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Russia researcher testifies that Trump had ‘pattern’ of Kremlin-connected money laundering

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 1/19/2018 By Chris Sommerfeldt
A general view of the sign and exterior of Trump Tower entrance. © Photo by Epics/Getty Images A general view of the sign and exterior of Trump Tower entrance.

A Russian gangster operated an illegal gambling ring out of a Trump Tower apartment. President Trump had a “pattern” of making real estate deals with Russians indicative of money laundering. Eric Trump bragged about having unlimited access to Russian money for his golf course developments. And Trump associates crossed paths with a number of Kremlin-connected oligarchs during the campaign.

Those are just some of the explosive revelations from the newly released testimony that Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson gave to the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Simpson’s organization is first and foremost known for tasking former British spy Christopher Steele with digging into Trump’s Russian entanglements. Steele made international headlines after it was revealed that he compiled the “Trump-Russia dossier” — an infamous cache of documents that claims the Russian government has blackmailed Trump to do its bidding after obtaining damaging information about him, including a video tape allegedly showing him engaging in “perverted sexual acts.”

During his testimony before the House select intelligence committee on Nov. 14, Simpson told investigators that none of the information Steele obtained about Trump stood out as improbable.

“What we did do is look at names and places and people and whether they matched up with information we could get elsewhere. And all of that, as far as it went, checked out,” Simpson told the committee.

Simpson gave similar testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee in August — transcripts of which were made public by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein last month.

Contrary to the Senate testimony, Simpson’s House testimony was predominantly focused on Trump’s alleged history of cutting shady business deals involving Russians and money laundering.

Simpson testified that Russian gangster Alimzhan Tokhtakhunov ran a “high-stakes gambling ring out of Trump Tower” while on the run from authorities trying to arrest him over allegedly rigging a skating competition at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah.

“Generally speaking, the patterns of activity that we thought might be suggestive of money laundering were, you know, fast turnover deals and deals where there seemed to have been efforts to disguise the identity of the buyer,” Simpson said of Tokhtakhunov’s Trump Tower operation.

Tokhtakhunov has connections to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Simpson continued, and when Trump went to Moscow in 2013 for the Miss Universe pageant, the gangster was spotted with Trump and “lots of other Kremlin biggies” in a VIP section.

Simpson explained that almost all oligarchs and organized criminals in Russia have ties to the Kremlin and often operate on their behalf or with their blessing.

Based on that premise, Simpson said Trump’s ties to the Kremlin are rather extensive. For several of Trump’s larger real estate developments, Simpson said wealthy Russian criminals with ties to Putin helped him commit fraud by pretending to buy stake in his properties in order to convince actual buyers to chip in after banks had refused to give Trump credit.

“If people who seem to be associated with the Russian mafia are buying Trump properties or arranging for other people to buy Trump properties or arranging for other people to buy Trump properties, it does raise a question about whether they’re doing it on behalf of the government,” Simpson said.

Simpson added that he has the same suspicions for Trump’s son, Eric Trump, who once bragged about not needing banks to fund his real estate ventures since he supposedly has access to $100 million in Russian cash.

In another glaring part of the testimony, Simpson said that several of Trump’s associates and relatives — including Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump — crossed paths with Russians during the campaign so many times that it could’ve hardly been “coincidences.”

California Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the committee that interviewed Simpson, said the testimony is strong enough to implore Congress to act.

“Simpson raises questions on money laundering the Committee must investigate,” Schiff tweeted after the testimony was made public on Thursday afternoon.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has started digging into Trump’s alleged history of money laundering, according to reports. Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russian government has already produced four federal indictments against Trump associates.


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