon,” a red line drawn by Trump that forbids Mueller from looking into Trump’s finances and those of his various businesses. Trump’s syndicate activities are his Achilles Heel. Richard Nixon truthfully said he was “not a crook” during the Watergate scandal. It is a fact that Nixon did not benefit financially from the scandal that doomed his presidency. Trump, on the other hand, is a crook, a fact that may soon be demonstrated by Mueller in potential indictments of Trump and his family members for money laundering, emoluments clause violations, and structured financing to evade taxes.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).