In 1979 or 1980 Roy Cohn introduced Donald Trump to Washington lobbyist Paul Manafort who, in 2018, would plead guilty to money laundering through Russian bankers (see Nov 14, 2018, below.) The firm of Manafort, Stone and Black signed Trump as a client. "Trump’s lobbyists worked on projects -- as large as blocking Native American tribes from opening casinos that would compete with Trump properties in Atlantic City." Time Magazine
In 1990 Wilbur Ross embarked on a strategy that helped Trump avoid a personal bankruptcy that could have derailed his unlikely trajectory from real-estate mogul to reality television star to president. Trump was heavily in debt, and he started missing bond payments on his — and Atlantic City’s — largest casino, the Taj Mahal. Ross, then an investment banker working for Rothschild Inc., helped bondholders negotiate with Trump, whose finances were unraveling. The final deal reduced Trump’s ownership stake in the Taj but left him in charge. - Ross insisted that Trump was worth saving.“The Trump name is still very much an asset,” he said.
The Trump Taj Mahal casino broke anti-money laundering rules 106 times in its first year and a half of operation in the early 1990s, according to the IRS in a 1998 settlement agreement. Trump's casino ended up paying the Treasury Department a $477,000 fine in 1998 without admitting any liability under the Bank Secrecy Act. (see 2015, below)
As equity markets were sliding into the financial crisis of 2008 ('the 'Great Recession'), Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, a multibillionaire, bought a Palm Beach property from Trump for $95 million. Trump had purchased it for $41 million in 2004. Rybolovlev's cash infusion into Trump's bank account is believed to be the most expensive home sale in US history. According to PolitiFact, 2008 was the year Trump Entertainment Resorts missed a $53.1 million bond interest payment and later filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to reorganize. (see 2014 & 2017 below)
In 2013 that same Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev, had been the largest shareholder in the Bank of Cyprus, with a 9.9% stake in the company. (See Sept. 14, 2018, below)
On a mid-March day in 2013, a package arrived at the Manhattan penthouse belonging to the family of Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev. Inside was a discovery said to be worth upward of $100 million: the Lost Leonardo. Everyone in the art world knew the story. “Salvator Mundi,” purchased at an estate sale in Louisiana, had turned out to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Rybolovlev purchased it.
In 2014 Wilbur Ross poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the Bank of Cyprus, an institution regarded by financial watchdogs as a haven for Russian money laundering. Ross' fellow investors included a pair of Russian oligarchs, including Dmitry Rybolovlev, the man who bought a Trump property in Palm Beach for $95 million, even though it was valued at less than $60 million.
Ross became a vice chair of the bank, along with a reported former KGB officer. Former Deutsche Bank executive Josef Ackermann was installed as chairman. Deutsche Bank—one of Trump’s biggest creditors—subsequently paid hundreds of millions to settle disputes that it shipped $10 billion or more to Russia in suspect loans. (see 2017, below)
In 2015 The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) imposed a $10 million civil money penalty against Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort (Trump Taj Mahal), for willful and repeated violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Trump Taj Mahal admitted that it failed to implement and maintain an effective AML program; failed to report suspicious transactions; failed to properly file required currency transaction reports; and failed to keep appropriate records as required by the BSA (see 1998 money laundering charges, above).
Two Russian state institutions with close ties to Vladimir Putin funded substantial stakes in Twitter and Facebook through an investor who later acquired an interest in a Jared Kushner venture, leaked documents reveal.
Under the leadership of US attorney Preet Bharara, who was subsequently fired by Trump in March 2017, prosecutors pursued Prevezon, a Cyprus company, for allegedly attempting to use Manhattan real estate deals involving Kushner to launder money stolen from the Russian treasury.
The U S Attorney's Office reported that: " Members of the criminal organization, and associates of those members, have also engaged in a broad pattern of money laundering in order to conceal the proceeds of the fraud scheme. In a complex series of transfers through shell corporations, the $230 million from the Russian treasury was laundered into numerous accounts in Russia and other countries. A portion of the funds stolen from the Russian treasury passed through several shell companies into PREVEZON HOLDINGS, LTD., a Cyprus-based real estate corporation that is a defendant in the forfeiture action. PREVEZON HOLDINGS laundered these fraud proceeds into its real estate holdings, including investment in multiple units of high-end commercial space and luxury apartments in Manhattan, and created multiple other corporations, also subject to the forfeiture action, to hold these properties."
The alleged scheme suggests a system in which the Kremlin’s power grants Putin access not only to his country’s corporate wealth but also to the personal accounts of Russian’s richest oligarchs.
In January of 2017 Deutsche Bank was fined ($630,000,000 by the U S and $5.000 by the Russian Government) for $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme. The latest fines penalize Deutsche Bank (DB)'s failure to deal with a stock-trading scheme that enabled some of its clients in Russia to improperly move huge sums of money out of the country and into offshore accounts, according to regulators. (see February 27, 2017 and December 5, 2017, below)
February 27, 2017
Wilbur Ross was confirmed as Treasury Secretary on February 27. That evening Rachael Maddow reviewed the Trump/RybolovlevPalm Beach real estate sale. She revealed that the $50+ million note that this transaction settled had been due to Deutsche Bank.
She confirmed that Rybolovev had at that time been a majority owner of the Bank of Cyprus and that the Former Chairman of Dutsche Bank had become the Chairman of The Bank of Cyprus while Ross served as vice-chair.
February 28, 2017
After being confirmed as Commerce Secretary, Wilbur L. Ross Jr. retained investments in Navigator, a shipping firm he once controlled that has significant business ties to Navigator’s biggest client is the Russian petrochemicals giant Sibur, a company part-owned by Kirill Shamanov, a Russian billionaire oligarch. Despite selling off numerous other holdings to join the Trump administration and spearhead its “America first” trade policy, Mr. Ross kept an investment in Navigator. (see November 28, below)
March 7, 2017
'This is ridiculous': White House official denounces 'conspiracy' about Trump and Russian billionaire. The timing has raised questions about whether Trump met with the oligarch, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, while their planes were parked at the same time in Las Vegas in late October and then in Charlotte, North Carolina, in early November. "
November 6, 2017
Special counsel Robert Mueller will probably indict President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, former Democratic National Committee Chair Howard Dean predicted. “I expect there’s a good likelihood Jared Kushner will be indicted for money laundering, and then we’re going to see how far this Russian involvement goes,” Dean said on MSNBC.
November 7, 2017
Several Senate Democrats are calling for new hearings and an inspector general investigation into Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross - “Sec. Ross’s stake in company so closely tied to Putin inner circle raises profound question: Can he put America’s interests before his own?” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)
November 15, 2017 - am
Raising questions regarding ethics, three longtime colleagues of Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross filed a lawsuit against him for pocketing $48,000,000 in management fees. The people in litigation against Wilbur Ross and WL Ross now make up a significant portion of the firm’s former leadership team. -- The ongoing lawsuits have some similarities to an earlier case, in which a vice chairman of WL Ross sued for more than $20 million, accusing Wilbur Ross of trying to cut him out of interests and fees he had been promised.
November 15, 2017 - pm
Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, owned by Dmitry Rybolovlev, was sold at Christie’s in New York for $450 million fueling speculation particularly on social media, in view of the uncertainty of the painting's attribution and its substantial restoration.
"Christie's says most scholars agree that the painting is by Leonardo, though some critics have questioned the attribution and some say the extensive restoration muddies the work's authorship."
November 28, 2017
By reaining his ownership of Navigator, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross reportedly continues to share business interests with oligarc Kirill Shamanov, part owner of petro chemical giant Sylbur. Katerina Tikhonova— the wealthy dancer who is married to Shamanov—has finally been confirmed to be the daughter of Vladimir Putin, Reuters reported.
December 5, 2017
Mueller subpoenas Trump Deutsche Bank records, sources say. Deutsche Bank for months has rebuffed calls by Democratic lawmakers to provide more transparency over the roughly $300 million Trump owed to the bank for his real estate dealings prior to becoming president. (see 2014, above)
Though Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers, said Deutsche Bank has not received any subpoena for financial records relating to the president as part of Mueller’s probe, Deutsche Bank has lent the Trump Organization hundreds of millions of dollars for real estate ventures and is one of the few major lenders that has given large amounts of credit to Trump in the past decade. A string of bankruptcies at his hotel and casino businesses during the 1990s made most of Wall Street wary of extending him credit.
December 8, 2017,
Democratic lawmakers are asking the Treasury Department to turn over any intelligence data it has about President Donald Trump and his associates, citing two recent reports of financial dealings with Russians. -- Their request comes after reports highlighting one of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross' investments that has ties to Russia .......
December 12, 2017
Revealed: Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia was the mystery buyer of the world's most expensive painting.
December 15, 2017
An detailed analysis and flow-chart by Dr. Ruth May exploring The Bank of Cyprus and Russian money laundering concludes: Cyprus is at the center of a circle of corruption surrounding Trump.
August 7, 2018
Business Insider UK: "Wilbur Ross allegedly swindled $120 million from associates and 'could rank among the biggest grifters in American history,' according to a bombshell Forbes report."
September 3, 2018
Guardian UK reports: The Louvre Abu Dhabi has indefinitely postponed the unveiling of Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the world’s most expensive painting, which has been the subject of intense speculation over its acquisition and authenticity.
September 9, 2018
David Leonhardt, the New York Times Opinion columnist, former Washington bureau chief for the Times, and winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, discusses 'The Urgent Question of Trump and Money Laundering'
September 14, 2018
Paul Manafort pleads guilty to charges of money laundering, including transacting millions of dollars through The Bank of Cyprus during 2012 when Rybolovlev was the bank's largest shareholder,
October 3, 2018
Speculation that the sale of Salvator Mundi may have involved money laundering reaches Twitter. "Mohammed bin Salman bought the painting from Rybolovlev for an unbelievable valuation. It's almost as if Saudia Arabia needed to find a way to pay Russia a couple hundred million dollars without raising alarms."
Donald Trump disputes CIA finding that Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman had ordered the execution of Jamal Khashoggi. Though Trump has claimed he has no financial interests in Saudi Arabia, Yahoo Finance reveals the Kingdom twice helped save Trump from bankruptcy.
January 2, 2019
Narativ reports Muller investigation of Dmitry Robolovlov. "Salvator Mundi, may hold the key to the Trump-Russia investigation. And, the artwork itself could be evidence of collusion.
"At first, laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in full view of a global audience, may not seem like the smartest move, but the facts support this may have been what the two crown princes and Dmitry Rybolovlev tried to do."
January 11, 2019
Under the title What if the Obstruction Was the Collusion? Benjamin Wittes, the Research Director in Public Law, and Co-Director of the Harvard Law School – Brookings Project on Law and Security, writes in Lawfare: " I think there likely was—and still is—one umbrella investigation with a number of different threads.
On the previous day, Lawfare had published Wittes' article: How Robert Mueller Can Write a Report the Justice Department Cannot Suppress