Now that Donald Trump is fending off his exploding Russia scandal from all sides, the news has gotten much worse for him. Despite his ongoing insistence that he’s had virtually no business dealings with Russia, it’s now been exposed that the Trump International Hotel and Tower was secretly financed by a Russian government controlled bank – and that the deal was personally approved by Vladimir Putin himself.
That’s the word from the Wall Street Journal, after it dug into the financial history of the Toronto based Trump-branded hotel (link). The newspaper has reported that Donald Trump owned a stake in the hotel at the time, a claim which he now denies, even though it’s easily verified based on records at the time. But his team is acknowledging that the hotel is managed by the Trump Organization. Worse, the bank involved has direct ties to Vladimir Putin, and Trump’s own family, and a Russian spy ring in New York.
VEB bank is so thoroughly controlled by the Russian government that at the time of the Trump hotel financing deal, Russian President Vladimir Putin was the chairman of its supervisory board and was personally approving on all major deals. This means that Putin himself was the one who personally signed off on the funding of the Trump Toronto project. VEB is also the bank that Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner met with at Trump Tower in New York during the transition period, which is suspected to have been an attempt at securing additional financing for Kushner’s Manhattan office building.
And then there’s the Russian spy ring in New York, which included one spy whose cover was a day job at VEB bank. That spy ring was busted in part by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara – whom Donald Trump ended up firing after he took office.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report