Paul Manafort quit the Trump campaign over his murky links to Russia. Now he's under fire. Could he make a deal and reveal all?
By Askold Krushelnycky
Russian money-laundering will be a major focus of FBI investigations into links between Donald Trump’s associates and Russia as I suggested on Reaction weeks ago.
The FBI director James Comey admitted last week that the FBI had been investigating links between people in Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia for many months. Now sources with US intelligence experience (but not from within FBI personnel working on the Russian links) are confident money-laundering will be a priority of the FBI investigation.
Investigators from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network will likely collaborate. Our sources indicated that even before Trump’s inauguration the overarching connection between Trump and Vladimir Putin was not Kremlin blackmail or some weird ideological affiliation but money.
Russian individuals and entities may have used Trump’s property empire, perhaps without his knowledge, to launder dirty cash into legitimate western financial systems, thereby rescuing Trump from a series of financial disasters, including bankruptcy.
A desire not to damage a good business relationship could also explain Trump’s puzzling refusal to criticize Putin despite Russia’s covert meddling in US elections, military aggression and atrocities in Syria and Ukraine.
After Russian police used violence and arrested more than 1000 protesters demonstrating against their government’s corruption last Sunday (March 26) Trump remained silent.
In contrast, he has made outlandish accusations that US intelligence agencies, former President Barrack Obama and British intelligence at GCHQ have spied on him or “wiretapped” his building to deflect attention from the ties with Russia that seem to surface daily.
Money-laundering of dirty Russian cash by many Western banks, financial institutions and businesses, including Wall Street and the City of London, has been a shoddy open secret for years.
In March, there were allegations that British institutions had laundered some $30 billion. Last month the UK and US fined Deutsche Bank, which happens to be intimately connected with Trump, $630 million for Russian money-laundering.
Several years ago, the FBI discovered, at a property where Trump himself was living in Manhattan, a Russian money-laundering operation being masterminded from apartments owned by Russians. As many as 30 of them were arrested.
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Askold Krushelnycky is a British citizen and freelance journalist whose parents were refugees from Ukraine. He is the author of “An Orange Revolution – A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History”, which was published in 2006 by Random House/Harvill Secker. He is working on a second book that will focus on the turbulent events in Ukraine since the fall of 2013, when mass demonstrations turned into revolution and, ultimately, the present conflict between Russia and Ukraine.