Will the Mueller probe examine Trump’s Russian business ties?

20 May 2017 12:05 pm

Robert Mueller, who was recently appointed as a special counsel to investigate Russian interference in the Presidential election, will have the opportunity to look at the elephant in the room behind Donald Trump’s presidency and his links to Russia.

The bottom line is Trump has extensive business ties to Russia.

As Kevin Hall and Nicholas Nehemas point out for McClatchy, the former FBI director has been authorised to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated” with the Trump campaign and “any matter that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”

That means almost anything counts if it has come out of the look into potential collusion between Russia, Russians and the 2016 presidential elections.

Trump’s business ties to Russia go back 30 years.

In 1987, Trump was invited to Moscow by the Soviet ambassador to the United States to discuss luxury hotel developments. It didn’t work out but four years later, on Christmas Day, the Soviet Union officially dissolved, and Russians who had been allowed to buy state-owned enterprises amassed enormous fortunes.

When Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza began construction two decades ago as the tallest residential building in the country (90 stories), its most expensive floors attracted wealthy people getting their money out of what had been the Soviet Union. Trump needed their money because he was renegotiating $1.8 billion in junk bonds for his Atlantic City resorts, and the tower was built on a mountain of debt owed to German banks.

Trump made a large number of condominium sales to people with ties to former Soviet republics. “We had big buyers from Russia and Ukraine and Kazakhstan,” Debra Stotts, a sales agent who filled up the tower told Bloomberg.

Trump has a talked about his strong relationship with Aras Agalarov, the Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire and Putin ally. As detailed in the Washington Post, he partnered with Trump on the Miss Universe pageant that was held in Moscow, in 2013, and from which Trump made a multi-million-dollar profit. Out of that relationship came Trump signing an agreement to build a Trump Tower in the heart of Moscow.

Adam Davidson in the New Yorker sums up where this investigation could go to

“Trump often did business with people known in banking as politically exposed persons, meaning government leaders or their family who might be using their power for personal gains,” Davidson writes. “His deals in Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Philippines, Indonesia and Turkey, to name a few were with partners likely to trigger special scrutiny under US and international banking rules.

“In the past, the Trump Organisation’s chaff structure might have served the purpose of confusing a full-on investigation. But it is not structured to withstand the level of scrutiny that Mueller can bring to bear as special counsel. That calculation has, now and permanently, changed.

2017

October

22 Oct 2017 - Trump vow to declassify Kennedy files is a distraction

07 Oct 2017 - What’s ahead for the Minerals Council of Australia?

September

16 Sep 2017 - Australia’s energy crisis shows the stupidity of privatisation

09 Sep 2017 - Why climate change will devastate Florida

July

16 Jul 2017 - Laws of mathematics don’t apply to Australia: Malcolm Turnbull

June

17 Jun 2017 - Political backlash over the Grenfell fire

11 Jun 2017 - A win for Macron is a lesson for Theresa May

04 Jun 2017 - Attacks in London could change the election

May

28 May 2017 - Why Donald Trump will survive and be re-elected in 2020

20 May 2017 - Will the Mueller probe examine Trump’s Russian business ties?

13 May 2017 - Hypocrisy over Chloe Shorten’s necklace

06 May 2017 - Macron vs Le Pen: France is no longer one country

April

29 Apr 2017 - Turnbull government attacks banks over Adani

23 Apr 2017 - Why the French election is important

08 Apr 2017 - Russian navy moves in

01 Apr 2017 - Australia is one of the world’s worst money laundering property markets

March

19 Mar 2017 - Peter Dutton goes poofter bashing

04 Mar 2017 - Trump will take the market to a fiscal bloodbath

February

26 Feb 2017 - Trump’s mental condition

18 Feb 2017 - Adani’s results tell us the company will not develop in Australia

11 Feb 2017 - Why the Coalition’s “clean coal” plan is crap

04 Feb 2017 - It’s Trump versus the courts

January

27 Jan 2017 - The cost of Trump's wall on consumers

21 Jan 2017 - A look at Europe's future

20 Jan 2017 - Can Trump make America great again?

16 Jan 2017 - Trump parallels with Iraq


View archive