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Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:02 pm
by seemslikeadream

Felix Sater. Photo credit: Felix Sater / YouTube
Who is Felix Sater? It is the question readers of mainstream media outlets have been asking themselves this week after it was revealed that the confidant of President Donald Trump played a role in trying to secure a business deal for the real estate mogul in Moscow.

WhoWhatWhy readers, on the other hand, know all about this Moscow-born “Senior Advisor” to Trump. In the most comprehensive article published anywhere on Sater, we pulled back the curtain on this con man-turned-FBI informant and how he links the president to shady figures in the former Soviet Union.

Significantly, we also underlined an inherent conflict of interest by the FBI — and pointed out why it will be hard for that agency to tell us everything we need to know about this man. The same issue may pose a problem for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director.

If you didn’t read the original piece, or if you simply want a refresher on the Felix Sater story now that everyone is talking about him, take a look now.

Reporters: Jonathan Z. Larsen is the former editor of The Village Voice, whose reporting team included the late Wayne Barrett and Robert I. Friedman. These people and the paper produced many of the important early investigative reports on Donald Trump and on the mob. Larsen is now a senior editor and board member of WhoWhatWhy. Russ Baker, a former investigative reporter for The Village Voice, is Editor-in-Chief of WhoWhatWhy. C. Collins is a WhoWhatWhy reporter.

UPDATES: Please see the following for more on this ever-unfolding mystery:

More About Felix Sater — The Problematical Friend Trump Forgot (4/5/2017)

Government Must Tell if Trump Associate Had Russian Mob Ties (4/27/2017)

Felix Sater Links Trump to Comey’s Replacement (5/15/2017)

Listen to a behind-the-scenes interview on this exclusive Trump-Russia-FBI story — a conversation with Russ Baker and Jonathan Larsen on Radio WhoWhatWhy.

Donald Trump, Trump Tower
Photo credit: James Hughes / NY Daily News via Getty Image

The Federal Bureau of Investigation cannot tell us what we need to know about Donald Trump’s contacts with Russia. Why? Because doing so would jeopardize a long-running, ultra-sensitive operation targeting mobsters tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to Trump.

But the Feds’ stonewalling risks something far more dangerous: Failing to resolve a crisis of trust in America’s president. WhoWhatWhy provides the details of a two-month investigation in this 6,500-word exposé.

The FBI apparently knew, directly or indirectly, based upon available facts, that prior to Election Day, Trump and his campaign had personal and business dealings with certain individuals and entities linked to criminal elements — including reputed Russian gangsters — connected to Putin.

The same facts suggest that the FBI knew or should have known enough prior to the election to justify informing the public about its ongoing investigation of potentially compromising relationships between Trump, Putin, and Russian mobsters — even if it meant losing or exposing a valued informant.


It will take an agency independent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to expose Donald Trump’s true relationship with Moscow and the role Russia may have played in getting him elected.

Director James Comey recently revealed in a congressional hearing for the first time that the FBI “is investigating … the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts.”

However, a two-month WhoWhatWhy investigation has revealed an important reason the Bureau may be facing undisclosed obstacles to revealing what it knows to the public or to lawmakers.

Our investigation also may explain why the FBI, which was very public about its probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, never disclosed its investigation of the Trump campaign prior to the election, even though we now know that it commenced last July.

Such publicity could have exposed a high-value, long-running FBI operation against an organized crime network headquartered in the former Soviet Union. That operation depended on a convicted criminal who for years was closely connected with Trump, working with him in Trump Tower — while constantly informing for the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), and being legally protected by them.

Some federal officials were so involved in protecting this source — despite his massive fraud and deep connections to organized crime — that they became his defense counsel after they left the government.

In secret court proceedings that were later unsealed, both current and former government attorneys argued for extreme leniency toward the man when he was finally sentenced. An FBI agent who expressed his support for the informant later joined Trump’s private security force.

In this way, the FBI’s dilemma about revealing valuable sources, assets and equities in its ongoing investigation of links between the Trump administration and Russian criminal elements harkens back to the embarrassing, now infamous Whitey Bulger episode. In that case, the Feds protected Bulger, a dangerous Boston-based mobster serving as their highly valued informant, even as the serial criminal continued to participate in heinous crimes. The FBI now apparently finds itself confronted with similar issues: Is its investigation of the mob so crucial to national security that it outweighs the public’s right to know about their president?

Jack Blum, a former senior Senate investigator and one of America’s foremost experts on white-collar financial crime, sums up the complexity — and the urgency — of the situation:

“What makes this investigation especially difficult is that it will lead into the complex relations between the counterintelligence operations of the FBI and its criminal investigative work,” says Blum.

“Further, it is likely other elements of the intelligence community are involved and that they have ‘equities’ to protect. Much of the evidence, justifiably, will be highly classified to protect sources and methods and in particular to protect individuals who have helped one or another of the agencies involved.”
FBI, New York Office
Photo credit: FBI

“I Can’t Go into Those Details Here”
In his March 20 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey said that he could not go into detail about its probe into the Trump administration’s Russian connection.

If he had, we might have learned that, for more than three decades the FBI has had Trump Tower in its sights. Many of its occupants have been targets of major investigations, others have been surveilled, and yet others have served as informants. One thing many of them have in common is deep ties to organized crime — including the Russian mafia.

Felix Sater fits all of these categories. A convicted felon, Sater worked in Trump Tower, made business deals with Donald Trump through Sater’s real estate firm, Bayrock, cooperated with the FBI and CIA and was subsequently protected by the DOJ from paying for his crimes. And the Moscow-born immigrant remains deeply linked to Russia and Ukraine.

Based on documents examined by WhoWhatWhy, it is possible to draw certain conclusions that help connect the dots between Trump, the FBI, Russia and the mob.

The resulting picture is not a pretty one for Donald Trump. However, because of its efforts to neutralize the organization of perhaps the world’s most powerful mobster — a man considered a serious national security threat — the Bureau might just have compromised its own ability to provide to Congress or inform the American public about all of the ties that exist between Trump, his presidential campaign and the regime of Vladimir Putin.

Further, Trump’s business association with Sater and Bayrock may have put the president’s financial interests at substantial risk, including possibly millions of dollars in fines, penalties, or other damages, should civil or criminal misconduct be proven in court or otherwise resolved if claims were triggered. Anyone who knew of Trump’s jeopardy in this matter would have enormous leverage over the Trump operation.

The government’s kid-glove treatment of Sater is partially explained in those long-suppressed legal documents, which reveal that the mobbed-up businessman was perceived by the authorities to be extraordinarily cooperative and useful. Legal filings on Sater’s behalf state that he “reported daily” to the FBI for many years.

Sater agreed to assist the US government on issues of national security and organized crime. His activities were first revealed in a lawsuit brought by a former employee of Sater’s real estate firm, Bayrock. While working with Trump, Sater’s name became “Satter” publicly — presumably with the knowledge if not the encouragement of the FBI. This distanced Satter the businessman, and his partners, from Sater the criminal.

Attorneys representing the plaintiff spent years untangling the financial machinations of Bayrock — which they allege involve hundred of millions of dollars in claims arising from, among other things, money laundering and fraud.

They also sought to expose the government’s awareness of — even complicity in — Sater’s activities.

Their efforts to unseal court documents, including Sater’s legal history, have been met with a concerted pushback by DOJ lawyers, mischaracterizations of the case record, and even — according to the attorneys — anonymous death threats.

Felix Sater could not be reached for comment.*(See Editor’s Note at bottom for update)

A Stunning Discovery
The story of Donald Trump’s business dealings with a Russian mobster might never have come out were it not for a Bayrock employee stumbling upon Sater’s cooperation agreement with the FBI, among other sensitive information, that had inadvertently been left accessible.

That employee sought out attorney Fred Oberlander, who combed through the documents. Over time, Oberlander — who was instructing undergraduates at Yale University in computational physics and computer science from age 18 — began to deconstruct the byzantine financial structure that was Bayrock, which allegedly hid a range of crimes, including massive-scale money laundering from sources in the former Soviet Union.

On February 10, 2010, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, instructed Oberlander, in a secret order, not to inform the legislative branch of the United States government what he knew about Felix Sater. (That order remains under seal, but a federal judge has unsealed a redacted version.)

Apparently, the appellate court was persuaded that the unusually broad order was justified on the merits, but the lawyers opposing Sater found the imposed remedy extraordinary.

“Our being ordered to not tell Congress what we know may well be the first and only hyper-injunction in American history,” asserts Oberlander’s own attorney, Richard Lerner. “If there are others who have been scared silent by judges who wish to nullify Congressional and public oversight, we may never know. That is frightening.”

Characters Out of a James Bond Movie
Preventing the Russian mafia from expanding its foothold in the United States has been one of the Bureau’s top priorities. In fact, it might be the FBI’s most important function apart from its role in the fight against terrorism.

The Russian mob has a breathtaking and underappreciated reach. It is so powerful that FBI Agent Peter Kowenhoven told CNN in 2009 that Semion Mogilevich, its “boss of bosses,” is a strategic threat, and a man who “can, with a telephone call or order, affect the global economy.”

US authorities came to see Mogilevich, who is described as close with Putin, as not only a danger to the financial system but a potential threat to world peace. He had access to stockpiles of military weapons and even fissionable material, snapped up as the Soviet Union fell apart.

His rumored ability to deliver the makings of weapons of mass destruction to the highest bidder — as well as his experience in smuggling opium from Afghanistan — would take on the very highest importance after 9/11, when European intelligence sources reported that al-Qaeda representatives had contacted Mogilevich in search of nuclear material.

The Russian mob should also not be confused with a mere crime syndicate. It is an organization comprised of state actors, oligarchs, and specific groups of individuals working collectively with the authority of the Russian government — a “mafia state.” At times, it is difficult to tell where the mob ends and the government begins.

To some, the Russian mob brings to mind the globalized villains of a James Bond movie, who want everything and will stop at nothing.

Robert I. Friedman, a former colleague of the authors of this article at The Village Voice, drew the ire of Mogilevich for his reporting on the Russian mafia. The “boss of bosses” put a $100,000 price on Friedman’s head soon after the publication of one of his fearless exposés of Mogilevich, and the FBI suggested that he stop reporting on the topic. (Friedman died in 2002, at the age of 51, of a rare blood disease he was said to have contracted on a trip to India.)

Enter Trump
Right from the earliest days of Trump Tower, in 1983, some of the choicest condominiums, including those in the 10 floors immediately below the future president’s own triplex apartment, went to a rogues gallery of criminals and their associates.

Granted, the construction and gambling industries have long been bedeviled by connections to organized crime. It may have been impossible for Trump to have avoided those ties altogether. Nevertheless, according to many news stories and public records, Trump has repeatedly been linked to organized crime figures and their associates.
Donald Trump, Roy Cohn
Donald Trump and Roy Cohn, October 18, 1984. Photo credit: Bettmann Archive / Getty Images

To be sure, nouveaux riches of all stripes were attracted to the Trump “glamour” and might well have had difficulty gaining approval of traditional condo or coop boards. Nonetheless, Trump must have known that many of his occupants were problematic — and likely to draw the attention of law enforcement.

Tower occupants have included:

– Verina Hixon, a close friend of John A. Cody, New York’s concrete union boss, living in six units just below Trump’s triplex. Cody, with ties to the Gambino crime family, was later sentenced to five years in prison for racketeering. Trump and Cody reportedly helped Hixon with a loan so she could pay for the units.

– Robert Hopkins, who was arrested in his suite for ordering a mob murder of a gambling competitor. Hopkins would eventually be convicted of running a massive gambling ring, partly from Trump Tower, an operation that occasioned what was perhaps the first of many wiretaps in the building. Trump appeared in person at the closing on the apartment, where, according to our Village Voice colleague Wayne Barrett’s 1991 Trump biography, Hopkins sat at the end of a conference table counting out $200,000 in cash. (It was mob lawyer Roy Cohn who introduced Hopkins to Trump.)

– Sheldon and Jay Weinberg, an enterprising father-son duo: The father was masterminding the biggest Medicaid fraud known at the time; the son was later indicted on grand larceny and insurance fraud. The Weinbergs rented directly from Trump three condominiums he had kept for himself.

– David Bogatin purchased five apartments on the 62nd floor while running a massive tax avoidance scandal involving commercial gasoline sales. Bogatin had ties with Italian and Russian mobsters. He would later flee to Poland and set up a highly successful chain of banks there before being extradited to the US, where he ended up in the maximum-security state prison in Attica, NY.

– Joseph Weichselbaum, Trump’s helicopter pilot, convicted of drug trafficking on three occasions.

– Glamorous international art dealer Helly Nahmad, then 34, who lived in a sprawling apartment in Trump Tower (and according to some accounts owned the entire 51st floor), was later convicted and served five months of a one-year sentence for running an illegal gambling operation. He helped orchestrate super-high-stakes card games that sometimes were played in Trump Tower and “catered to billionaires, Russian oligarchs, Hollywood stars, and pro athletes,” including Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Tobey Maguire, and Ben Affleck. Also convicted were Vadim Trincher and his sons Eugene and Ilya; the Trinchers had apartments in Trump Tower too.

Of course, living in Trump Tower by no means suggests any sort of criminality or association between or among the residents. Still, the list is impressive.

But even in this company, one man stands out. Not surprisingly, he is from the former Soviet Union.

Spying on Trump Tower — Since 1983
When the Soviet Union was breaking up in the early 1990s, Mogilevich (AKA “The Boss of Bosses,” AKA “The Brainy Don”) suborned a Russian judge to spring a ruthless and canny lifetime criminal from a Siberian prison. His name was Vyacheslav “Yaponchik” Ivankov.
Vyacheslav Ivankov, Semion Mogilevich
Vyacheslav Ivankov and Semion Mogilevich (inset) Photo credit: Alchetron (public domain) and FBI / Wikimedia

Four months later, in March 1992, Ivankov arrived in the United States to organize a new criminal network. He would take the disparate elements of already-established Russian-speaking criminals and use them to create a sophisticated, well-managed operation that could launder funds and generate cash flow as part of a transnational network. But authorities had no idea where he was.

“And then,” recounted a former FBI agent in Robert I. Friedman’s book Red Mafiya, “we found out he was living in a luxury condo in Trump Tower.”

The moment the Feds spotted him, he vanished again, only to resurface later in an Atlantic City casino: Trump’s Taj Mahal.

Thus, by the early 1990s, both the arrival of Russian organized crime in the US and the strange attraction of Trump properties for Russian mobsters were on the Bureau’s radar.

FBI activity in Trump Tower dates back to soon after it was built, in 1983. Around that time, the Bureau put electronic surveillance in the building with a tap on the phone of the above-mentioned Trump Tower resident Robert Hopkins, a Lucchese crime family associate, who was eventually arrested in the Tower for ordering a murder.

FBI interest in Trump Tower continued through the 1990s, when the Bureau, working closely with US prosecutors at the Eastern District (which includes Brooklyn), began to focus on the business operations of a man with ties to Mogilevich: the aforementioned Felix Sater.

At about the same time, Trump found himself in a bind with his commercial lenders, who kept his public mystique alive while in essence secretly stripping him of control of his casinos and putting him on an “allowance,” as they tried to salvage what they could from the wreckage of his disastrous business decisions. They retained the Trump name on his most iconic properties, based on the cold calculation that his “brand” might still help draw customers.

Трамп и его деньги (Trump and his Money)
As Trump lost access to traditional lines of credit, his desperate need for financing led to sources that are murky, at best, including monies traceable back to the former Soviet Union — a circumstance that may explain Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns.

According to two pages of Trump’s 2005 tax returns, purportedly sent anonymously to reporter David Cay Johnston, Trump appeared to make an enormous amount of money that year — earning more than $153 million, which put him into a tiny class of super-rich Americans, probably numbering in the dozens.

Trump’s windfall seems to have developed around the same time that investors from countries of the former Soviet Union started opening the cash spigot.
James Comey, Loretta Lynch,
Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch with FBI Director James Comey (left), and US Attorney Preet Bharara at a press conference on March 24, 2016. Photo credit: FBI

A 2013 indictment of the illegal high-stakes card games’ organizers, brought by US Attorney Preet Bharara, alleged not only high-stakes illegal gambling and the laundering of approximately $100 million dollars, but also extortion, as ring members used threats and force to strip ”money and property” from clients.

One of the operation’s leaders, Alimzhan “Taiwanchik” Tokhtakhounov, an alleged international crime boss and admitted friend of top Mogilevich lieutenant Vyacheslav “Yaponchik” Ivankov (who, as noted, was found living in Trump Tower at one point), managed the ring from afar; he could not legally enter the US as he was already wanted on charges of trying to bribe ice-skating judges at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. Tokhtakhounov has often been tied to Boss of Bosses Semion Mogilevich.

Bharara, whom Trump recently fired — after accepting the resignations of other US attorneys left over from the Obama administration — is not the only big name who was involved in investigating the goings-on in Trump Tower. Former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch also played a part. Lynch, first a prosecutor and then the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, would have had knowledge of an FBI operation that involved Sater, the Russian mobster-turned-cooperating-witness.

“If he (Sater) were sitting in a room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” – Donald Trump, 2013 deposition
While Sater has recently been the subject of some news coverage — his name came up during the March 20 House Intelligence Committee’s public hearing on Russia, when Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) asked FBI Director James Comey about him — no thorough exploration of the Bureau’s dealings with this key informant has been published.

Until now.

The information below is based on an extensive exploration of those dealings, and of previously unexamined and unpublished legal documents, which the government has sought to suppress.

The picture that emerges goes to the heart of the many questions raised about Trump’s relationship to Putin’s Russia in the weeks before and after the presidential election.

Efforts to try to get this information to the public appear to have been aggressively blocked by the DOJ because it would potentially expose their own operations — both those that have been effective and others that have not.


Felix Sater had been on the Bureau’s radar since the mid-1990s, when they were investigating Russian mob–affiliated financial scams.

Very soon after Semion Mogilevich associate “Yaponchik” Ivankov arrived in the US, in 1993, Sater, together with an Italian mob associate named Salvatore Lauria, and others, had taken over a firm called White Rock and created a criminal brokerage whose only purpose was to fleece investors and launder money.

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It excelled at “pump and dump” scams, a practice in which stock prices are artificially inflated, then sold to unsuspecting investors — especially targeting elderly and unsophisticated buyers with high-pressure cold-calling tactics. White Rock included members and associates of four of the five major New York City organized crime families, including the nephew of mobster Carmine “the Snake” Persico and the brother-in-law of Gambino hit man Sammy “the Bull” Gravano, as well as Russian criminal elements.

The Art of the (Double) Deal
Although shuttering Sater’s operation was considered a great success, authorities soon decided they could leverage it to get even bigger fish. Thus, they cut a deal with Sater, seemingly to help them go after the Russian-speaking mob, and its “Brainy Don,” Semion Mogilevich.

Instead of serving jail time, Sater became a highly valued FBI informant. Using unnamed connections, Sater arranged to locate some Stinger missiles that Osama bin Laden had supposedly placed on the market — an older model that could be used to shoot down commercial airliners.

Immediately after September 11, 2001, Sater received a call from the chief of a new section in the FBI who wanted to talk to him about Stingers, according to Salvatore Lauria in The Scorpion and the Frog, co-authored with journalist David S. Barry. Months later, Sater joined Bayrock — the real estate development company with offices in Trump Tower — and he was soon partnering in business deals with Donald Trump himself. This raises some interesting questions: Did Sater take the job at Bayrock at the FBI’s direction? Indeed, was Sater’s business relationship with Trump at the FBI’s behest?

One thing is certain: Bayrock became one of the most important links between Trump and big-money sources from the former Soviet Union.
Donald Trump, Tevfik Arif, Felix Sater
Donald Trump, Bayrock partner Tevfik Arif, and Felix Sater attend the Trump Soho Launch Party on September 19, 2007 in New York. Photo credit: Mark Von Holden / WireImage

The firm was founded by Tevfik Arif, a former Communist Party functionary in the Soviet republic of what is now Kazakhstan. Arif had formed another entity called Bayrock in Moscow in 1989, during the very last years of the Soviet Union.

Many Soviet functionaries transitioned to successful careers in market capitalism with the help of friends in high places: those with access to resources could make enormous profits by pilfering the moribund Soviet state, and such funds were best laundered and moved abroad for safekeeping and investment. Real estate was generally seen as a stable investment.

During the five years Sater worked at Bayrock, he traveled throughout the former Soviet Union, ostensibly looking for real estate sites to develop with the Trump Organization — while also allegedly laundering hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit funds from mysterious sources in the former Soviet Union. And all the while he was working as an informant for the FBI.

Soon after joining Bayrock (about late 2001 to early 2002), he effectively took control of it — while of necessity hiding that fact from its lenders and clients. Sater was the firm’s Chief Operating Officer, and according to assertions in a lawsuit filed by a former Bayrock employee, by 2006 he owned more than 63% of the firm.

Sater’s dominant role came despite the fact that he was a felon. Because of the services he was providing to the US government, this information was withheld from banks and others with whom Bayrock signed contracts, including condominium buyers.

The Trump organization lent its name to Bayrock projects in Toronto, Florida, Arizona, and in New York City, in the chic SoHo neighborhood; the SoHo project was the only Bayrock development into which the Trump Organization actually put up any equity. Most of the Bayrock-affiliated projects failed, though, leaving a trail of angry investors as well as a string of lawsuits and countersuits. According to legal depositions, most of the projects that Sater worked to develop overseas — necessitating trips to Russia, Poland, and Ukraine (including numerous trips to Crimea) — never seemed to get off the drawing board.

Sater and Trump sometimes traveled together. In September 2005, Trump and apparently Sater flew along with his wife Melania to Colorado, where Sater talked to a local reporter about possible Trump-Bayrock development projects in Denver.

The real estate tycoon and the undercover mobster were close enough that, according to his deposition testimony, Sater could simply walk up a flight of stairs to Trump’s office and stop in for an impromptu chat. Indeed, Sater and the Trump clan grew so close that in February 2006, at the personal request of Donald Trump, the mobster joined his children Ivanka, Donald Jr., and his son’s wife Vanessa in Moscow to show them around, according to his deposition testimony. While he was in Moscow he emailed a journalist about possible Trump-Bayrock developments in Denver, in which he indicated he was with Don Jr.; a few days later Sater is alleged to have called one of the partners at the Arizona project and threatened to have him “tortured and killed,” according to later court filings.

Sater’s tenure at Bayrock might have lasted longer, had The New York Times not “outed” his criminal past in 2007.

Yet a few years later, after Sater had left Bayrock, he could still be found in Trump Tower. But now he was apparently working directly for Trump himself, with an office, business cards, phone number and email address all provided by the Trump Organization. The cards identified him as a “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.”

Today, Trump claims to have trouble remembering Sater.

“Trump was asked about Sater in depositions related to other cases in 2011 and 2013. In the first, Trump acknowledged that he used to speak with Sater ‘for a period of time.’ Yet in the second, Trump said, ‘if he were sitting in a room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like,’” Mother Jones reported.

In early December 2015, Trump still seemed unclear when asked by an Associated Press reporter about Sater. “Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” he said. “I’m not that familiar with him.” Ivanka and Don Jr. also later said that they had no memory of being with him in Moscow.

FBI agent Leo Taddeo definitely did not “have to think about it.” Taddeo had worked in the Italian and Russian organized crimes sections of the New York FBI office and had directly witnessed the ramifications of the arrival of “Yaponchik” Ivankov in 1992 — and the influence of Mogilevich — in the Russian-speaking community, New York financial markets, and beyond. He rose to be the head of the Russian organized crime section — and was one of Sater’s FBI handlers. Taddeo testified on Sater’s behalf at his sentencing, praising his “extraordinary” cooperation and stressing how “capable,” “important,” and “effective” he was.

During the years when Trump and Bayrock pursued their joint projects, the Trump SoHo was planned, designed and funded, and ground was broken for it.

So Bayrock, of which Sater came to own a majority, and the Trump Organization, headed by the future president himself, did several high-profile deals together and had offices close by each other in Trump Tower, and yet the current president claims that he is “not that familiar with him.”

There are a number of possible reasons why Trump has had to tread lightly around the issue of Sater. Aside from what Trump might have known about Sater’s back-channel connections to the Russian government or organized crime, their joint projects also pose enormous financial risk to Trump.

If he or anyone around him — such as other Trump Organization executives, accountants and lawyers — had knowledge of Sater’s criminal past and yet entered into contracts with him and Bayrock, Trump and his company would then be liable for hundreds of millions of dollars — and possible jail time.


Because parties to bank loans and investment contracts must confirm that no owner or manager has been convicted of fraud, and if that confirmation is false, anyone who knew of the fraud is potentially liable. The same would be true even if someone learned about Sater’s criminal status after signing the contract but continued with it.

Thus, if Trump knew Sater was a convicted felon but did business with him anyway, he, the Trump Organization, and anyone within the company who knew of it could face substantial penalties or fines. This might especially be true for the Trump-Bayrock projects, as so many of them ended terribly, with multiple lawsuits across many states.

However, the information of Sater’s past financial criminality was officially hidden because his legal docket in the White Rock/State Street case was kept secret (owing to his continuing “cooperating witness” status). For this reason, even after performing due diligence, someone entering business agreements with Sater would find no evidence of his criminal past.

Ukraine: The Big Prize
The FBI’s failure to fully expose Trump’s Russian connection before the election seemingly emboldened the entire Trump team — from the president to his former campaign manager to his “bulldog” personal lawyer — along with Sater, to take actions that can be seen to have benefited Putin. Nowhere is this more true than with Ukraine.

This former Soviet republic is central to Putin’s dream of restoring Russia to its Cold War-era greatness and protecting its borders. Annexing Crimea from Ukraine was a huge victory for him. Holding on to that strategically important region and maintaining access to it by controlling eastern sections of Ukraine itself are vital to Putin’s ambitions.

Other crucial strategic issues concerning Ukraine include its desire to join NATO, seen by Russia as a huge threat. There is also the matter of a pipeline that brings natural gas from Russia through Ukraine into fuel-hungry Europe, importantly Germany. Mogilevich was later named as the secret majority owner of the Ukrainian stake in a mysterious intermediary company, half-owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom. (Mogilevich, as well as Sater’s father, who has been identified as part of the Mogilevich organization in a Supreme Court petition, both hail from Ukraine. Mogilevich’s lawyer denied that his client had any connection to the company.) While questions swirled about the deal, Sater, then serving as an FBI informant, traveled to Ukraine and Russia — ostensibly searching for properties to develop with the Trump Organization. (For a post-publication response from Felix Sater on these points, see Editor’s Note at bottom.)

For his part, candidate Trump didn’t even acknowledge that Russia had annexed Crimea or engaged its military in Eastern Ukraine, when the issue came up early in the presidential campaign.

“Just so you understand. [Putin] is not going to go into Ukraine, all right?” Trump said in an interview shortly after he was nominated — before being corrected on the facts.

Trump’s platform chairman J. D. Gordon reportedly had met with the Russian ambassador during the convention. In an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta, Gordon said he had advocated the softening of the GOP platform language on Ukraine — a softening that Trump himself had advocated earlier in the year at a meeting with Gordon. Gordon’s later comments seem to walk that assertion back, but the GOP platform was changed.
Paul Manafort
Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group / Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

At that time, Trump Tower resident Paul Manafort was still running the campaign — until he was forced out because of his ties to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and other powerful forces sympathetic to Russia. But Manafort’s connections to Russia ran even deeper than suspected back then.

On March 22, the Associated Press reported that Manafort had been paid the astonishing sum of more than $10 million a year in the 2000s by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally, to implement a plan that would “greatly benefit the Putin Government.”

Stranger still, just last month, Trump associates Sater and Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, lobbied then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn with a scheme to lift sanctions on Russia, imposed after it seized Crimea. They delivered a proposed “peace plan” for Ukraine that infuriated the country’s current prime minister. The proposal would have advanced the ambitions of a pro-Russian politician whose movement Manafort helped shape

It turns out that, like so many other figures in this story, Cohen has his own substantial Ukrainian ties. After graduating from what is considered by many to be a third-tier law school, Cohen became a personal injury lawyer. He married a woman whose parents are Ukrainian, and his brother, also a lawyer, married a woman whose father rose from humble Ukrainian roots to become a billionaire.

Much Less Than Six Degrees of Separation
While all this high-stakes maneuvering between the US and Russia over Ukraine was unfolding, the DOJ and FBI were hard at work to prevent the Sater-Trump story from becoming widely known.

WhoWhatWhy has learned that a number of key law-enforcement figures associated with Sater’s role as a government informant have continued protecting him — which has inevitably helped to keep under wraps the criminal goings-on in Trump Tower. One of these figures even went on to work for Trump.

FBI Special Agent Gary Uher not only investigated (alongside fellow Agent Leo Taddeo) the early “pump and dump” case that originally snared Sater, he also apparently served as one of Sater’s handlers. After Uher retired from the Bureau’s New York office in 2011, he went into the private security business with another former FBI agent, in a firm named XMark — which became one of a small army of private security firms that guarded Trump during the presidential campaign. (Neither Uher nor Taddeo responded to requests for comment.)

In fact, both XMark and Uher personally began receiving payments from the campaign as soon as Trump announced, in June 2015. Uher’s name surfaced in the press a handful of times, sometimes in allegations that he roughly handled protestors at Trump rallies. Yet until now, no one has pointed out that before he went to work for Trump, Uher ran Sater.

It is not clear how Trump and Uher would have even known each other were it not for the man both knew in common — the man Trump was consistently vague about during the campaign — Felix Sater.

As for Taddeo, in July 2016, as talk of possible efforts by the Kremlin to help Trump’s campaign continued to pick up steam, the Washington Post ran a story that downplayed the possibility and quoted the ex-agent, now in the private sector: “This is not Putin trying to help Trump,’’ he said. The article identified Taddeo as “a former FBI special agent in charge of cyber and special operations in New York”.; it did not tell readers he had been Sater’s former FBI handler when Sater worked with Trump.
Gary Uher, Donald Trump
Left to right: XMark partners Ed Deck and Gary Uher accompany Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump with his private security director, longtime Trump Organization employee Keith Schiller, after delivering an address in Birch Run, Michigan, August 11, 2015. Photo credit: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

The paths of other central characters in the case are also curious.

Two of Loretta Lynch’s colleagues at the Eastern District US Attorney’s office, Leslie Caldwell and Kelly Anne Moore, left government service to join the law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and both represented Sater at his 2009 sentencing hearing. Caldwell returned to government work in late 2013 when she was tapped to serve as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division — the number three position at the Justice Department.

Moore is still at Morgan Lewis. That firm was hired post-election by Trump to sort out ethical issues concerning possible conflicts of interest — which considering this history takes on a whole new meaning. (Neither Caldwell nor Moore responded to requests for comment.)

Trump’s announcement that he had retained Morgan Lewis as ethics counsel was clearly meant to blunt calls for disinvestment or use of a blind trust for the oversight of his businesses. Curiously, on the same day that Trump made the announcement, the Moscow office of Morgan Lewis was named “Russia Law Firm of the Year” for 2016 by an industry association.

By entrusting Morgan Lewis with addressing his conflicts — and presumably demanding confidentiality agreements in the process, as is his practice — was Trump insulating himself from the release of information that would reveal the true nature of his financial relationship with Sater, Bayrock, and others?

Such revelations — which could have exposed Sater’s criminal history, his interactions with Trump, the full scope of Bayrock’s financial arrangements with the Trump Organization, and perhaps the true source of Bayrock’s financing — all would be covered by attorney-client privilege.

With so many players and so many layers of involvement, getting to the bottom of Trump’s Russian connection is a Herculean task. And there is one further complication.
Leslie Caldwell
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, July 21, 2016. Photo credit: The Justice Department / YouTube

The Trump-Sater-Mogilevich-Putin saga, with its intertwining domestic and international threads, is almost certainly a battleground for powerful elements in the US intelligence complex. Even unravelling one thread — the FBI’s “running” of Felix Sater as an informant — is a challenge at every level. The FBI historically has been riven by internal battles over priorities and strategies — and the Bureau has waged fierce turf wars with other intelligence agencies, notably the CIA.

Why We Need an Independent Investigation
To sum up, WhoWhatWhy’s investigation suggests that the FBI, in using an informant with a strong connection to Trump and alleged ties to Russian mobsters — including one deemed a national security threat by the US — has seemingly tied its own hands in investigating the president.

This makes it difficult for the Bureau to pursue the president’s long-running proximity to mobsters, including gangsters from the former Soviet Union, and to those with close connections to the Russian president and oligarchic elite.

This in part could explain the FBI’s odd behavior and the confusing back and forth on what the government knows about Russia’s interventions in the 2016 election.

In this complex tale, it is sometimes hard to keep focused on the most important connections. The FBI used Sater in high-value projects; perhaps to help take down the Brainy Don Mogilevich, who takes us straight to Putin. That connection is so sensitive as to be deadly. Indeed after Ivankov, Mogilevich’s lieutenant and Trump Tower resident, publicly discussed Mogilevich’s close ties to Putin, he was gunned down by a sniper on a Moscow street.

At the end of 2015, the Justice Department’s criminal division, headed by Leslie Caldwell — the former Eastern District prosecutor and later Sater’s attorney — removed Mogilevich from the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list, an extremely rare occurrence. Suspects are usually removed from the list for only two reasons: arrest or death.
Semion Mogilevich, FBI, wanted poster
FBI wanted poster for Semion Mogilevich, 2009. Photo credit: FBI and Zscout370 / Wikimedia

Donald Trump has been a big Putin fan for years. This has been a subject of speculation and derision, but it has not gone further than that.

Given how close Trump was with Sater, and Sater with the FBI, and the fact that the FBI was working to thwart Mogilevich (who was close to Putin), the big question is this: Why is this president’s unusual enthusiasm for the Russian leader, and Russia in general, not already a formal topic of urgent inquiry?

Something doesn’t add up.

Whatever it is, we need to know. And, as this article demonstrates, the FBI, for a variety of reasons, is not likely to tell us the whole story.

And, it should be pointed out, what is vitally important to the public interest is not always what the Bureau considers a crime. That is why the role of independent investigators, including, notably, journalists, is so vital. Jack Blum, the former senior Senate investigator and leading expert on white-collar financial crime, stresses the gravity and urgency of the situation:

“However complicated an investigation might become, it goes to the heart of our democracy and it must go forward. This time, unlike other investigations, including the Kennedy assassination, CIA-Chile, and Iran-Contra, it has to go to the heart of the matter no matter how long it takes and no matter how shocking the conclusions.”
Donald Trump, Twitter, Hillary Clinton
Photo credit: Donald Trump / Twitter Tweet 1 and Tweet 2


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from FBI seal (Andy L / Flickr – CC BY 2.0), Vladimir Putin (President of Russia), Semion Mogilevich (Mark Nilstein / Getty Images), Felix Sater (591J / Wikimedia – CC BY-SA 4.0) and Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore / Flickr – CC BY-SA 2.0).

*Editor’s Note: Felix Sater responded to WhoWhatWhy following publication of this article. He said that his father was not Ukrainian and was born in Moscow. He also stated that his father had never worked with or met Semion Mogilevich. Sater said that he had never done any work with the FBI pertaining to Russian organized crime and that he had not even heard of Mogilevich, the organized crime boss. His work with the FBI, he said, was strictly related to terrorism. In the meantime, the Wall Street Journal reported April 20 that in a financial dispute, Sater refers to his own former business partner at Bayrock as a member of organized crime from the states of the former Soviet Union, predicting embarrassment if that man’s relationship with Trump were to emerge publicly, and anticipating a headline: “The Kazakh Gangster and President Trump.” ... lix-sater/

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:38 am
by seemslikeadream
Trump Pal Bought IAmAF**got.Com and VaginaBoy.Com, Then the Sites Attacked Their Mutual Enemy

Felix Sater didn’t just try to broker a relationship between the Kremlin and Trump Tower. He also owned an online archipelago that lashed out a man at who tried to take them on.

08.29.17 9:30 PM ET
Documents disclosed this week show just how far former Trump Organization adviser and convicted felon Felix Sater will go to help his one-time business associate President Donald Trump. In emails released by The New York Times on Monday, Sater bragged to the president’s lawyer in 2015 that, with Kremlin help, “our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.”
Now a dive into Sater’s history on the web and in courts suggests the lengths Sater is prepared to go to damage a common enemy of himself and Trump.
Sater used his email and office address to register websites including,, several variations of and,,,, and dozens of other crudely named domains.
While registered to Sater, some of those sites attacked Jody Kriss, Sater’s former business associate. The two used to work together at the Trump Tower-headquartered real-estate firm Bayrock, where Kriss served as CFO until he left the company and sued them for money laundering, according to Bloomberg. Donald Trump was initially targeted in court by Kriss, as well.
Sater’s email and office address were used to register more than a dozen domain names relating to Kriss. Those sites then attacked Kriss for his lawsuit against the Trump family, among others. That’s according to records The Daily Beast discovered using the domain analysis site DomainTools, which tracks changes in official domain registrar databases.
Despite this, Sater’s attorney, Robert Wolf, claimed in an email to The Daily Beast that “Mr. Sater neither owns nor is associated with these websites. Publishing anything to the contrary is defamatory and in reckless disregard for the truth.”
“Your information is completely false and inaccurate,” he added.

Wolf did not give any evidence to back up that assertion.
Many of Sater’s anti-Kriss sites have been pulled down, but the sites that remain, including, still direct to a screed slamming Kriss, who owns the real-estate firm East River Partners.
“Meet Jody Kriss, the man who, with his associate Michael Chudi Ejekam, sued PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP and his daughter Ivanka, along with half a dozen law firms, dozens of individuals and companies, such as CIM Group and iStar Financial, as well as a New York State Senator for $1 BILLION,” reads.
Archived versions of Sater’s other sites—including—show they once contained at least some of the same information.
Kriss filed a $1 billion New York state lawsuit another against Bayrock, Donald and Ivanka Trump, and many others in May 2013, over the alleged concealment of Sater’s 1998 racketeering conviction. The Trumps were dropped from the suit three weeks later.

Litigation between Kriss and Sater is ongoing, Bloomberg reported.
Donald Trump has long tried to distance himself publicly from Felix Sater, a convicted felon (he avoided jail time by helping the feds in their pursuit of various mafiosi) and childhood friend of longtime Trump Organization vice president Michael Cohen. (Cohen is now Trump’s personal attorney.)
On Monday morning, congressional investigators received emails from Cohen and Sater related to Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 elections. Excerpts from some of those emails quickly leaked to a number of media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg.
Those emails, which have not been released in full, indicate that Sater and his acquaintances worked much more closely with powerful Russian figures than previously known.
“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” Sater emailed Cohen in November 2015, according to The New York Times. Sater wrote, according to the Times, that he “will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected… I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.”
Months later, Cohen asked Vladimir Putin’s spokespeople to help expedite the development of Trump Tower Moscow, a project that never came to fruition.
“As this project is too important, I am hereby requesting your assistance. I respectfully request someone, preferably you, contact me so that I might discuss the specifics as well as arranging meetings with the appropriate individuals,” Cohen wrote to an email account for the Kremlin press office, obtained by The Washington Post. “I thank you in advance for your assistance and look forward to hearing from you soon.”
He sent that email in January 2016, when Trump was leading the rest of the Republican primary field by double digits.
According to Bloomberg, Cohen told Congress he discussed the possibility of Trump Tower Moscow with Trump himself during the campaign.
By this time, Sater was already at war with Kriss, his former associate at Bayrock.
Bayrock is a real-estate investment firm founded by Kazakh businessman Tevfik Arif. Among other deals, Bayrock was involved in a Florida Trump International Hotel and Tower development that never came to fruition.
It was hardly the pair’s only legal clash. Kriss sued the owners of various websites containing Kriss’ name, like, for including disparaging information about him and was able to get the sites delisted from Google, Bloomberg reported. Using a court order, Kriss said he tracked the registration of the sites back to Sater’s address in Sands Point, New York.
The domain names and email addresses were registered using the same address Sater used to register his personal website,, in 2013, according to ICANN records accessed through DomainTools. ICANN is the nonprofit responsible for allocating namespaces on the web, and domain record history can only be modified by registration companies themselves.
Sater admitted to owning several Kriss-linked domains—including and—in a separate lawsuit asking a court to find that he registered them “in good faith.”
In 2016, Kriss filed a complaint to have domains referencing his name or company transferred to his ownership. The complaint triggered a lawsuit against Kriss by the three parties who claimed to own the domains: Sater, a company owned by Konstantin Yudin, and Larissa Yudina, who Yudin says is his mother.
Yudin’s email address was sometimes listed as the technical contact in the domain registration data of some of the inflammatory websites.
"Each of the Disputed Domains was registered and is used solely for the noncommercial and fair use purpose of expressing First Amendment protected dissemination of factual information and expressions of opinion regarding [Kriss’s] activities,” Sater’s suit read.
Kriss’ lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Wolf, the attorney who denied Sater’s involvement with the websites, served as Sater, Yudin, and Yudina’s attorney in the lawsuit, according to public records.
When reached by phone, Yudin initially said his mother wasn’t home. He later said he had no comment on the domain names or his relationship with Sater.
When asked about some of the obscenity-laden domain names, Yudin again refused to comment.
“Well that’s a puzzle for you to wonder about,” he said in Russian.
Some of the websites registered to Sater were pretty puzzling, too. In one archived front page of, which was registered to Sater’s email address, a post titled “Jody Kriss: Lying to Improve His Reputation?" blares at the top. Underneath it, an attempt at a meme reads, “If I was a dog, I'd be a shit-sue because I'm a shit and I love to sue!—Jody Kriss,” over a photo of Kriss on a boat in Turkey.
On the top right corner, the page links to an English-language interview between two unidentified Russian men titled “Jody Kriss on Russian radio.”
“The story really did attract my attention for one thing: because of the ping-pong, if one may say so, of various lawsuits that swarm like flies around Jody Kriss,” said an unidentified man named Volodja, a common nickname for Vladimir in Russia. “Jody Kriss took to sue Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump as well as a dozen other people for $1 billion, no more, no less.”
The audio file was posted in August 2014, a year before Trump began running for president. It was posted on a Soundcloud account under the username JodyKriss, which has added no other files.

“Any of our listeners can just punch Jody Kriss’ name into search engines and see a huge number of links and stories of lawsuits and scandals. He’s suing everyone and everyone is suing him,” Volodja says. “It’s something unbelievable.” ... tual-enemy

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:04 am
by seemslikeadream
Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?

This mob-linked operator and ex-con could be the key to the Russiagate investigation.
By Bob Dreyfuss YESTERDAY 5:37 PM

Felix Sater speaks at the Chabad of Port Washington in 2014.

Every time someone asks Donald Trump if he knows Felix Sater, his Russian-born, Brooklyn-bred former business associate, Trump draws a blank. Despite the fact that Sater worked on and off for a decade with the Trump Organization, and despite his recent headline-making appearance as an exuberant negotiator on behalf of Trump’s hardnosed attorney, Michael Cohen, in seeking to build a “massive Trump Tower in Moscow” last year, Trump ducks.

“I mean, I’ve seen him a couple of times; I have met him,” Trump said, in a deposition in a court case involving Sater in 2013. And The New York Times reported him as saying, “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” As late as 2015, when asked about Sater, Trump hemmed and hawed. “Boy, I have to even think about it.”

It’s no wonder that Trump, especially now that he’s under investigation over his ties to Russia and its meddling in the 2016 election, would respond to questions about Sater by saying: Who’s he?

Sater has a decades-long record as a larger-than-life, outside-the-law, spy agency-linked wheeler-dealer from the pages of a John le Carré novel.
Of all the characters caught up in Russiagate, none come close to Sater for having a decades-long record as a larger-than-life, outside-the-law, spy agency-linked wheeler-dealer from the pages of a John le Carré novel. His past record includes a conviction for lacerating a man’s face with a broken margarita glass in a bar brawl and his involvement in a multimillion-dollar stock fraud and money-laundering scheme. Despite that record, which came before he worked with Trump, Sater spent nearly a decade working with the Trump Organization in search of deals in Russia and other former Soviet republics. But on August 28, Sater made the front pages of the Times and The Washington Post, thanks to leaked copies of e-mails that he sent in late 2015 and early 2016 to Cohen, concerning Sater’s efforts to work with a group of Russian investors to set up a flagship Trump property in the Russian capital.

In language that Cohen himself described to the Times as “colorful,” Sater seemed nearly beside himself as he reported on his work in Moscow on behalf of Trump:

“Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it,” wrote Sater. “I will get all of [Vladimir] Putins [sic] team to buy in on this, I will manage this process.… I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected.” Echoing a line that would later become Trump’s own description of why he and Putin might get along, Sater wrote that the Russian leader “only wants to deal with a pragmatic leader, and a successful business man is a good candidate for someone who knows how to deal.”

Sater claimed, “I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins [sic] private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.”
Sater couldn’t resist adding, “Michael I arranged for Ivanka to sit in Putins [sic] private chair at his desk and office in the Kremlin.” According to the Times, Sater was “eager to show video clips to his Russian contacts of instances of Mr. Trump speaking glowingly about Russia.” Which, of course, Trump has done repeatedly over the years. And, though Trump has denied that he has any business interests in Russia, even as he was gearing up for the Republican presidential primary race, Cohen and Sater were deep into previously undisclosed talks with Russian partners about constructing a Trump-branded hotel, according to The Washington Post. In a statement to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence last week, Cohen did admit writing to Dmitry Peskov in connection with Sater’s work. Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, confirmed the contact.

So who, exactly, is Felix Sater? Tim O’Brien, author of a biography of Trump, wrote about Sater in an article titled “Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine.” He was born in 1966 in the Soviet Union, and he and his family moved to Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, New York, when he was just 8. According to a recent Guardian profile, Sater’s relationship with Cohen—and to organized crime—goes way back:

Sater’s links to Trump’s circle can be traced back to not long after he came to the US as a child. His father, Mikhail Sheferovsky (who changed the family name after arriving in New York) became a local crime boss in Brighton Beach and Sater grew up on that side of Brooklyn, where he got to know another teenager in the neighbourhood, Michael Cohen, a Long Island boy who would go on to become Trump’s personal lawyer and vice-president of the Trump Organization.

Sorting out Sater’s checkered past leads into a convoluted labyrinth of crime, legal entanglements, shady deals, alleged ties to US and foreign intelligence agencies and, of course, intimate connections to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. The best comprehensive account of Sater’s long and complicated path was written by Andrew Rice and published in August in New York magazine under the headline “The Original Russia Connection.” Rice’s account, which includes parts of a lengthy interview with Sater, draws heavily on a 2007 breakthrough piece by Charles Bagli in The New York Times. Bagli was the first to uncover and report in depth on Sater’s criminal past. This past February the Times published a blockbuster story by Megan Twohey and Scott Shane recounting an effort by Sater, Cohen, Gen. Mike Flynn, and a Ukrainian politician to put forward a half-cocked Ukrainian “peace plan” and deliver it, freelance fashion, to the White House. In addition, various lawsuits, testimony, and depositions by the characters in Sater’s erratic orbit, including by Trump himself, provide valuable material in figuring out who Sater is and what role he plays in the Trump-Russia story. In this piece, I draw on all of these sources and more.

Sater’s first run-in with the law came in 1991, when he “grabbed a large margarita glass, smashed it on the bar and plunged the stem into the right side of [a rival] broker’s face.”
Sater’s first run-in with the law came in 1991—according to the indictment, as reported by Bagli in the Times—when Sater, then an upstart stockbroker in his mid-20s, “grabbed a large margarita glass, smashed it on the bar and plunged the stem into the right side of [a rival] broker’s face. The man suffered nerve damage and required 110 stitches to close the laceration on his face.”

Sater, who served time in prison for that assault, was barred from financial trading by the National Association of Securities Dealers. Yet in 1993, Sater and several partners took over a securities firm called White Rock Partners, later called State Street Capital Markets, which portrayed itself as a legitimate brokerage firm but, in fact, ran a criminal enterprise involving stock fraud, money laundering, and a so-called “pump and dump” scheme that involved conspiring to inflate the apparent value of near-worthless stocks, sell them off to unsuspecting investors, and cash in. In so doing, for protection Sater drew on the assistance of his father’s friends in the Genovese crime family. According to Rice’s New York piece, Sater “laundered fraud proceeds through a labyrinthine network of Caribbean shell companies, Israeli and Swiss bank accounts, and contacts in New York’s Diamond District.” In the mid-1990s, New York reports, Sater spent a great deal of time in Moscow, where, according to a friend and business partner, Sal Lauria—who later wrote a book about all of this—“We were dealing with ex-KGB generals and with the elite of Russian society.”

It all came crashing down in 1998, when New York City police uncovered a stash of guns and documents in a mini-storage locker in SoHo implicating Sater and his partners in the fraud and money-laundering schemes. According to the Times, citing other defendants in the case, Sater pled guilty to racketeering charges for bilking at least $40 million from his investors. Using Sater’s testimony, the feds eventually convicted 19 of Sater’s cronies, including half a dozen who had mob connections. Significantly, the prosecutor who oversaw Sater’s cooperation agreement in the 1998 indictment, now sealed, was Andrew Weissmann—who is currently one of 16 prosecutors and criminal justice officials on the staff of special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s leading the Russiagate inquiry.

Enter the spies. During his time in Moscow and traveling around eastern Europe, Sater began cultivating ties to arms dealers, officials in US law enforcement and national security agencies, and—according to his interview in New York—even meeting with the GRU, the Russian military intelligence agency. In order to get some bargaining power after he was indicted in 1998, according to Sater himself, he told the FBI that he had obtained valuable information about Osama bin Laden, a cache of Stinger missiles, and more. His information, it seems didn’t pan out—but after 9/11, Sater did cooperate in some fashion with the US government. Overseeing the Sater case back then was none other than Loretta Lynch, then US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn). In her confirmation hearing to serve as US Attorney General under President Obama, Lynch confirmed that Sater did in fact work with the FBI “and other agencies”—presumably the CIA—in “providing information crucial to national security.” Where and how Sater gathered the information that he provided, whether or not it involved contacts with the Russian FSB (the successor to the KGB) and GRU, and whether those agencies themselves established a covert connection with Sater is something that both Mueller and the US intelligence community ought to be looking at today, of course.

During his time in Moscow eastern Europe, Sater cultivated ties to arms dealers, officials in US law enforcement and national security agencies, and even meeting with the Russian military intelligence agency.
Sater’s connection with Trump starts in the mid-2000s, when Sater joined a real estate firm called the Bayrock Group, which had been founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan. Arif hired Sater in 2003, making him the firm’s chief operating officer. The firm later set up its headquarters on the 24th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, just below Trump’s own suite of offices. (Sater’s first office suite, with his criminal enterprise called State Street Capital, had its offices in a Trump-owned building, 40 Wall Street, in the mid-1990s.)

Over the next several years Arif and Sater, via Bayrock, started or collaborated with Trump on a series of hotel and resort projects in Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix, and elsewhere. Their most important collaboration was the development in 2005 of the Trump SoHo project, which, according to the Times’s 2007 exposé of Sater, was a “sleek, 46-story glass tower condominium hotel [then] under construction on a newly fashionable section of Spring Street.” New York magazine adds that, oddly enough, the Trump SoHo tower “happened to be directly across the street from the storage facility that had been Sater’s previous undoing.”

When told by the Times about Sater’s criminal past, Alex Sapir, president of the Sapir Organization, which was involved in the SoHo project, said, “This is all news to me.” At the time, though, Trump didn’t separate himself from Sater, mingling with him at the SoHo opening, hanging out in Colorado while working on another project, and—according to Sater, at least—regularly interacting.

“How did I get to Donald? I walked in his door and told him, ‘I’m gonna be the biggest developer in New York, and you want to be my partner.’”
“How did I get to Donald?” Sater asked New York magazine, with typical braggadocio. “I walked in his door and told him, ‘I’m gonna be the biggest developer in New York, and you want to be my partner.’” After that, Sater said, he’d frequently pop into Trump’s own office to talk about this or that deal. “Donald wanted me to bring deals to him,” Sater told New York. “Because he saw how many I put on the table at Bayrock.”

Sater and Bayrock sought to extend the Trump brand to Ukraine, Poland, and elsewhere—including Moscow. Around 2005, Sater identified a location for a Trump Tower in the Russian capital, and he says that he personally escorted Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump around Moscow back then—an assertion that neither of the Trumps have denied. Last January The New York Times reported, “During a trip in 2006, Mr. Sater and two of Mr. Trump’s children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, stayed at the historic Hotel National Moscow opposite the Kremlin, connecting with potential partners over the course of several days.”

After the financial crisis of 2008, Bayrock ran into difficulty, and Sater went out on his own. According to New York, following his separation from Bayrock he went to work for the Trump Organization, even carrying a business card listing his title as “Senior Advisor to Donald Trump.” Despite that, Trump denies ever employing Sater directly.

Sater’s links to Trump in recent years are obscure. According to recent reporting by the Times and the Post, however, as recently as 2015-16, Sater and Cohen, Trump’s lawyer and the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, were working together on a Trump Tower Moscow arrangement, though that too didn’t pan out.

But Sater and Cohen would cooperate on another venture. Following Trump’s election, the two men worked together to develop a curious peace plan for Ukraine. In it, Sater and Cohen worked with Andrii Artemenko, a Ukrainian opposition politician who himself had a questionable past, having spent time in prison in Ukraine for an embezzlement scheme, according to the New York Times story last February that first broke the news of his collaboration with Sater and Cohen (the charges against Artemenko were eventually dropped). According to the Times, Sater met Cohen and Artemenko at a New York hotel just two blocks from Cohen’s current residence in Trump Park Avenue. Cohen, who’s married to a Ukrainian woman, has business ties there himself, having once tried to get a Ukrainian ethanol business off the ground.

In 2014, a popular revolt toppled Ukraine’s pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was replaced by another oligarch, the pro-Western Petro Poroshenko. Paul Manafort, the GOP operative who would later sign on as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, was on Yanukovych’s payroll for years, and when Yanukovych fled Ukraine for Russia, Manafort contracted with opposition politicians in Kiev to help build an anti-Poroshenko bloc—and Artemenko joined in. (Manafort, of course, is under intense scrutiny in the Russiagate investigation from Mueller and two committees of Congress over his possible role as a go-between in collusion between Russia’s spy network and the Trump campaign. In July, Mueller ordered a pre-dawn raid at Manafort’s Virginia home seeking evidence in the case, amid speculation that Manafort might “flip” and turn against Trump.)

According to the Times, the Artemenko plan—delivered to Sater and Cohen, and then to Michael Flynn, the short-lived White House national security adviser who was forced to resign in February—involved using unflattering or compromising information (kompromat) to help oust Poroshenko and then winning the support of a new Ukrainian government for a 50- to 100-year lease of Crimea to Russia—which in 2014 occupied and annexed Crimea, which for many decades had been part of Ukraine. Because the vast majority of Ukrainian political forces would never agree to surrender their claim to Crimea, the plan was considered a hopeless nonstarter by most experts familiar with the Ukraine crisis. Yet the role of Sater and Cohen, both Trump associates, contributed to the growing belief in Washington that Trump, who has steadily refused to criticize Putin for his authoritarian excesses, extrajudicial killings, and suppression of free expression in Russia, has questionable ties to Russia.

The plan went nowhere, however. According to the Times, Sater gave Cohen the proposal in a sealed envelope, who reportedly said he left it in Flynn’s office. But in an interview with HuffPost, Cohen said he never delivered the envelope. But that doesn’t quite jibe with the Times’s original report, which noted that when Flynn resigned (because of his own still unexplained conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the transition), Cohen was still waiting for a response, “hoping a new national security adviser will take up their cause.” So far, as far as we know, current National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hasn’t responded to the idea, which is probably long dead.

Even allowing for Sater’s long-established record as a liar and self-promoter, there’s plenty here for Mueller and other investigators to dig into. And Sater, too, seems to believe that something big is coming. In his interview with New York magazine, he hinted ominously about the near future. “In about the next 30 to 35 days,” he told reporter Rice, “I will be the most colorful character you have ever talked about. Unfortunately, I can’t talk about it now, before it happens. And believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.” ... id-of-him/

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:51 pm
by stillrobertpaulsen
Gee...wonder who gave him the invite? :shrug:

Inside Donald Trump's Election Night War Room

By Ben Schreckinger
7 hours ago

Nobody saw it coming. Not the pundits or the pollsters, not even the Donald himself. From the backrooms of Trump Tower to the studios at Fox News to the VIP lounges of his victory bash, this is the story of Donald Trump's Election Day—perhaps the wildest, weirdest 24 hours in American politics—as told by dozens of the people who found themselves at the center of it.


11:55 P.M.—Among the well-wishers and Trump associates eager to join in the celebration is Felix Sater, a Russian-born entrepreneur and sometime business partner of Trump's, who's helped locate potential real estate deals in the former Soviet Union. (Since the election, Sater's links to Russia have come under scrutiny as it's been revealed that he offered, in 2015, to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin—one that he said could win Trump the White House. "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected," Mr. Sater wrote to Trump's lawyer.)

Publicly, Trump has long sought to distance himself from Sater—even testifying in a 2013 deposition that he wouldn't recognize Sater if the two men were in the same room together. On election night, they would have a chance to test that proposition.

From his home on Long Island, Sater orders a late-night ride from a car service. His destination: the invite-only victory party at the Midtown Hilton.

Driver (name withheld): I picked him up from his house on Long Island. And then, you know, I said, "Hi, how are you? And he said, "Do you know who I am?" And I said, "No, I don't really know you." He showed me his business card. I think, to show me that he's VIP, an important person, and second, to tell me that he was happy that he won the election, because it's unexpected.

So we talked about the election night. After that he just picked up his phone, and he talked all the way from Long Island to New York. He was talking to somebody in the Russian language.


Driver: I dropped [Sater] off at the Hilton hotel on Sixth Avenue and 54th Street. He called the hotel, and he made a room reservation so he can stay over that night. *

A person familiar with Sater's movements that night confirms that he attends the party—and that once inside the ballroom, he even gives an interview to one of the many television news crews roaming the event. It's not clear if that footage ever airs. (Sater declined to comment for this story, citing the advice of counsel. The White House did not answer e-mailed questions about the status of Trump's relationship with Sater at the time of the election.)

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:58 pm
by seemslikeadream
thanks for that...and it surely was Felix's childhood good friend Michael know THAT Michael Cohen..who's father was Joseph McCarthy henchman Roy Cohn :P

stillrobertpaulsen » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:51 pm wrote:Gee...wonder who gave him the invite? :shrug:

Inside Donald Trump's Election Night War Room

By Ben Schreckinger
7 hours ago

Nobody saw it coming. Not the pundits or the pollsters, not even the Donald himself. From the backrooms of Trump Tower to the studios at Fox News to the VIP lounges of his victory bash, this is the story of Donald Trump's Election Day—perhaps the wildest, weirdest 24 hours in American politics—as told by dozens of the people who found themselves at the center of it.


11:55 P.M.—Among the well-wishers and Trump associates eager to join in the celebration is Felix Sater, a Russian-born entrepreneur and sometime business partner of Trump's, who's helped locate potential real estate deals in the former Soviet Union. (Since the election, Sater's links to Russia have come under scrutiny as it's been revealed that he offered, in 2015, to broker a relationship between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin—one that he said could win Trump the White House. "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected," Mr. Sater wrote to Trump's lawyer.)

Publicly, Trump has long sought to distance himself from Sater—even testifying in a 2013 deposition that he wouldn't recognize Sater if the two men were in the same room together. On election night, they would have a chance to test that proposition.

From his home on Long Island, Sater orders a late-night ride from a car service. His destination: the invite-only victory party at the Midtown Hilton.

Driver (name withheld): I picked him up from his house on Long Island. And then, you know, I said, "Hi, how are you? And he said, "Do you know who I am?" And I said, "No, I don't really know you." He showed me his business card. I think, to show me that he's VIP, an important person, and second, to tell me that he was happy that he won the election, because it's unexpected.

So we talked about the election night. After that he just picked up his phone, and he talked all the way from Long Island to New York. He was talking to somebody in the Russian language.


Driver: I dropped [Sater] off at the Hilton hotel on Sixth Avenue and 54th Street. He called the hotel, and he made a room reservation so he can stay over that night. *

A person familiar with Sater's movements that night confirms that he attends the party—and that once inside the ballroom, he even gives an interview to one of the many television news crews roaming the event. It's not clear if that footage ever airs. (Sater declined to comment for this story, citing the advice of counsel. The White House did not answer e-mailed questions about the status of Trump's relationship with Sater at the time of the election.)

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:56 pm
by stillrobertpaulsen
Wait...I thought Roy Cohn was gay? Are you sure he was Michael's father, or maybe they're related some other way?

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:12 pm
by seemslikeadream
stillrobertpaulsen » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:56 pm wrote:Wait...I thought Roy Cohn was gay? Are you sure he was Michael's father, or maybe they're related some other way?

oh you're right but Roy was trump's lawyer.....but guess who introduced Carter Page to Cory Lewandowski......Richard Nixon's son in law Cox :)

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 5:23 pm
by stillrobertpaulsen
seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 07, 2017 4:12 pm wrote:
stillrobertpaulsen » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:56 pm wrote:Wait...I thought Roy Cohn was gay? Are you sure he was Michael's father, or maybe they're related some other way?

oh you're right but Roy was trump's lawyer.....but guess who introduced Carter Page to Cory Lewandowski......Richard Nixon's son in law Cox :)

:rofl2 How appropriate!


Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:27 pm
by seemslikeadream
smells like a Hollywood depiction of Russiagate is in the works

Donald Trump’s Russian ‘Connection’ Infiltrates Hollywood Before He Meets with House Intelligence Committee
Published December 9, 2017 at 7:49 am PST
Mike Walters

Donald Trump has been downplaying his association with one key figure in the Russiagate investigation, but now that man is stepping out in Hollywood taking high-powered meetings days before he’s due to testify on his involvement with the campaign.

Felix Sater dined Friday night with Mariah Carey‘s former manager Stella Bulochnikov, who also hails from Mother Russia. The two went to Craig’s.

Sater is known for partnering with Trump on many real estate deals, namely the Trump Soho in Manhattan. He also has ties to organized crime and Vladamir Putin.

Sater’s affiliation with Trump and his campaign have been under scrutiny as Robert Mueller continues his investigation, and it was recently revealed that during the presidential campaign Sater emailed Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and told him, “Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it.”

He’s due to testify this coming Thursday in a private session with the House Intelligence Committee.

We’re told Sater is in town to meet with “high-powered executives” in the entertainment world … smells like a Hollywood depiction of Russiagate is in the works.

Dolph Lundgren better be attached. ... ussiagate/

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Fri Dec 15, 2017 12:24 am
by seemslikeadream
House intel heading to NY for two key interviews, prompting grumbling from Democrats

Putin praises Trump, slams Russia probe

(CNN)The House Intelligence Committee plans to hold two off-site interviews next week with high-profile witnesses who have ties to President Donald Trump, prompting grumbling among Democrats who contend that the GOP is rushing to wrap up the Russia probe, with more left to investigate.

The witnesses -- one is a Russian-American businessman, Felix Sater, and the other Trump's longtime personal assistant, Rhona Graff -- will be interviewed by Republican and Democratic staff next week in New York, two sources said. That could prevent lawmakers from interviewing the witnesses if they have to stay in town to vote on Capitol Hill, leaving the matter to committee staff.

The New York interviews were first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which cited a Republican source who said the decision to conduct the interview in New York was to accommodate one of the witnesses' lawyers, who was injured.
It comes as a third witness, Alexander Nix of the data firm Cambridge Analytica, testified via videoconference before the House panel on Thursday, according to two sources familiar with the matter. Nix told the House panel that he did not discuss Russia with the Trump campaign, one of the sources said.

Democrats complain that the panel is moving at a pace that has prevented them from fully vetting the witnesses, chasing new leads or receiving documents far enough in advance to prepare adequately to question the witnesses.

"They're just trying to wrap this up by checking the box," one of the Democratic sources said.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Republicans view "shutting us down as a prerequisite to shutting (special counsel Robert) Mueller down."

"And we see some very disturbing signs that that's what they intend to do," Schiff told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. "We are scheduled to have witness interviews out of state at a time next week when we'll be voting to keep the government running, when we'll be voting ... potentially, on this tax bill for the wealthy, so we can't leave to do these interviews, and nonetheless even though these witnesses are very important and have been on our witness list for months and months and they haven't been willing to bring them in until now, they're pulling these kind of tactics, which say to me they're trying to bring this to an end."

But Republicans argue that the investigation, which has taken much of the year, has been thorough, and that Democrats are simply on a fishing expedition to tie the Trump campaign to Russia.

In addition to Sater and Graff, the panel plans to interview two of its colleagues next week -- GOP Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who has friendly ties with Russia, and Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the former head of the Democratic National Committee, which last year paid a law firm that retained Fusion GPS, the firm behind the Trump-Russia dossier.

Sater, a Russian-born former Trump business associate, has attracted the interest of congressional investigators for his role in pursuing a Trump Tower in Moscow in late 2015.
Sater served as an intermediary for the project between Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen and a Russian development firm. He wrote in an email to Cohen that the Trump Tower project could "possibly fix relations between the countries."

Graff was Trump's longtime gatekeeper as his assistant at the Trump Organization for more than two decades. She did not come with him to Washington when he was elected President, however.
CNN's Sophie Tatum contributed to this report. ... index.html

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Wed Jan 24, 2018 1:09 am
by seemslikeadream

Jan 23

Felix Sater subpoenaed; Newly cooperative in New York money laundering case against Trump’s Kazakh business associates
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s FBME Bank records request is likely tied to Sater’s involvement in wire transfers from the Cyprus-based bank to the U.S. Previous to January 12th, Sater had refused to comply with the subpoenas.

By Erin Lankau and Scott Stedman

Former Trump adviser and business partner Felix Sater has been served with subpoenas in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) relating to a high-profile money laundering case. The two subpoenas were issued on October 27, 2017, and required Sater to produce documents and sit for a deposition.
The two plaintiffs in the Manhattan case are Kazakh government entities — BTA Bank and the city of Almaty, Kazakhstan. The defendants include three fugitive Kazakh officials who allegedly laundered hundreds of millions stolen from BTA through U.S. real estate deals. One of those deals included the 2013 purchase of three condos in the Trump Soho Hotel.

Two subpoenas issued to Felix Sater from SDNY on October 27, 2017.
According to court filings, Sater had been refusing to comply with the subpoenas and a motion to compel him was entered into the court record on January 8th. The subpoenas were issued by a lawyer representing Nicolas Bourg, a Brussels-based real estate investor who is both a co-defendant and cross-defendant in the case. As of January 12th, Bourg’s lawyer had issued a motion to stay, indicating Sater is now willing to cooperate with the discovery and deposition requests.
The SDNY case was filed in 2015 and names former BTA Bank Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov, former Mayor of Almaty Viktor Khrapunov, and his son-in-law Ilyas Khrapunov among the defendants. The City of Almaty and current BTA representatives claim that Ablyazov used his position at the bank to issue loans to dozens of his own shell companies. The Khrapunovs purportedly conspired on the scheme and helped funnel some of the stolen money out of the country to enrich themselves.
In total, Ablyazov is alleged to have stolen $4 billion from BTA Bank before fleeing to the UK in 2009 and then to France in 2012. The Khrapunovs also fled Kazakhstan, and have been living in Switzerland. The trio continued their money laundering activities while fugitives in Europe. They created Swiss and Luxembourg-based investment companies that used European banks, including Deutsche bank, to continue moving assets around the globe.
The Kazakh entities allege in their New York court filings that Ablyazov and The Khrapunovs laundered some of these ill-gotten gains into various developments in the United States. Sater’s established role as their primary U.S. intermediary for these transactions is the basis for the subpoena requests. Although he is not named as a co-defendant, Sater is alleged to have worked with the Khrapunovs on more than $40 million in real estate and investment deals, including $3.1 million that was used to purchase three condos in Trump Soho Hotel.
The BTA Bank— FBME Bank Connection
Part of the evidence entered into the official court record are emails showing wire transfers from FBME bank, a Cyprus-based bank that was banned by the Treasury Department in 2014 for money laundering and terrorist financing. The defendants used a UAE shell company they owned, Telford International Limited, which had bank accounts with the now defunct FBME. One email submitted into evidence between Sater and Bourg showed the Trump adviser receiving SWIFT bank wire codes needed for transferring money from FBME to people and companies in the U.S.

There is also evidence that may tie FBME wire transfers directly to the purchase of Trump real estate.

Screenshot of FBME Wire Transfer to Elvira Kudryashova— Zembla Documentary “The dubious friends of Donald Trump part 3: The billion dollar fraud”.
Investigative reporting from McClatchy and its partners — Dutch broadcaster Zembla and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project — found that $5 million was transferred from a Cyprus-based LLC to Khrapunovs’s California-based daughter Elvira Kudryashova. The Cyprus LLC used FBME to transfer the funds to her Wells Fargo bank account. A Zembla documentary traces this deposit from Wells Fargo to New York LLCs created to purchase three condos in Trump Soho Hotel. The condos were re-sold shortly thereafter.
In September 2016, BTA Bank and the City of Alamy filed a motion to join FBME Bank in the lawsuit alongside the defendants. The motion was denied in September 2017, with the judge ruling that since the plaintiffs knew about the FBME transfers at the time they filed their lawsuit, too much time had passed for them to be now included.
The ruling on FBME effectively eliminated the possibility of obtaining discovery from the bank. A month later in October 2017, Bourg moved to subpoena Sater to fulfill discovery and deposition requests that had been made in 2016. Sometime the following month, Mueller is reported to have requested and obtained the Cyprus bank records from FBME.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Special Counsel’s office, declined to comment on their ongoing investigation.
The SDNY lawsuit against the Kazakh officials came up in the testimony of Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS. Simpson said of the pending lawsuit: “It’s been well established in various courts that the (Kazakh) government’s allegations are basically true….Felix Sater had some connections with these people, and it’s been more recently in the media that he’s helping the government of Kazakhstan to recover this money.”
Simpson may have been referring to reporting last summer from The Financial Times, which revealed “Mr. Sater has now agreed to co-operate with an international investigation into the alleged money-laundering network (including) working with a team of lawyers and private investigators.” Based on the January court filings claiming Sater’s non-compliance with subpoenas, it appears there may be more to the story.
According to The Guardian reporting last month, a source familiar with the investigation indicated the FBME records request was related to Paul Manafort. Shortly after this report, FBME issued a statement denying Manafort was a client. The actions of the Special Counsel now appear to be more likely related to the lawsuit against Trump’s Kazakh business associates.

There is also an additional financial connection between Donald Trump and the Kazakh officials. The New Yorker reported that in March 2012, a month after Ablyazov fled from the U.K. to avoid a 22-month prison sentence, Trump traveled to Georgia to announce a licensing deal for a development in the Black Sea town of Batumi. The Silk Road Group, a Kazakh real estate developer financed by BTA, paid Trump $1 million dollars to attend a press tour promoting the partnership. The project stalled soon thereafter, and Trump officially terminated the deal shortly before taking office.
Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow has indicated on several occasions that President Trump considers investigation into his business dealings by the Special Counsel a “red line.” In the New Yorker piece, Sekulow is quoted as saying “the Georgia real-estate deal is something we would consider out of scope…Georgia is not Russia.” ... 65281454fc

This is an extremely complex and hard-to-understand case. I'm going to break it down to manageable pieces of information in the following thread.

The city of Almaty, Kazakhstan and BTA bank are suing former BTA Bank Chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov, former Mayor of Almaty Viktor Khrapunov, and his son-in-law Ilyas Khrapunov. They allege that Ablyazov and the Khrapunov's laundered $4 billion.

The City of Almaty and current BTA representatives claim that Ablyazov used his position at the bank to issue loans to dozens of his own shell companies. The Khrapunov purportedly helped Ablyazov and also funnel some of the stolen money out of the country to enrich themselves.

Where does Sater come into play? He was one of their primary U.S. intermediaries for these transactions. A 2013 email to Sater has the details for bank wire transaction worth $2.4M. Me and @Erinlank got our hands on the email.

The two Sater subpoenas were issued on October 27, 2017, and required him to produce documents and sit for a deposition. According to court filings, Sater had been refusing to comply with the subpoenas and a motion to compel him was entered into the court record on January 8th.

As of January 12th, court documents indicate that Sater is now cooperating with the discovery and deposition requests. He will produce documents to the judge.

Sater is alleged to have worked with the Khrapunovs on more than $40 million in real estate and investment deals, including $3.1 million that was used to purchase 3 condos in Trump Soho Hotel.

In November, 2017, Mueller is reported to have requested the Cyprus bank records from FBME. Nobody knew why he requested these records. We believe it is tied to Sater. The money wire he received went from FBME Bank --> Deutsche ---> Citibank.

One month after Ablyazov fled from the UK to avoid a 22-month prison sentence, Trump traveled to Georgia to announce a licensing deal for a development in the town of Batumi. The Kazakh real estate firm financed by BTA and the developer of the project, paid Trump $1 million.

So there are two potential flows of illicit money into Trump's hands. The Trump SoHo apartments purchased by the Khrapunovs and the $1 million paid to Trump for the Georgia hotel deal.

There are a lot of names to keep track of, so I will boil it down: Felix Sater has been subpoenaed and is now cooperating against Kazakhstan officials that may have directed illicit money into Trump's properties.

There are more details that @Erinlank and I have not yet reported, but plan to do so in the not-too-distant future. For now, make sure you follow Erin. Retweet this tweet to make sure people follow her. ... 9988594688

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 7:22 pm
by seemslikeadream
Now that the federal court agreed to unseal the records, the public is set to know a whole lot more about Felix Sater’s grand scheme to unite the Russian and Italian mafias under one criminal enterprise operating out of the penthouse of the Trump Office building at 40 Wall Street.

Here is the court order unsealing Felix Sater’s criminal court dockets:

A federal court just unsealed Trump’s 20-year-old dirty secrets

A federal appeals court just issued a ruling (embedded below) that will unseal records dating back 20-years about Donald Trump’s former senior advisor and original Russian connection, the mobster Felix Sater. Forbes Media LLC and reporter Richard Behar filed the successful request to reveal Felix Sater’s criminal past.

Sater’s company, Bayrock, developed the Trump SoHo Hotel-Condominium in lower Manhattan and a tower in Fort Lauderdale, which both spawned fraud lawsuits, one of which went all the way to the Supreme Court to partially unseal his criminal past and mafia ties.

Now, the 2nd Circuit Federal Court of Appeals has issued a ruling to publicly reveal the court dockets, briefings and records related to Sater’s 1998 conviction for running a massive pump-and-dump penny stock scam. The three-judge panel opined:

The special master shall, in close consultation with the Office of the Clerk of Court, oversee the unsealing all the documents on the dockets of the two above-captioned appeals forwhich the Report recommends unsealing.

The 21 documents on those dockets which the Reportrecommends be unsealed subject to redaction shall be redacted in the manner set forth in the Report and the Addenda.

Notably, in addition to unsealing Sater’s criminal history, the court’s order will release a brief in the case written by Trump biographer and Pulitzer-winning journalist David Cay Johnson. The court ruled:

In addition, in accordance with the special master’s recommendation, Intervenors’ motionto unseal all the motion papers filed by Intervenors in the course of this unsealing action, as well as the amicus brief filed in the course of this unsealing action by amici et al., is GRANTED. It is hereby ORDERED that all the motion papers filed by Intervenors in the instant unsealing action, as well the amicus brief filed in the instant unsealing action by amici, et al., shall themselves be UNSEALED

Donald Trump promoted the Trump SoHo project on his former reality TV show, NBC’s The Apprentice, and reaped a substantial cash reward for slapping his name on the building and management fees, even though the entire project flopped and resulted in a foreclosure. But the Trump Organization continued to manage it and earn $3 million annually for keeping its flagging brand on the front door until bought out late last year.

The Trump family hid a dark secret through the financing, construction and attempts to sell the Trump SoHo; Sater’s past as a felon should’ve disqualified him from borrowing $350 million or owning the company that did.

Instead, the Trump family, which leaked emails show knew about Sater’s felonious past, kept it all quiet in the wake of the New York Times revealing the conviction, and even as the project solicited new financing.

Ivanka and Eric Trump were close to being criminally charged for their roles in Trump SoHo until family fixer attorney Marc Kasowitz intervened, and was later discovered to have given a substantial political donation to the Manhattan D.A. Cyrus Vance.

A racketeering and fraud lawsuit against Sater and Bayrock is still in the discovery phase in federal court, after he lost a motion to dismiss the case at the end of December 2016. Bayrock whistleblower Jody Kriss is one of the plaintiffs and told all about Trump’s dirty deal to Bloomberg.

Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, reports emerged of Sater working to be a secret back-channel diplomat for the Administration — hand carrying a Ukraine “peace plan” aimed at dropping sanctions to the White House — along with Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Evidence emerged last year that Felix Sater had advised the Trump Campaign, and late last year, the New York Times obtained an email from Sater, telling Cohen that he could get all of Putin’s team behind the Trump Campaign which “will get Donald Trump elected.”

Special Counsel Mueller is even investigating Donald Trump and Felix Sater’s Trump SoHo project as part of his probe of Russian election interference.

Now that the federal court agreed to unseal the records, the public is set to know a whole lot more about Felix Sater’s grand scheme to unite the Russian and Italian mafias under one criminal enterprise operating out of the penthouse of the Trump Office building at 40 Wall Street.

Here is the court order unsealing Felix Sater’s criminal court dockets: ... y-secrets/

And here's the motion to intervene pdf for unsealing Felix Sater docs (has lots of fascinating Sater info inside) ... ervene.pdf

And Salvatore Lauria, Sater's partner was granted Feb 17 petition Delavegalaw are you familiar with what this means

Lauria was a long-term partner of Felix Sater before & during Bayrock, but almost no news on him in recent years until Feb petition

Sater "cooperated" on Al Qaeda, Russian organized crime and La Costa Nostra. How is he still walking around? You would think they would be unhappy about that.

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:24 am
by seemslikeadream
BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH FELIX .....time in the racketeering money laundering barrel is coming for you and your good buddy trump!

Trump-Linked Real Estate Firm Settles Suit by Ex-Employee
By Chris Dolmetsch and David Voreacos
February 22, 2018, 10:05 AM CST Updated on February 22, 2018, 12:27 PM CST
Kriss resolves racketeering case against Bayrock, Felix Sater
Lawsuit claimed Bayrock hid Sater’s racketeering conviction

Trump SoHo hotel condominium Photographer: Drew Angerer/Getty Images North America
A real estate development firm linked to President Donald Trump reached an agreement to resolve a racketeering lawsuit filed by a former executive who claimed the company defrauded him of money he was owed and concealed the criminal history of one of its principals.

The Bayrock Group, the developer of the Trump Soho building in Manhattan, agreed in principle to settle a lawsuit filed in 2010 by former finance director Jody Kriss, according to a filing Thursday in federal court in New York. Kriss said in his original lawsuit and in interviews that he left the firm after becoming convinced that it was laundering money. He also accused the company of skimming cash, dodging taxes and cheating him out of millions of dollars.

But Kriss later discarded some of those claims in amending his lawsuit, and the judge dismissed other allegations. The judge allowed the case to proceed under racketeering laws.

Kriss negotiated for months to settle his case against Bayrock and two of its principals, Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater. Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed in court filings.

An attorney for Kriss declined to comment. Attorneys for Sater and Bayrock didn’t immediately comment.

Bayrock had contested Kriss’s claims and described him as a disgruntled employee. Sater denied allegations that Bayrock failed to tell Kriss about Sater’s 1998 racketeering conviction and about several million dollars in payments that were designed to avoid tax liability.

Bayrock worked with Trump and his two eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, on a series of real-estate deals between 2002 and about 2011, the most prominent being the troubled Trump Soho hotel and condominium. In his lawsuit, Kriss also claimed that Arif and Sater defrauded the Trump Organization by not telling it about Sater’s racketeering conviction and the payments to Sater.

The case is Jody Kriss v Bayrock Group LLC, 10-cv-03959, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.) ... -executive

oh and Sater's BFF


Trump’s Longtime Lawyer, Michael Cohen, Knows Way Too Much. So Why is He Still in Exile?

He’s the president’s ‘Ray Donovan.’ But he never had a home at the White House. Now, he’s plotting his next act.

02.25.18 8:48 PM ET
Before his remarks at a $35,000-per-plate fundraiser last June in Miami, Florida, President Donald Trump took the podium to acknowledge his biggest boosters in the crowd. Eventually, he got to Michael Cohen, the longtime private employee of the Trump Organization who is currently serving as “personal attorney” to the president. Trump praised Cohen’s lawyering, his loyalty, and his love for appearing on television.

“I haven’t seen Michael in a month,” he added, wistfully. “It’s good to see you, Michael. I miss you, man.”

The feeling was mutual.

Cohen, 51, isn’t just an employee of Donald Trump, he’s a disciple. He dresses in the same slightly too large suits and wide-knot silk ties. He talks in short punchy bursts and refers to his enemies as “haters” and “idiots.” Even their sleep schedules are the same. (“Well, I don’t sleep,” Cohen told The Daily Beast.) And when Cohen says he’d “take a bullet,” for Trump, one gets the impression he’s serious.

For over a decade, Cohen was Trump’s right-hand man and the two rarely spent much time away from their offices on the 26th floor of Trump Tower.

But the presidency has changed things, creating a rare and growing distance between these kindred spirits. Cohen told a Vanity Fair reporter in August that it had been weeks since he had even spoken with the president, the first lady, or “the kids,” as he calls Trump’s adult children, Ivanka, Don Jr., and Eric. He also said that his lawyer suggested the separation continue until Cohen complied with an invitation for any information and testimony he might provide to congressional investigators looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Describing it as “difficult,” and “disappointing,” Cohen explained that his forced exile was for the greater good of shielding the Trump family from any headaches that may arise from his meetings with investigators. But they have still come.

“Cohen explained that his forced exile was for the greater good of shielding the Trump family from any headaches that may arise from his meetings with investigators. But they have still come.”

After Cohen released his planned remarks to that same Vanity Fair reporter, the Senate committee accused him of violating a gag agreement and canceled his appearance. The questioning was rescheduled to consecutive-day appearances before both the Senate and House intelligence committees at the end of October. Cohen complied, but he described the marathon grilling as “abusive.”

“There’s no reason that you keep somebody for 14 hours. I mean, it’s a really long long time,” Cohen told The Daily Beast of the closed-door session, which reportedly focused heavily on emails concerning an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to open a Trump Tower in Moscow. “You know, to be sitting there and being asked the same question, to be asked ‘Have you ever seen this document?’ ‘No, well are you included?’ Yeah, along with 800 other people on a Cc. Do you have any idea how many emails I get a day?”

It’s unclear if Cohen has been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links with the Trump campaign. He’s reportedly been under scrutiny in the FBI’s probe of alleged Russian election-meddling. Of interest to investigators are Cohen’s personal and business connections in Ukraine; emails and meetings between Cohen and Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman and convicted criminal who has bragged about his ties to Vladimir Putin; an email Cohen sent to Putin’s spokesman seeking support for a Moscow project; and a report that Cohen hand-delivered a sealed “peace plan” for Russia and Ukraine that included lifting Russian sanctions to then-national security adviser Michael Flynn. Initially, Cohen seemed to confirm the peace plan report, but later denied delivering any documents. He has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

It’s his unshakable devotion coupled with this tendency to be creative with his construction of the truth that has some Trump insiders concerned about the prospect of Cohen potentially being ensnared in Mueller’s investigation, which has already lead to the indictments of four former Trump associates, and one lawyer who lied about his communications with a former campaign official.

“I’m just worried for Michael, worried for what [Mueller’s senior financial prosecutor] Andrew Weissmann might find when he calls him in,” said Sam Nunberg, an early political aide to Trump who still supports the president despite being fired by him in 2014 and again in 2015. “He can find anything that was illegal and prosecute you.”

Nunberg stressed that he had no reason to believe Cohen had done—or would do—anything illegal, but said, “I’m worried that they are going to target Michael as a way to take down Trump.”

If Mueller’s team wants to know what was happening inside Trump Tower or Donald Trump’s mind in the run-up to the election—and they clearly do—talking to Michael Cohen would be smart. Few other people outside of Trump’s own family, after all, have spent as much time with the president.

Cohen grew up on Long Island, worked as a personal injury lawyer, then spent the ’90s buying up taxi medallions in New York City and Chicago and hustling side projects like a Miami gambling boat and several family-run Ukrainian ethanol businesses. By the aughts, Cohen and his extended family were investing in real estate—specifically in Trump properties.

“Michael Cohen has a great insight into the real-estate market,” Trump told the New York Post in 2007 of Cohen’s appetite for his apartments. “He has invested in my buildings because he likes to make money – and he does.”

Three months after Trump’s comments, Cohen was brought on as both “special counsel” and executive vice president for the Trump Organization and given an office a few doors down from the boss’. As EVP, Cohen “oversaw business dealings globally,” as he explained in a recently shopped book proposal obtained by The Daily Beast last month. His special counsel role was less defined. “I basically handled, shall we say, ‘issues.’ In other words, I was the family fix-it guy,” Cohen wrote.

By 2011, Cohen was playing an instrumental role in building the framework for Trump’s forthcoming political career. He had enlisted the help of a few other rich men and launched, a website that urged “the many frustrated Americans sick and tired of hearing the same old mundane political campaign promises,” to “convince Donald Trump to run for President in 2012.”

Trump did not run that year. But the site, along numerous television appearances cheerleading for Trump and a flight to Iowa on Trump’s private jet to to meet with state officials, caught the attention of the Federal Election Commission. The FEC launched an investigation into a complaint that Cohen had violated campaign finance laws but ultimately sided in Cohen’s favor (PDF).

After years of teasing presidential runs, Trump officially announced his candidacy in the summer of 2015. Cohen soon appeared on television and in print, promoting and defending his boss. But just what his role entailed has never been clear.

“I used to call him the Ray Donovan of the office,” said Nunberg, referring to the Showtime drama about a “fixer” who uses threats to rid rich and famous clients of their problems.

“We never knew specifically what he did, but we knew he took care of the garbage,” he added. “He’s also, and I mean this as a compliment, he’s a crazy man.”

“I used to call him the Ray Donovan of the office. We never knew specifically what he did, but we knew he took care of the garbage... He’s also, and I mean this as a compliment, he’s a crazy man.”
— Sam Nunberg on Michael Cohen
Cohen refused to elaborate on the specifics of his role, citing “attorney client privilege” in a text. But he seems to relish his reputation as Trump’s personal pit bull. “It means that if somebody does something Mr. Trump doesn’t like, I do everything in my power to resolve it to Mr. Trump’s benefit,” Cohen famously told an ABC News reporter in 2011. “If you do something wrong, I’m going to come at you, grab you by the neck and I’m not going to let you go until I’m finished.”

Reporters, lawyers, and regular folks who dared to challenge Trump’s carefully crafted image as the consummate businessman would often find themselves locked in Cohen’s proverbial jaws. Cohen once bragged of “destroying” the life of Sheena Monnin, a beauty queen who in 2012 questioned the legitimacy of Trump’s Miss USA pageant. Monnin’s father, who said he spoke to Cohen twice, described Cohen “throwing a fit,” on the phone. “I’m sure if you check other people who have had to deal with him, you’d hear the same. Just bullying tactics and intimidation.”

And, indeed, that’s precisely what others who have dealt with Cohen have faced. In the summer of 2015, as Trump was barreling his way toward the Republican nomination, Cohen threatened a Daily Beast reporter who had called for comment on allegations that Trump abused his ex-wife, as detailed in a 1993 biography. “Tread very fucking lightly,” Cohen told the reporter, Tim Mak, “because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting.”

The Trump campaign, then-helmed by Corey Lewandowski, distanced itself from Cohen after The Daily Beast report came out—saying that despite Cohen’s nearly constant television appearances where he defended Trump, Cohen was not affiliated with the campaign.

A week later, against the better judgement of top campaign officials, Cohen was back in the surrogate’s chair on CNN and in the good graces of his longtime boss. He walked back his statements about rape, but expressed little regret for his treatment of Mak. Recently, he told The Daily Beast, “The guy went way too far and I probably went too far and OK, I’ve been known to lose my temper here and there. But I’m not what the press tries to create me into. It’s just not me, you know?”

The Mak incident wasn’t the only headache Cohen would create for the campaign. In the year that followed, he was criticized for retweeting an account named “surfersfortrump” that said of then-Fox News host Megyn Kelly: “We can gut her.” Then, in August 2016, he turned heads by denying to CNN’s Brianna Keilar, that Trump was lagging in polls

“Says who?” Cohen asked. Keilar dryly responded, “Polls. Most of them. All of them.”

The moment became a viral joke, with a corresponding hashtag. But Cohen has had the last laugh. The polls—most of them, at least—were wrong.

By that point, however, Cohen and his media hits had already become an internal punchline to many senior staffers on Team Trump, according to three top campaign alums. Several called him the “Says Who Guy.” Others were more disparaging, referring him an “idiot,” and a liability.

In a White House full of backbiters and opportunists, Cohen would have been a true believer. But it wasn’t meant to be. According to former and current administration officials, senior Trump aides, including Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, wanted nothing to do with Cohen. Too many saw him as a hothead (even compared to others in the uniquely tumultuous Trump-world) and an inept political operator who would inevitably get the White House into trouble.

The week of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Cohen said the president elect asked him to stay on as his “personal attorney.” Cohen said he was “honored” at the request, but others inside the campaign have said the longtime aide-de-camp was expecting an official White House post.

“He wasn’t expecting attorney general, but he was holding out for a senior job that would have also allowed him to continue being an attack dog for the president,” a source familiar with the situation said, corroborating what other people close to Cohen and Trump told The Daily Beast.

The White House did not return a request for comment.

“He wasn’t expecting attorney general, but he was holding out for a senior job that would have also allowed him to continue being an attack dog for the president.”
Instead of relocating to Washington along with Ivanka and Jared, Cohen moved his office just six blocks south of Trump Tower and with plans to travel between D.C. and New York in service of President Trump. His title—personal attorney to the president—is misleading. He is not acting as an attorney in the way most people think of the job. He is not representing Trump in court against any of the women who accused the president of sexual assault; that’s Marc Kasowitz’s job. And he is not helping Trump with any crises or fallout extending from the Russia investigations; the president already has a team for that.

He remains, very much, a mysterious operator, one whose methods and past work continue to generate embarrassing headlines. In mid-February, The New York Times reported that during the campaign, Cohen had been tasked with stopping any damaging stories about his boss from seeing the light of day, including at least two stories from women—one a former Playboy Playmate, another a porn star—who claimed they’d had consensual affairs with Trump in the mid-2000s. In one case, Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment to porn star Stephanie Clifford, better known by her stage name Stormy Daniels, in the month before the election to effectively buy her silence.

Cohen first denied a sexual encounter had taken place, and sent reporters a written denial of any affair signed by “Stormy Daniels.” A week later, The Wall Street Journal reported that Cohen established a private Delaware LLC to facilitate the payment. Though Cohen established the company in Delaware ostensibly for the state’s reputation for privacy (owners and managers aren’t required to disclose their names) he curiously volunteered himself as the “authorized person” on the formation documents, instead of hiring a third party to act as the signatory.

The following day, InTouch magazine published a 5,000-word interview with Clifford from 2011 that had been shelved after Cohen threatened the publisher with a lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. After a D.C. watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Committee claiming that the $130,000 payment violated campaign finance laws, Cohen released another statement admitting that he had facilitated the payment to Clifford, but claiming he had used his own money and was never reimbursed by the campaign or the Trump Organization. The carefully worded statement stopped short of denying any reimbursement and Cohen did not respond to follow-up questions.

Cohen still insists the affair never happened. He added in his statement, “I will always protect Mr. Trump.” It’s just not clear how much protection he’s providing. Cohen, once more, found himself a national punchline for the services he had rendered to his favorite client. A commercial parody on Jimmy Kimmel Live! asked, “Have you never had sex with a porn star? Then you need a lawyer to give that porn star large amounts of cash! Not your own cash, his own cash. Call the law firm of Michael Cohen & Associates.”

After a year of being vilified in the press, targeted by federal investigators, and perhaps worse, isolated from his idol, Cohen reveled in a counterattack one evening this January.

He announced on Twitter that he had filed two defamation lawsuits: one against Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned “the Steele dossier” a salacious 35-page report that alleged connections between Donald Trump and Russia, and another against BuzzFeed News, over its decision to publish the document.

The unverified dossier named him as a central player in a Russian conspiracy to influence the 2016 election in favor of Trump, a claim that Cohen has repeatedly denied. For BuzzFeed’s alleged defamation, Cohen was demanding $100 million.

When reached by phone, Cohen called it “premature” to discuss damages. “But you can only imagine,” he said. “It’s not just me that has been harmed in many different ways, forgetting about just financial, it’s the attacks on my wife, the attacks on my children.

“You can imagine what goes on at these schools where it’s become increasingly chic to be a far-left liberal,” he said. “You know it’s beyond, I can’t tell you the number of friends who no longer associate with us because our views are just so diametrically opposite.”

And that’s just the personal, Cohen said. The allegations that he may have played a role in Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election are affecting his business prospects, too.

“There’s all sorts of businesses, where they’re like, ‘You’re exactly what we want, but can we hold off until maybe this Russian thing is over?’”

On Fox News, famed defense lawyer and newcomer Trump defender Alan Dershowitz reacted to news of Cohen’s lawsuit by questioning the common sense of a case that would have Trump deposed.

“He’s going to withdraw the case,” Dershowitz told Martha MacCallum. “I’m not sure whether Cohen got the permission to file this lawsuit.”

Dershowitz was onto something. When asked whether President Trump had indeed supported his actions, Cohen told The Daily Beast, “I’m sure he does. I haven’t spoken to him about it.”

There are some signs that Cohen’s exile from the administration is no longer so absolute. Though he may not be at the White House physically, he is serving as a helping hand on Trump-world odd jobs and pet projects.

Later this year, the Trump White House is hoping to unveil an “Urban Revitalization Plan” targeting black and minority communities that the president has outsourced to outside allies, led by pro-Trump pastor Darrell C. Scott. In an interview with The Daily Beast, Scott credited Cohen, a close friend of his, as “one of the originators” of the plan—which Scott tongue-in-cheek refers to as the Trump administration’s “black people plan.”

“We came up with it together,” Scott said.

But even as he’s been tasked with helping to save America’s ailing urban centers, Cohen still lacks allies in Trump-world. White House officials continue to describe him as a “non-entity” and a goofy “character,” according to a senior Trump aide.

In addition to co-founding the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, Cohen in his spare time is pitching in with the Republican National Committee’s fundraising crew, lashing out at Trump critics on Twitter, and shopping a book.

According to a proposal sent to several publishers and obtained by The Daily Beast earlier this month, Cohen’s book will likely be titled, “Trump Revolution: From the Tower to the White House, Understanding Donald J. Trump,” and will focus on the attorney’s role in the campaign and the business empire.

“No issue was too big, too sticky or too oddball for me to tackle,” Cohen teases in the book proposal. “I saw it all, handled it all. And still do.”

Michael Cohen wants you to know that he’s not making a comeback any time soon. After all, he’s been with Mr. Trump the whole time.

“I haven’t gone anywhere,” Cohen wrote in a text message to The Daily Beast. “Sadly, the press wants to create the narrative that I am on the outside. More fake news!” ... l-in-exile

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:14 pm
by seemslikeadream
Seth Abramson

BREAKING: It turns out that Donald Trump was conspiring with an *active* FBI informant while he was secretly leveraging his presidential run in 2015 and 2016 to get a business deal with Russian nationals.

Do I need to point out how *hard* that's going to come back to bite him?

"Greed is my go-to weapon. I knew how to tap into that emotion. I would convince them that they're going to make a lot of money with me.” Deep dive on Felix Sater from @a_cormier_ and @JasonLeopold ... .lyE0OkV5g

2/ In case the import of this isn't clear, it means that Trump co-conspirator Felix Sater is the FBI's man, and *was* the FBI's man the entire time he was conspiring with Trump. That doesn't mean it was a sting operation, it just means that Sater is definitely Mueller's man now.

3/ Process this: two active FBI agents just burned Felix Sater as a source. Not an FBI consultant, but a "source."

4/ In light of today's Buzzfeed scoop on Felix Sater, I suggest that readers take a look at the thread on Sater I wrote two and a half months ago, which forecast what happened today: FBI agents burning Sater as a source. This thread will stun many readers.

How A Player In The Trump-Russia Scandal Led A Double Life As An American Spy

Felix Sater has been cast as a Russian mafioso, a career criminal, and a key business associate of President Donald Trump — but he spent more than two decades as an intelligence asset who helped the US government track terrorists and mobsters. “Greed is my go-to weapon.”

March 12, 2018, at 10:56 a.m.
In the sprawling Trump-Russia investigation, one name constantly pops up: Felix Sater. In story after story, Sater is described as Donald Trump’s former business partner, a convicted stock swindler who was born in the Soviet Union, worked in Russia, tried to win Trump a deal in Moscow, and even helped broker a Ukrainian peace plan that Vladimir Putin would have loved.

Basically, he’s portrayed as something just short of a Russian spy.

Effectively, he has been a spy — but for the United States. For the first time, BuzzFeed News has verified the surprising sweep of Sater’s undercover work and many of his specific exploits. He worked as an asset for the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency (or DIA) and tracked Osama bin Laden. Then he worked for more than a decade for the FBI, providing intel on everything from the mob to North Korea’s drive for nuclear weapons. He still operates as a source for the bureau, according to two current FBI agents.

He did some of this work to fend off prison time after he admitted guilt in a stock scam — but he had started helping the US government before then, and he continued to report back to the FBI after the agreement ended. Today, as he is being questioned about Trump's business deals and ties to Russia, he has built relationships with at least six members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, some going back more than 10 years.

“At the direction of the FBI,” Sater traveled to the Middle East after 9/11 to collect “valuable intelligence” on “key leaders in al Qaeda.”
Fragments of Sater’s work for the government have leaked out, partly because Sater himself has bragged about “building Trump Towers by day and hunting Bin Laden by night.” But his “cloak-and-dagger claims of chasing down terrorists” were often dismissed as “wildly unlikely,” while Sater himself remained “an obsession of the many investigators — professional and amateur — searching for Trump’s Russia connection.”

Now BuzzFeed News has obtained the statement Sater gave under oath to House Intelligence Committee investigators at his attorney’s office in December, interviewed him extensively, and corroborated many details of his spy-thriller account through legal documents, emails, letters, and interviews with 10 current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials familiar with his undercover work.

“At the direction of the FBI,” the Department of Justice stated in a newly unsealed court filing, Sater traveled to the Middle East after 9/11 to collect “valuable intelligence” on “key leaders in al Qaeda,” and he helped “in a number of other areas, including Russian organized crime.” In other court filings, the Justice Department said Sater’s work on behalf of the United States “involves 18 foreign governments” as well as “various families of La Cosa Nostra,” and that his help was “of an extraordinary depth and breadth.”

Specific exploits confirmed by BuzzFeed News include:

He obtained five of the personal satellite telephone numbers for Osama bin Laden before 9/11 and he helped flip the personal secretary to Mullah Omar, then the head of the Taliban and an ally of bin Laden, into a source who provided the location of al-Qaeda training camps and weapons caches.

In 2004, he persuaded a source in Russia’s foreign military intelligence to hand over the name and photographs of a North Korean military operative who was purchasing equipment to build the country’s nuclear arsenal.

Sater provided US intelligence with details about possible assassination threats against former president George W. Bush and secretary of state Colin Powell. Sater reported that jihadists were hiding in a hut outside Bagram Air Base and planned to shoot down Powell’s plane during a January 2002 visit. He later told his handlers that two female al-Qaeda members were trying to recruit an Afghan woman working in the Senate barbershop to poison President Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

He went undercover in Cyprus and Istanbul to catch Russian and Ukrainian cybercriminals around 2005. After the FBI set him up with a fake name and background, Sater posed as a money launderer to help nab the suspects for washing funds stolen from US financial institutions.

The CIA, DIA, FBI, and leaders of the House Intelligence Committee all declined to comment.

Over the past month, two BuzzFeed News reporters met frequently with Sater in Los Angeles, where he’s been living since February and which seems to suit him. He’s tan. He had his Porsche shipped over from Long Island. He gets the good table at Delilah, a see-and-be-seen West Hollywood nightclub. He said he is telling his full story, long kept secret by the government, to clear his name. “I am being given no choice because of the ongoing Trump investigations,” he said. “The media lies about me.”

“The media lies about me.”
The revelations about his clandestine work for the United States complicate an already complicated figure, revealing a man who thrives on mixing espionage, politics, and business, often playing one off the other to his own advantage.

Sater, who recently turned 52, started out as a stockbroker who lost his license after he assaulted a man in a bar brawl. He helped scam investors out of tens of millions of dollars in the mid-1990s. He later emerged as a partner to the Trump Organization and a senior advisor to Trump himself, raising money for the future president and his family on projects such as Trump SoHo, the troubled hotel that nearly led to fraud charges against Ivanka Trump and her brother Donald Jr.

Even as he was helping US intelligence and law enforcement agencies, Sater racked up enemies in his business dealings. An Arizona man said Sater threatened to cut his legs off during a failed development deal. Florida investors said his company, Bayrock, ripped them off. A former colleague said in a lawsuit that the entire Bayrock operation was run by organized crime figures, and that Sater threatened to have him killed if he didn't cooperate. Sater denied doing any of these things.

Michael Cohen
Mark Wilson / Getty Images
But he doesn't deny that he is always looking for an angle. As the Trump campaign kicked into high gear in 2015, Sater saw an opportunity.

In emails initially revealed by the Washington Post, Sater wrote to Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, boasting about being able to finally line up a real estate development in Moscow — a deal the Trump Organization had long sought.

In one of the emails, Sater told Cohen that he could get buy-in from Putin himself and that “we will get Donald elected” in the process. Those emails have become a flashpoint in the Trump-Russia investigation — but Sater, who denied having anything to do with Russian interference in the election, told BuzzFeed News he was just doing what he’s always done: working a deal.

Did he actually know Putin?

“No, of course not.”

Did he think the Trump Moscow deal could get Trump elected?

Even Trump “is fucking surprised he became the president.”

Then why send that email?

“If a deal can get done and I could make money and he could look like a statesman, what the fuck is the downside, right?”

Sater in Los Angeles.
Melissa Lyttle for BuzzFeed News
Sater in Los Angeles.

“The dark side of Wall Street”
Born in the Soviet Union but an American citizen raised in Brooklyn, Sater was a Wall Street wunderkind who worked at top shops such as Bear Stearns and Shearson Lehman Brothers. He was whip-smart but also a hothead, and, one night in 1991, a drunk Sater got into an argument at a Midtown bar with a commodities broker. The man was coming after Sater with a beer bottle, Sater said, so he grabbed a margarita glass and hit the man in the face with it. Both men were hospitalized afterward, but Sater’s opponent took the worst of it: a badly slashed face that led to Sater spending a year in prison for felony assault.

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Worse still, he was stripped of his broker’s license and became persona non grata on Wall Street. To make money, he helped start a company that purported to buy and sell Nasdaq stocks. In reality, it was an elaborate and illegal “pump and dump” stock scheme that defrauded investors out of nearly $40 million, according to court records.

Brokers, paid under the table, purchased stocks through offshore accounts controlled by Sater. Sater’s firm spun false stories about the companies to inflate their value, then dumped the overpriced stocks onto unwitting investors. Court documents show that the five main New York City mafia families were directly involved, mostly to provide muscle.

“They were there for disputes,” Sater said.

After working on what he called “the dark side of Wall Street” for 18 months, Sater said he left the business in 1995 because he “didn’t want to do dirty shit anymore.” The next year, he went to Russia to work on telecommunications deals with AT&T and others. One night, Sater was at dinner with a group of Russians in Moscow when he was introduced to an American defense contractor named Milton Blane. Sater said Blane, who died last year, followed him into the restroom that night and asked for his phone number to set up a meeting the following day.

“I want you to understand: If you’re caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head.”
At an Irish pub, Blane explained that he worked for the DIA and that some of the people Sater had been dining with were high-level Russian intelligence agents. “‘You’re in with a group who could deliver,’” Sater recalls Blane telling him. Blane, Sater said, asked him to work as an asset, intelligence lingo for an confidential source, but warned, “‘I want you to understand: If you’re caught, the USA is going to disavow you and, at best, you get a bullet in the head.’”

Sater's fluent Russian, his business connections, and his access to Russian military officials would have made him a prime recruitment target for any US intelligence agency in Moscow, two longtime intelligence officers said. But they also said Blane’s approach was unorthodox — recruits wouldn’t usually be told they would be disavowed, and a counterintelligence investigation would normally have taken place to ensure Sater wasn’t working for an enemy.

In any event, the Moscow meeting with Blane launched Sater’s work for the government, which would last for the better part of two decades. He said was not paid for his work — which two Justice Department officials confirmed — but did it to help his country and for the “thrill.”

One of Sater’s early operations involved the pursuit in 1998 of Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. The CIA had originally given the missiles to the mujahideen to oust the Soviets during their occupation of Afghanistan — but now the agency wanted to prevent them from falling into the hands of radicalized jihadists. Sater managed to find some, complete with their serial numbers.

Sater’s attorney, Robert Wolf, said he acted as his conduit to the CIA. As Wolf tells it, he called someone he had long known: David Kendall, Bill Clinton's lawyer, telling him that he had serial numbers for the Stinger missiles that the Clinton administration had been trying to obtain. Kendall, Wolf said, called back and said he had spoken with President Clinton and that Wolf should call Robert M. McNamara Jr., the CIA's general counsel. During the phone call with McNamara, Wolf read out the serial numbers for the Stinger missiles.

CIA officials were skeptical, so Sater provided photographs of the missiles — with their serial numbers and a copy of a daily newspaper to prove the photo was current.
But, intelligence sources told BuzzFeed News, CIA officials were skeptical. So Sater provided photographs of the missiles — with their serial numbers and a copy of a daily newspaper to prove the photo was current. Two former intelligence officers and an FBI agent confirmed that Sater had provided the photographs, an incident they said bolstered his credibility.

Meanwhile, Wolf recalled, McNamara brokered a meeting at a restaurant near the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, which was attended by Wolf and two employees of the CIA’s clandestine division: an operations officer and an attorney named Steve Hermes. For the next year or so, Wolf said, he talked regularly with Hermes by pay phone or landline when Sater wanted to pass on new information — or when the CIA wanted more intelligence. “We just went back and forth for months and months about al-Qaeda, bin Laden, and the return of the Stingers,” Wolf said.

Hermes, who has retired from the CIA, and Clinton’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment. Kendall declined to comment. McNamara Jr. died in 2013.

In August 1998, President Bill Clinton authorized Operation Infinite Reach — a bombing strike against al-Qaeda in retaliation for the terror attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people. Sater, 10 current and former intelligence and law enforcement officials said, supplemented US intelligence by providing location coordinates for al-Qaeda camps that the US military ultimately bombed in Khost, Afghanistan.

BuzzFeed News also confirmed another 1998 mission, in which Sater infiltrated the Afghan precious stone market to find dealers who were laundering money for al-Qaeda. Sater found his own dealer, from New York City’s 47th Street diamond district, and brought him to the Middle East to make the ruse seem more authentic. An FBI source said the Justice Department later confirmed this detail in court filings that remain under seal. BuzzFeed News reviewed an internal government document about the mission in which an intelligence official characterized the information Sater passed on as “highly sensitive intelligence.”

But while Sater developed contacts and filtered information for America’s spies, back at home the FBI was starting to ask questions about his past.

Sater in Dubai in May, 1998.
Obtained by BuzzFeed News
Sater in Dubai in May, 1998.

Bin Laden’s phone numbers
One day in 1998, while Sater was living in Russia, a NYPD official called the FBI with an unusual tip: In a Manhattan storage locker, the police had discovered a shotgun, two pistols, and a gym bag containing a cache of documents tied to Sater.

Raymond Kerr, in charge of the FBI’s Russian organized crime task force, went down to the NYPD station to check out the records. What he found was shocking: The documents showed the inner workings of the pump-and-dump scheme, which involved more than a dozen traders and muscle from the Italian mob. Immediately, Kerr and another agent, Leo Taddeo, began hunting for Sater.

Sater was vacationing in Italy when the Afghan intelligence officer called with five satellite phone numbers belonging to bin Laden.
As the FBI closed in, Sater continued to work his contacts overseas. He developed a close bond with an intelligence officer working for the Northern Alliance, the Afghan militia led by Ahmad Shah Massoud, the fierce and beloved fighter called the Lion of Panjshir. As the Northern Alliance fought Islamists, its intelligence officer fed information to Sater, according to Sater and a former FBI agent.

Late in 1998, Sater was vacationing in Italy with his family when the Afghan intelligence officer called with five satellite phone numbers belonging to bin Laden. He asked Sater to pass the numbers along to officials in the US.

Then the FBI found Sater and told him he was under investigation for the stock fraud. “I never intended on fighting and I surrendered,” Sater told BuzzFeed News. “I knew I was going to cooperate.”

Sater flew back to New York City, and at his first meeting with Taddeo, the FBI agent, Sater played his trump card, turning over a piece of scrap paper on which he had jotted down bin Laden’s satellite phone numbers.

Sater pleaded guilty to racketeering in December 1998. But instead of being sentenced, Sater, like 16 other defendants in the case, signed a cooperation agreement with the US government, and his entire case file was sealed.

Signing Sater’s cooperation agreement for the Department of Justice was Andrew Weissmann, then an assistant US attorney and now a key member of the special counsel’s team. Mueller himself would be the FBI director for most of the time Sater served as a source.

“For more than 10 years, he worked with prosecutors providing information crucial to national security.”
The US attorney who oversaw Sater’s pump-and-dump case was Loretta Lynch, later the attorney general under President Barack Obama. While the Senate was considering her confirmation, Sen. Orrin Hatch asked Lynch about how her office handled Sater’s fraud case. In a written response, she said:

“The defendant in question, Felix Sater, provided valuable and sensitive information to the government during the course of his cooperation, which began in or about December 1998. For more than 10 years, he worked with prosecutors providing information crucial to national security and the conviction of over 20 individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud and members of La Cosa Nostra. For that reason, his case was initially sealed.”

To the government, he was no longer Felix Sater; in public he was referred to as John Doe, while in hundreds of pages of FBI interview reports, his code name was “The Quarterback.”

Sater in Los Angeles.
Melissa Lyttle for BuzzFeed News
Sater in Los Angeles.

“Greed is my go-to weapon”
Sater was driving into Manhattan one fall morning when traffic ground to a halt on a ramp to the Queens–Midtown Tunnel. In the distance, he saw smoke rising from lower Manhattan.

The 9/11 attacks shook Sater, and his law enforcement and intelligence handlers urged him to find any information he could.

Sometimes, he said, he threatened people, but most of the time he used a different approach: “I'm not that big of a guy and I don't carry a gun. Greed is my go-to weapon. I knew how to tap into that emotion. I would convince them that they're going to make a lot of money with me.”

He said he told a former Russian intelligence official that the two of them could run banks together and make $200 million. To the Northern Alliance source who had provided bin Laden’s satellite numbers, Sater said he went one step further, persuading the man that he would become the “Alan Greenspan of Afghanistan” and run the country’s federal reserve after the US invasion.

Sater said he set up Delaware LLCs in the US — for the “Bank of Kabul” and the “Bank of Afghanistan.” He registered websites to convince the Northern Alliance source that he was serious about his intentions, going so far, he said, as to print out the corporate registrations, adorn them with ribbons, and use a wax stamp to make them seem more official. He said he mailed the documents, and a satellite phone, to the source.

Two former Justice Department officials said Sater took these steps without the FBI’s knowledge or authorization, telling his handlers about it only after the fact.

Sater’s source had his own source: Mullah Omar’s personal secretary, who was living inside a cave with bin Laden.
But soon, according to three former FBI agents, an intelligence official, and a Department of Justice official, Sater reported back to intelligence agencies on the results of coalition bombings, kills on the battlefield, the financial networks behind the 9/11 bombers and other al-Qaeda members worldwide, and even the identity of a New Mexico company believed to be laundering terror funds in the US.

Sater’s Afghan intelligence source funneled to him copies of al-Qaeda passports, jihadi escape routes, the locations of fighters, and weapons caches. He described the source as a “gold mine” — but it was only much later that Sater learned that the information originated inside al-Qaeda’s hideouts. According to a former senior Justice Department official and a former FBI agent with knowledge of Sater’s work, Sater’s source had his own source: Mullah Omar’s personal secretary, who was living inside a cave with bin Laden.

In most cases, Sater would turn over information and never know what, if anything, the US did with it. But Raymond Kerr, a former FBI agent in charge of investigating organized crime in New York City and who used Sater as a key source, said the intelligence Sater provided was valuable. “We wouldn’t have gone to bat for him the way we did if his information wasn’t good and we couldn’t corroborate it,” Kerr said.

Said another top intelligence official who worked directly on terror cases before and after 9/11, “Felix likely does not realize how important his work has been in saving American lives. What he did on behalf of the US for more than a decade outweighs any of the bad deeds from his youth.” Sater, the official said, “deserves a commendation.”

Sater and Trump.
Obtained by BuzzFeed News
Doing deals for Trump
Sater was under orders to keep his government work secret. He changed his last name to “Satter” to avoid scrutiny from internet sleuths, and the details of his participation in the stock fraud were kept sealed from the public.

The first hints emerged in a little-read book, The Scorpion and the Frog, written by one of Sater’s partners in the stock fraud. In it, author Salvatore Lauria wrote about his adventures with Sater in Russia and elsewhere for the CIA. Sater was referred to as “Lex Tersa” (“Tersa” is an anagram of “Sater”) but the book didn’t take off and his history as an intelligence asset remained largely hidden.

“I’m going to be the biggest developer in New York City — and you want to be my partner.”
But a new partnership would put him in business with one of the most famous people in America — Donald Trump.

Sater and his partners, including Tevfik Arif, a Kazakh real estate baron, started a company called Bayrock Group and sought to finance real estate projects across the globe. Bayrock rented office space in Trump Tower, and one afternoon the ever-confident Sater said he knocked on Trump’s office door and introduced himself: “I’m going to be the biggest developer in New York City — and you want to be my partner.”

Donald Trump, Tevfik Arif, and Sater.
Mark Von Holden / WireImage
Donald Trump, Tevfik Arif, and Sater.
Bayrock began to work with the Trump Organization on licensing deals in which Trump earned a fee by doing little more than giving his name to the project, while others put up the money and actually built the property. Sater and Trump are pictured celebrating deals together across the globe, and Sater accompanied Ivanka Trump and her brother Don Jr. on a trip to Russia.

But the good times stopped rolling when a 2007 article in the New York Times outed Felix’s involvement in the pump-and-dump scheme and his “tangled past.” Investors, unaware of Sater’s criminal background, questioned his involvement with Bayrock. Banks pulled back from doing business with the company, and his partners squeezed him. “I had to leave the company that I built with my own hands,” he said.

He left the US and spent two years working in Russia with a large real estate developer, the Mirax Group. He worked on two projects in London, he said, including a group of townhouses near Regent’s Park that made “good money.”

Sater speaking next to Donald Trump in 2007.
Patrick Mcmullan / Getty Images
Sater speaking next to Donald Trump in 2007.

“Trying to rehabilitate myself”
In 2009, 11 years after he formally started cooperating, the US government was finally going to hold up its end of the bargain. Sater headed to a federal courthouse in Brooklyn in October 2009 for his sentencing in the stock fraud scheme.

Two federal prosecutors and four FBI agents showed up to vouch for him. A transcript of that hearing is heavily redacted, but it makes clear that Sater was no ordinary cooperating witness.

“There was nothing he wouldn’t do,” former assistant US attorney Todd Kaminsky, now a New York state senator, told the judge. “He was really helpful and was the key to open a hundred different doors.”

“There was nothing he wouldn’t do.”
Taddeo, his main FBI handler, said that Sater’s work damaged the Bonanno crime family and helped the FBI take La Cosa Nostra out of the Wall Street stock business.

“The length of his cooperation is extraordinary,” said Marshall Miller, another assistant US attorney. “And I wanted to be here to express from the office’s perspective just how capable a cooperator he was, how important a cooperator he was, and how effective he was.”

Taddeo, who left the FBI in August 2015 and now works for a private cybersecurity firm, did not respond to phone and email messages. Kaminsky said he couldn’t comment because much of the case was still sealed, and Miller, who has left the Justice Department, also declined to comment.

Finally, it was Sater’s turn to face the judge. “Yes, I am guilty of the things that I have done,” he said. But, he added, “I am trying to rehabilitate myself.”

US District Court Judge I. Leo Glasser, who had sentenced dozens of people to prison based on information Sater had provided to the FBI, told him, “For 11 years, I would suspect you had gone to bed every night or every other night sleeping a little restlessly and wondering what your sentence is going to be. So, in effect, there has been a sentence which already has been imposed.”

“Donald said, ‘Where have you been?’”
For the $40 million scheme, Sater was fined $25,000.

To this day, Sater continues to cooperate with the FBI and Justice Department, he said in his statement to the House Intelligence Committee. He wouldn't disclose additional details, except to say that he works on “international matters.” Two US officials confirmed Sater continues to be a reliable asset.

As for his regular life, when he relocated back to the US in 2010, he recalled, “Donald said, ‘Where have you been?’” Sater said Trump asked him to join the Trump Organization. “That's when I became senior advisor to him,” he said. The Trump Organization and the White House declined to comment.

Sater in Los Angeles.
Melissa Lyttle / Melissa Lyttle for the New York Times
Sater in Los Angeles.

“Trump Moscow”
When Trump won the presidency, Sater saw an opportunity to do what he does best: make deals. But his ambition backfired, putting Sater in the middle of the Trump-Russia scandal.

In early 2017, Sater told BuzzFeed News he was trying to close a deal with a Ukrainian politician and others on an energy deal in Eastern Europe. Sater estimated he and his partners could earn billions. But as they closed in, the Ukrainian, Andrey Artemenko, asked Sater for a favor: Could he broker a meeting with Trump’s team to discuss a “peace plan” for Ukraine and Russia?

The deal, which Sater said set out a way to lift sanctions on Russia, surely would have pleased the Kremlin, but it would have been a sharp departure from previous US policy. Still, Sater summoned Trump’s personal lawyer, Cohen, to a Midtown Manhattan hotel in February 2017, and Artemenko gave him a letter about the plan. Cohen has denied passing the plan to the White House and told BuzzFeed News he threw it out.

Where some see the meeting as foreign interference in US policy, Sater sees opportunity. If he could grease the skids with a potential business partner while bringing peace to a war-torn region, Sater said, who could argue with that? “No more war,” Sater said. “People not getting killed. Beautiful situation.”

“I thought everybody wins. Turns out, I lost.”
But the encounter is now reportedly part of the special counsel’s investigation, and Sater finds himself in the spotlight. Of the Ukrainian plan, Sater said, “I thought everybody wins. Turns out, I lost.”

Sater has already been summoned by congressional investigators, and he is expected to speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee in April. He also has been questioned by Mueller’s team, several of whom he knows from his past undercover work. It’s almost certain that Sater has sensitive information about Trump’s business dealings, but he won’t say what he was asked or what information he provided. The special counsel’s office declined to comment for this story.

The glare of the Trump-Russia investigation, he said, has taken its toll: His marriage of 29 years collapsed, his reputation is mud among his business friends, and he has recently been the subject of anti-Semitic messages and phone calls from neo-Nazi groups.

The glare of the Trump-Russia investigation, he said, has taken its toll: His marriage of 29 years collapsed, and his reputation is mud among his business friends.

He hopes that by revealing the extent of his cooperation, he will be able to change how the public — and his own family — thinks about him. Meanwhile, he presses on without the support of Trump, whom Sater said he considered a good friend.

Trump has denied knowing the man who had an office three doors down from his own and who helped his company explore deals across the globe. In a 2013 deposition, Trump said of Sater, “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.”

Over dinner last week at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Sater was clearly hurt when he spoke about the president’s statement. “It’s very upsetting but, you know, what am I going to do?” Sater said. “Start calling him a liar?” Sater said he hasn’t talked with Trump in a couple of years, but he sees an angle to keeping in Trump’s good graces.

“First thing I plan to do when Trump leaves office, whether it's next week, in 2020 or four years later, is march right into his office and say, ‘Let's build Trump Moscow.’

“I'm serious.”

Emma Loop contributed additional reporting to this story.

Melissa Lyttle for BuzzFeed News
Anthony Cormier is an investigative reporter/editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. While working for the Tampa Bay Times, Cormier won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting. ... .yiv8nWEzY


March 12, 2018/1 Comment/in 2016 Presidential Election, Mueller Probe /by emptywheel
Back in my first post on the structure of Robert Mueller’s team, “Robert Mueller’s Grand Jury and the Significance of Felix Sater,” I noted that he would know what he was dealing with because of past history with Felix Sater, the sometimes business partner of Donald Trump, who has served as an FBI informant on (among other things) the mob.

In BuzzFeed’s fascinating story on Sater’s past as an intelligence and FBI informant, Anthony Cormier and Jason Leopold go further. They point out that Andrew Weissmann signed Sater’s FBI cooperation agreement and Sater has ties with another five members of Mueller’s team.

Today, as he is being questioned about Trump’s business deals and ties to Russia, he has built relationships with at least six members of special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, some going back more than 10 years.


Signing Sater’s cooperation agreement for the Department of Justice was Andrew Weissmann, then an assistant US attorney and now a key member of the special counsel’s team. Mueller himself would be the FBI director for most of the time Sater served as a source.

The mob and fraud and corruption lawyers working for Mueller have a remarkable amount of firsthand knowledge about who Felix Sater is.

Which is why I find the timing of the interviews Sater has had with the three main Russia investigations to be so interesting. These are:

December 2017 [Leopold clarified this via Twitter]: Mueller interview

December 2017 [CNN has reported it occurring on the 20th]: Interview in lawyer’s office

April 2018: Scheduled interview with SSCI

This, in spite of the fact that Sater’s role in helping pitch a Ukrainian peace deal to Mike Flynn first got reported in February.

A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.


The amateur diplomats say their goal is simply to help settle a grueling, three-year conflict that has cost 10,000 lives. “Who doesn’t want to help bring about peace?” Mr. Cohen asked.

But the proposal contains more than just a peace plan. Andrii V. Artemenko, the Ukrainian lawmaker, who sees himself as a Trump-style leader of a future Ukraine, claims to have evidence — “names of companies, wire transfers” — showing corruption by the Ukrainian president, Petro O. Poroshenko, that could help oust him. And Mr. Artemenko said he had received encouragement for his plans from top aides to Mr. Putin.


Mr. Artemenko said a mutual friend had put him in touch with Mr. Sater. Helping to advance the proposal, Mr. Sater said, made sense.

“I want to stop a war, number one,” he said. “Number two, I absolutely believe that the U.S. and Russia need to be allies, not enemies. If I could achieve both in one stroke, it would be a home run.”

After speaking with Mr. Sater and Mr. Artemenko in person, Mr. Cohen said he would deliver the plan to the White House.

Mr. Cohen said he did not know who in the Russian government had offered encouragement on it, as Mr. Artemenko claims, but he understood there was a promise of proof of corruption by the Ukrainian president.

“Fraud is never good, right?” Mr. Cohen said.

He said Mr. Sater had given him the written proposal in a sealed envelope. When Mr. Cohen met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office in early February, he said, he left the proposal in Mr. Flynn’s office.

And in spite of the fact that Sater’s role in pitching a Trump Tower deal became known at least as early as August, when Michael Cohen reported it to Congress.

While Donald Trump was running for president in late 2015 and early 2016, his company was pursuing a plan to develop a massive Trump Tower in Moscow, according to several people familiar with the proposal and new records reviewed by Trump Organization lawyers.

As part of the discussions, a Russian-born real estate developer urged Trump to come to Moscow to tout the proposal and suggested that he could get President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about Trump, according to several people who have been briefed on his correspondence.

The developer, Felix Sater, predicted in a November 2015 email that he and Trump Organization leaders would soon be celebrating — both one of the biggest residential projects in real estate history and Donald Trump’s election as president, according to two of the people with knowledge of the exchange.

Sater wrote to Trump Organization Executive Vice President Michael Cohen “something to the effect of, ‘Can you believe two guys from Brooklyn are going to elect a president?’ ” said one person briefed on the email exchange. Sater emigrated from what was then the Soviet Union when he was 6 and grew up in Brooklyn.

So even Mueller’s prosecutors, who know Sater well, waited at least four months before they interviewed him.

Plus, the timing of these interviews is interesting given the other known interview schedules (see this CNN timeline for the easiest comparison). Sater’s HPSCI interview, for example, took place the same week as long-time, loyal Trump assistant Rhona Graff got interviewed, at a time when Republicans had started blowing through interviews in an attempt to finish their investigation (HPSCI announced they were done with interviews today).

SSCI, by comparison, first tried to interview Michael Cohen — an important participant in both Sater roles — in September, but brought him back on October 25 after he released a public statement.

In Mueller’s investigation, Sater got interviewed around the same time the team was interviewing Hope Hicks and Don McGahn, really high level people with a good degree of personal exposure.

And of course, all of these interviews took place in the wake of the November 30 Mike Flynn plea deal, who reportedly received the Ukrainian pitch.

So December Mueller and HPSCI interviews and an April SSCI interview suggests that all parties, for different reasons, felt like they had to do a lot of work before bringing in Sater, in spite of the fact that he was an identified interest as soon as the Flynn concerns were raised. Remember, too, that the subpoena Mueller just issued to Sam Nunberg started at almost exactly the same time Sater was pitching that Trump Tower deal.

Mind you, I don’t know what to make of the timing. But I do find it interesting that Sater’s old friends didn’t immediately seek him out for his honest testimony. ... nterviews/

Re: Everything you need to know about Felix Sater

PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:52 pm
by seemslikeadream
Businessman....... Soviet Born....Russian mob connected.......father worked for friends with trump lawyer Cohen...... FBI source ...cooperating with Mueller investigation Felix Sater says Trump sent him to Russia to 'look after' his kids :P

"If it's found out Trump (or associates) were working with the Russians as they were interfering in our election, what would be your reaction."

"Send them to jail."

Felix Sater March 16 2018

Felix Sater is often referred to as the convicted felon and onetime stock scammer who promised to “get all of Putins team to buy in” on a plan to build “Trump Tower Moscow” during the presidential campaign.

Businessman says Trump sent him to Russia to 'look after' his kids

Ex-Trump associate talks about email to Cohen

(CNN)Felix Sater, the Russian-born onetime business associate of Donald Trump's who worked to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, says the then-business magnate asked him to "look after" his kids when they were pursuing business deals in Russia.

Sater told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day" Friday that Trump had personally asked him to travel to Russia to be in Moscow with his children.

"The President asked me to be in Russia at the same time as them to look after them," Sater said, adding that Trump had asked him directly.

The Trump Organization's general counsel has said previously Sater was not accompanying the Trump children in Moscow. And Trump himself has downplayed his connections to Sater.
"Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it," Trump said in a December 2015 Associated Press interview. "I'm not that familiar with him."
Sater, a mob-linked felon turned FBI informant, is speaking out now after he has figured prominently amid questions about Trump's connections to Russia for his role in trying to land a Trump Tower in Moscow in late 2015 and early 2016, while the presidential campaign was underway.

Trump signed a letter of intent on the Moscow deal, which was a nonbinding agreement, but the venture was ultimately scuttled in 2016.

Sater worked with Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen on the deal, and emails exchanged between the two show that Sater thought the deal could "get Donald elected," according to The New York Times. Sater also suggested he could get Russian President Vladimir Putin to say "great things" about Trump if the deal went through, according to The Washington Post.
But Sater, who was born in the Soviet Union and moved to the US as a child, said Friday that he did not have connections to Putin's government — though he insisted his statements weren't just hype.

"At the end of the day, I'd start finding people that knew Putin," Sater said. "I'd start finding people that could get Donald on top of this project. I would have, believe me, turned over every rock to make sure everyone was involved."

Sater said he's now speaking out because of his longtime intelligence work on behalf of the US, as his name has continued to surface in the congressional and special counsel investigations into Trump and Russia. Sater said he has spoken with the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, but he won't say whether he's talked to special counsel Robert Mueller's team.

"I cannot answer about anything that may be on ongoing investigation," Sater said Friday when asked if he had spoken to Mueller.

"True, except you could say if you haven't spoken to the investigators. You could say that," Cuomo responded.

"I choose not to," Sater said.

Sater denied there was ever any money exchanged or any effort to build a relationship between Putin's allies and the Trump Organization as part of the project.

"To my knowledge and anything I was involved with, absolutely not," he said. ... index.html

Confirmed: Trump Organization did negotiate with a sanctioned Russian bank in 2016

Written by Annalisa Merelli
FILE - In this Nov. 17, 2016 file photo, security personnel stand at the front entrance of Trump Tower in New York. There is no indication that Trump Tower was “the subject of surveillance” by the U.S. government before or after the 2016 election, the top two members of the Senate intelligence committee said Thursday, March 16, 2017, directly contradicting President Donald Trump’s claims.“Based on the information available to us, we see no indications that Trump Tower was the subject of surveillance by any element of the United States government either before or after Election Day 2016,” Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C. and Mark Warner, D-Va., said in a one-sentence joint statement Thursday afternoon. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
"Putin, Trump, and if I knew people in China, I would have tried to get the premier of China and have a trifecta." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Felix Sater, a Soviet-born former Donald Trump advisor and real estate dealer, confirmed last night to MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that the Trump Organization negotiated with sanctioned Russian bank VTB to build Trump World Tower in Moscow:

Sater, a longtime US intelligence and defense resource, has been under scrutiny for an email exchange with his friend and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, in which he boasted that the subsequently failed real estate deal to build Trump World Tower Moscow “will get Donald elected” (paywall). “Buddy our boy can become President of the US and we can engineer it. We will get all of Putins (sic) team to buy in on this,” read an email sent to Cohen in November 2015.

Sater denies knowing of any outright collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign and maintains the emails were purely “giddy” exchanges between friends excited by the real estate business opportunity and having a common friend run for president. Sater told Hayes he put together a deal to build the real estate project and connected the Trump Organization to a local real estate developer who “would have gotten financing from VTB and/or another Russian bank.”

At the time of the attempted deal, VTB, one of Russia’s biggest banks, had been sanctioned since 2014, and subject to restriction in funding because of its role in Russia’s annexation of Crimea. In January, the US proposed expanding the sanctions to limit it from access to US finance market and to seize their American assets.

Although Sater concedes the optics of the deal are suspicious, he says the size of the deal justifies trying to get high-profile involvement—which would explain his mentioning Putin in the email exchange. “From my side, I’m trying to build a billion dollar deal,” Sater says. “Putin, Trump, and if I knew people in China, I would have tried to get the premier of China and have a trifecta.” ... -bank-vtp/

Russian-born businessman Felix Sater has confirmed a bombshell detail in the Russia investigation

Sonam Sheth, provided by
Robert MuellerChip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman and associate of President Donald Trump, confirmed Friday that the Trump Organization was pursuing a deal with a sanctioned Russian bank at the height of the 2016 election.
The company was trying to secure financing for a Trump Tower in Moscow from Russia's VTB Bank through a local developer.
The US imposed sanctions on VTB in 2014 and 2015, which froze its assets in the country and blocked US entities from doing business with the bank.
The revelation will be of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller, who recently subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to the Trump Tower Moscow deal.
Felix Sater, a Russian-born businessman with financial ties to the Trump Organization, confirmed Friday that President Donald Trump's business was privately negotiating a deal with a sanctioned Russian bank during the 2016 US election.

Recommended Video:
Felix Sater, Soviet-Born Adviser To Trump, Says If Collusion Is Found, ‘Send ‘Em To Jail’

The detail first emerged in a status report that democrats on the House Intelligence Committee released earlier this week in response to Republicans' decision to shut down the committee's Russia investigation. The report outlined dozens of leads — including witness testimony, document requests, and subpoenas — the minority said it was not able to pursue.

On Friday, Sater told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that a local developer in Russia worked on behalf of the Trump Organization to secure financing for a Trump Tower in Moscow from VTB Bank, Russia's second-largest bank and a US-sanctioned entity.

"I had a local developer there [in Russia], and I had the Trump Organization here [in the US], and I was in the middle," Sater said. "And the local developer there would have gotten financing from VTB and/or another Russian bank, but VTB at that point was the go-to bank for real-estate development."

VTB, a Russian state-owned bank, was initially added to the US's Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) in July 2014, which froze its assets in the country and restricted US citizens and companies from doing business with VTB and its subsidiaries. The US later imposed additional sanctions on VTB in December 2015.

Sater and Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, were pushing for the deal with VTB in Moscow at the height of the presidential election, in late 2015 and early 2016. The revelation will likely draw sharp scrutiny from the special counsel Robert Mueller, who recently subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents related to the Trump Tower Moscow deal.

Sater first sent a non-binding letter of intent to Cohen outlining the terms of the "Trump World Tower Moscow" deal on October 13, 2015, The New York Times previously reported. Andrey Rozov, a Russian investor, had already signed it by the time Sater forwarded it to Cohen, and Trump signed the letter.

Weeks later, the two men exchanged a series of emails gearing up to celebrate the Trump Tower Moscow deal. In the emails, obtained by The Times, Sater bragged about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and told Cohen he would "get all of Putins team to buy in" on the deal.

"Our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it," Sater wrote, according to The Times.

Sater added: "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected."

Sater walked back his comments in an interview with BuzzFeed, telling the outlet he had exaggerated his relationship with Putin in order to secure the deal. On Friday, he told Hayes that his communications with Cohen were not meant to be "something surreptitious."

"It wasn't my deal," Sater said. "I put the deal together. I came through Michael Cohen. Part of the emails is, I've known him since I'm a teenager. So it's basically two old friends saying, hey, our guy can become president. We were excited."

He added: "It wasn't something surreptitious, it was two guys who knew each other for over 30 years excited that somebody they worked with was running for president." ... 760662.php