Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Individual 1 and cash washing

A commenter (unpublished, because I'm responding to it here) asks why I'm so confident that individual 1's business consists of laundering money for Russian mobsters. The case is made here, by John Feffer, and it's pretty compelling. Too long, do read, but a couple of money shots:

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.. . .

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. . . .
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.


Anonymous said...

It's not journalism's job to catch criminals. It's law enforcement's and none of this from FBI to Interpol was a problem until the election and still isn't.

Now, all-of-a-sudden decidedly hostile media types such as John Feffer of The Nation is trying to make a case.

Where was John for the last fifteen years?

Where is/was the FBI and Interpol?

Cervantes said...

I believe I said it's disturbing that journalists didn't want to look at this earlier. Feffer's affiliation is irrelevant -- evaluate the quality of the evidence he presents. And there are plenty of other writers who have looked into this recently, I just picked one of a dozen or so I could have linked to.

The FBI is indeed investigating this now, be assured. The prior impunity is hard to explain other than to say that most white collar crime goes uninvestigated and unpunished, until other rich people are harmed. (Viz. Bernie Madoff.)