Before he became president, Donald Trump was basically an unsuccessful businessman who managed, time and again, to fail upward. He filed for bankruptcy six times — five times for his casinos and once for the Plaza Hotel.. . . An astounding number of his other business ventures have gone belly up too, including Trump Airlines, Trump University, and Trump Magazine.
Trump’s business failures over the years and his unorthodox financial behavior pushed him to the margins of the financial world. . . . Trump began to rely on some questionable characters and networks. He created baroque financial arrangements involving shell companies. He used pseudonyms on contracts. He became squirrely about his tax returns. And he started to use large amounts of cash. For instance, he purchased huge properties — golf courses in the UK ($79 million), a Scottish estate ($12 million), a Virginia winery ($16 million) — in cash. In all, since 2006, he paid for properties in cash to the tune of $400 million. It just so happens that these are all telltale signs of money laundering: the cash, the shell companies, the pseudonyms, the lack of transparency and due diligence.. . .Yes, it's unfortunate that the practitioners of journamalism weren't interested in all of this before Individual 1 became president -- Hillary Clinton's e-mail management practices were obviously far more important. But some people have finally noticed.
Many of the purchasers of Trump properties are Russian. A Reuters investigation last year discovered that Russian buyers purchased nearly $100 million in condos in Florida from Trump. A Russian-Canadian billionaire poured millions into a Trump property in Toronto, including a $100 million “commission” to a Moscow fixer to attract other Russian investors. In 2008, a Russian oligarch paid $95 million to Trump for a Palm Beach mansion that the Russian never subsequently occupied. It was an extraordinary mark-up for a property Trump had bought four years before for $41 million. . . .