Sep 28

Follow The Money- Part 3

Back on May 13th I shared with you 2 parts of what turns out now to be a Trilogy (Sharknado XV: The Jumping!) of documentaries by the Dutch Network Zembla.

Well, I was wrong about one thing Zembla is not a network, it is a show- like 60 Minutes. The network is VARA. This third part is the product of a joint investigation by Zembla, McClatchy, and The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

It aired on Dutch TV yesterday and documents how The Donald and his business partners were involved in an over $1 Billion scheme to launder money including that from Russian oligarchs.

Focusing on the transfer of funds from Kazakhstan through Dutch colonial banks it demonstrates that some of the money was used to buy high-end Manhattan apartments from Trump and to set up the Bayrock Partnership which backed Trump’s SoHo Tower project.

As Steven Rosenfeld of AlterNet reports-

“The significant thing is they have got the Kazakh government saying that Bayrock was a money launderer for these guys,” (financial investigative reporter and editor at DCReport James) Henry told AlterNet. “What is interesting, if [special counsel Robert] Mueller wants to take a look at this, is we have [Trump’s mob-connected business partner] Felix Sater laundering criminal money.”

U.S. laws such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act make it a crime to launder money tied to prior illegal acts, Henry said. The documentary, whose reporting was also developed in collaboration with McClatchy News’ Washington office, traces how investing in Trump’s Soho Tower included concealing illegal money-laundering activities. Trump did not tell other investors about any of this, as required under U.S. financial law, he said, “a continuing cover-up of money laundering.”

Zembla says (op. cit.)-

Will Donald Trump go down due to his dubious ties to the former Soviet Union? … The president seems to be getting in deeper and deeper. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating if Trump colluded with Russia in order to win the elections, is also digging into Trump’s past as a businessman. In that past, one of Donald Trump’s business partners plays a crucial role: Felix Sater, a convicted felon who has ties with the Russian mafia. Last May, Zembla disclosed how an American real estate company, run by Sater, used Dutch mailbox companies within a network, which has been suspected of laundering money. Allegedly $1.5 million had been diverted. Donald Trump developed hotels and apartment complexes with this suspicious company.

In the last few months Zembla received indications of a greater fraud. A billion-dollar fraud. And here Sater, Trump’s questionable business partner shows up, as well. The money trail leads to Kazakhstan, to real estate projects in New York and again to the Netherlands. Zembla investigates: How compromising is this case for the current president of America?

The documentary also implicates Rudy Giuliani and Wilbur Ross, current Commerce Secretary. Sander Rietveld, the Director says-

We investigated hundreds of company records, court documents in the U.S., Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Belize, etc., and interviewed dozens of sources. The result is a follow-the-money documentary revealing the connections between several people in Trump’s orbit and an alleged multibillion-dollar fraud. Also the pivotal role of the Netherlands as an offshore haven gets attention. With Dutch help, Kazakh oligarchs allegedly were able to divert and launder huge amounts of money.

Ilyas Khrapunov, one of the Kazakh oligarchs named in the film, attempted to suppress it before airing in the Netherlands. His request was denied Monday.