aside The Connections Between Deutsche Bank, Russia And Our President, Part II

Preet Bharara

In the prior blog, I speculated that there was one possible reason that the highly esteemed US federal prosecutor Preet Bharara was peremptorily fired on 3//11/17, after having been asked by the republican President Donald Trump to remain at his current job in November, 2016.

As per a 3/13/17 Newsweek article by Matthew Cooper, Bharara has a successful record of prosecuting high powered icons like top Wall Street figures. “His pursuit of Steven Cohen, the SAC Capital Advisors founder, was one of the inspirations for the Showtime original series Billions. He also prosecuted famed pyramid schemer Bernard Madoff. On the political front, Bharara had ongoing investigations into the Cuomo administration and the campaign of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, and he convicted Sheldon Silver, the 11-term speaker of the New York Assembly. ”

Deutsche Offices in Hanover

It has been argued that an explanation for Mr. Bharara’s recent dismissal, could be related to him being in charge of federally prosecuting a case against Deutsche Bank, for having laundered Russian dirty monies via various banks, including the Bank of Cypress.

It turns out that Deutsche Bank is our president’s number one creditor. And the newly confirmed Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross was the vice-chairman of the Bank of Cyprus since 2014 but he has recently stepped down. When Mr. Ross stepped into a leadership role at this bank, the NY Times has reported that he made sure that the six Russian board members were gone within 6 months after he started.

But a familiar name popped up as I was researching the Bank Of Cypress. Remember that Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolovlev who purchased our president’s Palm Beach, Florida mansion in 2008 for $95 million dollars. It seems that in 2013, that this very same Russian Oligarch was the number one shareholder for the Bank of Cypress.

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Dmitry Rybolovlev (L)

Here is the rest of the story…

On 3/18/13 Linette Lopez of Business Insider penned the following report, “The Bank Of Cyprus’ Biggest Shareholder Is A Russian Oligarch With An Insane Real Estate Portfolio.”

Excerpts:

“Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev is the largest shareholder in the Bank of Cypress, with a 9.9% stake in the company.”

“He may have slept better this weekend when European officials announced that Cypriot banks would get a much-needed bailout, but on the condition that they accept a one-time tax on all deposits.”

Image result for photo of Dmitry Rybolovlev
Dmitry Rybolovlev

“A lot of those deposits are held by Russian citizens, or Russians who’ve become Cypriot citizens.”

“But of course, few of them are as fabulously wealthy with as much at stake as Rybolovlev, who caught Wall Street’s attention last year when he bought ex-Citi CEO Sandy Weill’s $88 million penthouse apartment for his 23 year-old daughter, Ekaterina.”

“According to Forbes, Rybolovlev is the 119th richest man in the world. He started out his career as a doctor, but abandoned that in 1990 to start Uralkali, a fertilizer company.”

“In 1996 he was accused (and acquitted) of plotting to kill a business partner and spent 11 months in jail a slight rough patch. He sold his stake Uralkali in 2010 for $6.5 billion, but still has an investment fund comprised mostly of industrial holdings.”

Nice garden: The apartment has an enviable view over Central Park

High end: The penthouse apartment boasts great views of Central Park and its own gallery
NY penthouse apartment

“Rybolovlev is also holding a $300 million for a Monaco penthouse called La Belle Epoque, a Hawaiian villa he bought from Will Smith for $20 million, and Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion, Maison de L’Amitie, which he bought for $95 million in 2008.”

On 3/9/17 Alexandra Clough and John Pacenti of Cox penned an article for the Tampa Bay Times, “Why did Russian oligarch pay so much for mansion owned by Trump?”

Excerpts:

“Why did a Russian oligarch pay now-President Donald Trump $95 million for his Palm Beach mansion?”

“In 2008, Dmitry Rybolovlev bought the Palm Beach mansion owned by Trump for $13 million more than the most expensive Palm Beach mansion sale up to that moment. It’s been almost a decade since the sale, but the transaction is newsworthy again as new questions surround contacts between members of Trump’s administration and Russian government officials.”

“Last week, a Rybolovlev spokesman said his client, who made his fortune in fertilizer potash, purchased the former mansion at of 515 N. County Road for his family’s trust.”

Palm Beach Home

“The property was acquired for investment purposes by the Rybolovlev family trust, as was clearly stated at the time of the purchase in 2008,” according to Brian Cattell, a NY-based spokesman for Rybolovlev.”

“But this is not what Rybolovlev’s representatives said in 2008, when Rybolovlev purchased the 62,000-square-foot mansion formerly known as Maison de L’Amitie, or House of Friendship.”

“In 2008, Rybolovlev characterized the purchase as a company investment: “This acquisition is an investment in real estate by one of the companies in which I have an interest,” Rybolovlev said at the time through a spokesman for Uralkali, the fertilizer company he previously owned.”

“Rybolovlev added that he didn’t plan to live in the United States.”

“Nonetheless, he went ahead and paid an exceptionally high, $50 million premium to Trump, then a real estate tycoon and reality show host, for a property he never sought to live in, not even on a part-time basis.”

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“It was a Rybolovlev entity, County Road Property LLC, that bought the property. Its ownership subsequently was transferred to a trust.”

“In addition to the mansion intrigue, Rybolovlev and Trump recently have drawn attention in another peculiar way.”

“Federal Aviation Administration records reviewed by the Palm Beach Post and other news outlets have tracked Rybolovlev’s private plane to cities where Trump has traveled, during his campaign and into his presidency.”Related image

In October, for example, Trump appeared at a campaign rally in Las Vegas. Rybolovlev’s plane arrived in that city an hour after the campaign event started.”

“A month later, FAA records show Rybolovlev’s plane, an Airbus 319, also landed in Charlotte, N.C., 90 minutes before Trump’s plane arrived. Trump was scheduled to host a campaign event there that day — Nov. 3 — five days before the presidential election.”

“The latest juxtaposition of Trump’s and Rybolovlev’s aircrafts occurred last month, the weekend of Feb. 10-12, when the oligarch’s plane landed at Miami International Airport while Trump was at Mar-a-Lago entertaining Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.”

“Cattell said none of the conjectures about his client are true, including stories of the men perhaps having rendezvous before or after the election. Trump has said he’s never met Rybolovlev, who was represented by a real estate broker in the mansion sale.”Image result for photo of Dmitry Rybolovlev

“We are aware of a number of rumors circulating but none of them has any basis in fact,” Cattell said. “Mr. Rybolovlev has never met Donald Trump.”

There has been speculation by Rachel Maddow that Deutsche Bank was involved in the financing of the 2008 sale of the president’s Palm Beach home to the Russian oligarch for the inflated price of $95-$100 million dollars (valued at $60 million dollars), to help him pay off a loan. However, I have not been able to verify this.

Although, I was not able confirmed Rachel Maddow’s theory, the timing could not have been better for Mr. Trump. In 2008, he sued Deutsche Bank to get out of $40 million in personal loans he’d borrowed to build Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, arguing the financial collapse was an unexpected “act of God,” that negated his duties to repay the loan.

Notes of President’s ties to Deutsche Bank (Source: 3/3/17 DailyKos):

Deutsche Bank is Trump’s biggest creditor. [Guardian]. Deutsche Bank also recently laundered 10 billion dollars for Russian oligarchs. [dfs.gov]. Because the bank continued to loan to Trump after he brought a frivolous lawsuit against it, [Guardian], many suspected that the bank facilitated transactions between Trump and Russian plutocrats.  [Guardian]. However, Deutsche Bank’s own internal reviews allegedly found no ties between the accounts of Trump & Russian oligarchs. [Guardian]. ”

Image result for photo of Dmitry Rybolovlev“Trump’s Personal Account:  Trump is a long-standing customer of Deutsche Bank, which lent him at least $2.5 billion since 1996. [Atlantic]. As of 12/22/16, Trump owed the bank around $300 million dollars, making the bank his biggest creditor. [Guardian]. “

“Investigation into Trump’s Account and Russian Oligarchs: According to two sources, Deutsche Bank has conducted a “close internal examination” of Trump’s account for suspicious dealings with Russians and found nothing. [Guardian]. Skeptics want the bank to appoint an independent auditor. [Guardian]. “(There’s been no notation of an audit of the Bank of Cypress.)

“Additional Information: Josef Ackermann ran Deutsche Bank when it laundered Russian money. [Motherjones]. After leaving Deutsche Bank, Ackermann became chairman of the Bank of Cyprus in 2014, which had just been bailed out by Wilbur Ross. [Motherjones].  

2 comments

  1. Gronda, this is well done. There remain many questions. Conservative columnist David Brooks said it well two Fridays ago. When he filed for so many bankruptcies, Trump’s lenders became very shy to lend him more money, so he had to get money from somewhere. This explains an answer. On top of all of the denials and redenials, is this statement – Trump has said he’s never met Rybolovlev, who was represented by a real estate broker in the mansion sale. Yet, on two occasions their planes were on the same tarmac for a period of time.

    Since his history of lying warrants this next statement, I start out by not believing a word Trump says. The odds are in my favor. So, call me crazy, but I do not believe Trump has not met Rybolovlev. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      If anyone believes for a second that DT wouldn’t have done his very best to meet the rich dude who was buying his white elephant in Palm Beach just when the real estate market was in a downturn, then this person had to have voted for DT. Noone else would believes this tale.

      Ciao, Gronda

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