Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston is now reporting that an international human rights organization has requested that prosecutors in The Netherlands open a criminal investigation into several multi-billion dollar money laundering schemes that were facilitated by Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and a law firm where he used to work.
According to Johnston, the goal of the complaint is to examine how much money stolen from a former Soviet satellite benefitted Trump. The president is named 16 times in the complaint. He said that:
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“The complaint describes one of the biggest fraud cases ever in which some of these money flows ultimately ended up in the Netherlands because Dutch service providers helped to cover up the money laundering acts.”
Details uncovered so far show that the illegal money laundering network began in the former Soviet satellite of Kazakhstan. It is estimated that $10 billion was stolen through embezzlement.
The complaint states that:
“This money was subsequently circulated by two Kazakh oligarch families via a worldwide network of shell companies. A number of these companies were established in the Netherlands. The money was subsequently invested in real estate projects in the United States and Europe, after which it was paid out as ‘profits’ via – once again – a network of shell companies.”
And they are clearly saying that the “real estate projects” involved in the illegal scheme are associated with President Donald Trump.
The complaint also alleges that part of the missing billions was run through shell corporations in The Netherlands with help from the law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, where the president’s lawyer was a partner until 2016.
The complaint demanding a criminal investigation was filed by Avaaz, a global human rights organization in Washington which claims 48 million members. They have “issued an open call to prosecutors around the world to investigate the giant web of corruption that propelled Trump’s rise.”
The complaint was filed with the Netherlands Public Prosecution Service in Amsterdam. It uses information discovered by investigative journalists doing research through court records from several countries.
According to Johnston,
“the complaint is aimed at uncovering the full details of Russian money flowing to various Trump projects using so-called anonymous wealth companies. Those are shell companies created to hide the identities of the owners. Trump and his family are known to have received vast sums from shell companies and have bragged about how much of it came from people in Russia and other parts of the former Soviet empire. Trump contends the deals were all lawful and he has no knowledge of any money laundering.”
The $10 billion theft in Kazakhstan was discovered by CPA firm PricewaterhouseCoopers during an audit of BTA Bank, the country’s largest. There is an additional $300 million missing from Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.
Court documents have identified the suspected thieves as Viktor Khrapunov and Mukhtar Ablyazov, oligarchs with ties to both Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump.
According to Johnston:
“Trump has done business since 1983 with Russian oligarchs and wealthy former officials and business people in former Soviet satellites, including Kazakhstan, Georgia and Azerbaijan. A number of mobsters – American, Russian and others – live in Trump Tower apartments. The building has long been known to local, federal and international law enforcement as a nest of criminal residences.’
One known Trump associate, Felix Sater, is named in the complaint. He has worked for many years with Trump on real estate deals all over the world.
Sater is believed to be cooperating with special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating Trump for various financial crimes as well as collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia.
While the world waits for the findings of Robert Mueller’s probe to be released to the public, it will be interesting to follow the status of the new criminal complaint filed in The Netherlands. It appears that the global criminal enterprise of Donald Trump may soon come crashing down around him.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.
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