Mueller, Trump and ex-Soviet money laundering

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(Cartoon by @TerryWynne)

The current three-part ABC Four Corners series on President Donald J. Trump and his historical connections with Russian money launderers explains why he is so worried about Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller has been investigating Russian connections with the 2016 Trump presidential campaign for over a year now.

The New York Times has reported Trump lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow writing to Mueller that Trump cannot be charged with obstruction of justice because... well... he is the Pres!

Trump really does not want to talk to Mueller. To see why, watch the ABC program or this three-part Dutch television series by the Zembla program:

The shows will also explain why Mueller has stacked his team with specialist investigators of money laundering. Money laundering replaces stolen or illegally obtained money with money from apparently legal activity.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, Donald Trump and Russian money launderers have been connected by one degree of separation since 2001. The name of that one degree is Russian-American Felix Sater.

President George W. Bush in 2001 appointed Mueller, a registered Republican, to a ten-year term as FBI Director.

With his new job, Mueller inherited the services of Felix Sater, who had been an FBI informant since 1998, when he cut a deal over a multi-million dollar stock fraud.

Two years after Mueller’s appointment as FBI director, Sater became managing director at Bayrock Group which began plans for an ill-fated $200m Trump International Hotel in Arizona.

The Bayrock Group was founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan who became an international businessman.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, a lot of money was exported from its member republics to The United States and Western Europe.

In 2005, Trump, Sater and Bayrock began another project for a Moscow Trump high-rise, which never came to fruition.

The next year, Bayrock became a partner with Trump in the $450m New York hotel project, Trump SoHo and Felix Sater became a consultant for the Trump organisation.

It would be very surprising if FBI director Robert Mueller did not take a keen interest in the relationships of informant Sater, Trump, and former Soviet citizens.

For his part, Trump has said he had a vague idea Sater was working with the Government. Sater said he may have mentioned it but not with any detail.

In any case, you can see why Trump is trying to convince his supporters of the bias of the FBI.

One degree of separation timeline

1991: The USSR is dissolved and funds begin to be removed from its member republics.

1998: Russian-born American Felix Sater becomes an FBI informant after he pleads guilty over a multi-million dollar stock fraud.

2001: Robert Mueller becomes the FBI Director.

2003: Sater becomes managing director at Bayrock Group which partners with Donald Trump in a $200m Trump International Hotel in Arizona.

2006: Construction begins on another partnership, Trump SoHo.

2009: Sater is sentenced on the stock fraud, fined $25,000 with no conviction and his records are sealed for 10 years.

2010: Trump SoHo is completed. The $450 million, 46-story, 39-unit hotel in New York City is set to be plagued with lawsuits and financial difficulties.

2013: Mueller finishes his term as FBI Director.

2016: At a campaign rally, Republican candidate Trump says:

“Putin said Donald Trump is a genius and next great leader of the United States.” 

2017: The Trump organisation severs ties with Trump SoHo and the building is renamed The Dominick.

Bernie Dowling is the author of the new release non-fiction book, 'Maaate! Bribe-Proofing the Public Purse Against Good Blokes'. You can follow Bernie on Twitter @bentbananabooks.

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