Felex Sater has been a long time cohort of the republican President Donald Trump, dating back to at least 2005. Around 2007, they were both connected to the development and sales for Trump SoHo, the condo-hotel concept did not pan out. Only about a third of the units were ultimately sold, and one of the project’s lenders foreclosed on the rest, although the property remained open and became a popular luxury hotel, managed by Mr. Trump’s company.
“Mr. Sater left the property development company, Bayrock, after the news of his criminal background was reported which included one case of battery in a bar room fight where he did jail time, and in 1998 he was arrested for collusion with the Italian mafia to commit exchange frauds and money laundering.
As per a translation from Russian text, a 7/11/16 Forbes article by Ilya Shumanov, Lily Dobrovol’skaya and Julia Pavlovskaya, “Felix Sutter (same as Felix Sater), known as son of Michael Sutter (Sater or Satter), aka Michael Sheferovsky. Sheferovsky was in 1980-1990, a prominent figure in the Russian-speaking organized crime in New York and, according to media reports, with famous ties to the Italian mafia.”
By the time Mr. Trump sat for a deposition in a lawsuit in November 2013 (involving the SOHO property), it was clear he no longer saw the benefit of knowing the Bayrock executives. He claimed that he barely knew Mr. Arif: “I mean, I’ve seen him a couple of times; I have met him.”
Mr. Trump continued, “As for Mr. Sater, “if he were in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.”
Remember that mid February 2017 story about a Ukraine “peace proposal” hand-delivered to the White House by Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen. Mr. Cohen had dropped the proposal off in a sealed envelope at the office of then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The blueprint presented a way for President Trump to consider lifting sanctions against Russia in exchange for a withdrawal of pro-Russian forces from eastern Ukraine along with a long-term lease of Crimea to Moscow. Guess who was the middleman for this Ukrainian deal? The answer is Felix Sater.
Now the New York Times is breaking another story starring this same gentleman, Felix Sater.
Here is the rest of the story…
On August 27, 2017, Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman of the New York Times penned the following report, “Trump’s business sought deal on a Trump Tower in Moscow while he ran for president.”
“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 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 to the United States from what was then the Soviet Union when he was 8 and grew up in Brooklyn.”
“Trump never went to Moscow as Sater proposed. And although investors and Trump’s company signed a letter of intent, they lacked the land and permits to proceed and the project was abandoned at the end of January 2016, just before the presidential primaries began, several people familiar with the proposal said.”
“In recent months, contacts between high ranking and lower level Trump aides and Russians have emerged. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then a U.S. senator and campaign adviser, twice met Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.”
“Donald Trump Jr. organized a June 2016 meeting with campaign aides Jared Kushner, campaign manager Paul Manafort and a Russian lawyer after the president’s eldest son was promised the lawyer would bring damaging information about Hillary Clinton as part of a Russian government effort to help the campaign.”
“Internal emails also show campaign adviser George Papadopoulos repeatedly sought to organize meetings with campaign officials, including Trump, and Putin or other Russians. His efforts were rebuffed.”
“The negotiations for the Moscow project ended before Trump’s business ties to Russia had become a major issue in the campaign. Trump denied having any business connections to Russia in July 2016, tweeting, “for the record, I have ZERO investments in Russia” and then insisting at a news conference the following day, “I have nothing to do with Russia.”
“Discussions about the Moscow project began in earnest in September 2015, according to people briefed on the deal. An unidentified investor planned to build the project and, under a licensing agreement, put Trump’s name on it. Cohen acted as a lead negotiator for the Trump Organization. It is unclear how involved or aware Trump was of the negotiations.”
“By the end of 2015, Putin began offering praise in return.”
“He says that he wants to move to another, closer level of relations. Can we really not welcome that? Of course we welcome that,” Putin told reporters during his annual end-of-the year news conference. He called Trump a “colorful and talented” person. Trump said afterward that the compliment was an “honor.”
“Though Putin’s comments came shortly after Sater suggested that the Russian president would speak favorably about Trump, there is no indication that the two are connected.There is no public record that Trump has ever spoken about the effort to build a Trump Tower in 2015 and 2016.”
“Trump’s interest in building in Moscow, however, are long-standing. He had attempted to build a Trump property for three decades, starting with a failed effort in 1987 to partner with the Soviet government on a hotel project.”
“Russia is one of the hottest places in the world for investment,” he said in a 2007 court deposition.
“We will be in Moscow at some point,” he promised in the deposition.”
“Sater was involved in at least one of those previous efforts. In 2005, the Trump Organization gave his development company, the Bayrock Group, an exclusive one-year deal to attempt to build a Moscow Trump Tower. Sater located a site for the project — an abandoned pencil factory — and worked closely with Trump on the deal, which did not come to fruition.”
“In an unrelated court case in 2008, Sater said in a deposition that he would personally provide Trump “verbal updates” on the deal.”
“In the same testimony, Sater described traveling with Trump’s children, including joining Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. on a trip to Moscow at Donald Trump Sr.’s request.”
“They were on their way by themselves, and he was all concerned,” Sater said. “He asked if I wouldn’t mind joining them and looking after them while they were in Moscow.”
“Trump has repeatedly tried to distance himself from Sater, who served time in jail after assaulting a man with the stem of a broken margarita glass during a 1991 bar fight and then pleaded guilty in 1998 to his role in a organized crime-linked stock fraud. Sater’s sentencing was delayed for years while he cooperated with the federal government on a series of criminal and national security-related investigations, federal officials have said.”
“During that time, Sater worked as an executive with Bayrock, whose offices were in Trump Tower, and brokered deals to license Trump’s name for developments in multiple U.S. and foreign cities. In 2010, Trump allowed Sater to briefly work out of Trump Organization office space and use a business card that identified him as a “senior adviser to Donald Trump.”
“Still, when asked about Sater in 2013 court deposition, Trump said: “If he were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” He added that he had spoken with Sater “not many” times.”