On October 30, 2017, the FBI’s Special Counsel Robert Mueller III filed indictments against the republican President Donald J. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates. One of the twelve counts that were charged had to do with money laundering. On several pages in the indictment, there are listed several holding companies located in Cyprus over a 5+ year period from about August 2007-February 28, 2013.
There was an AP report which indicated that a Manafort-linked company received a $1 million payment in October 2009 from a mysterious firm through the Bank of Cyprus. The $1 million left the account the same day — split in two, roughly $500,000 disbursements to accounts with no obvious owner.
So while the Cyprus locations listed in the indictment do not specifically refer to the Bank of Cyprus, it has to be a factor in the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe. There have been reports that Paul Manafort banked at the Cyprus Popular Bank until 2012 when he closed all accounts subsequent to the bank questioning him about his money activities. But then Cyprus Popular Bank had its assets taken over by the Bank of Cypress in 2013. And it looks like Paul Manafort was continuing to transact business in Cyprus with a financial entity until the end of February 2013.
I am of the opinion that the Bank of Cyprus has to be a target of Mr. Mueller’s investigation because its tentacles seem to permeate throughout President Donald Trump’s and his surrogates’ finances. This is counter to the president’s frequently repeatedly claims that he does not have direct financial interests in Russia. These assertions are immaterial as outside of Russia, a favorite tool of its spy craft has been to co-opt unwitting foreigners as assets, by becoming financially entangled with them and/ or their businesses.
The U.S. president is no exception to this rule as he has had to rely for 2 decades on Russian monies.
The president managed to obtain the assistance of Russian monies to the tune of millions of dollars while he had been denied loans/ credit with US banks due to his past bankruptcy filings.
Here are a few disconcerting facts to demonstrate how the President’s behaviors fit all the descriptions of a Russian asset… (Note references to the Bank of Cyprus.)
1.) Deutsche has been our president’s largest creditor for about 2 decades. After 2009, Mr. Trump’s wealth manager at Deutsche Bank became Rosemary Vrablic who specializes in real estate lending.
2.) “Deutsche Bank has already been fined millions of dollars in January 2017 for laundering Russian dirty monies to the tune of $10 billion dollars via various methods and entities including the Bank of Cyprus.”
3.) “The head of Deutsche Bank during this dark period, Josef Ackermann became the chairman of the Bank of Cyprus in 2014.”
4.) “The largest shareholder of the Bank of Cyprus, Dmitry Rybolovlev is the same Russian oligarch who purchased the president’s Palm Beach home in 2008 for the inflated price of $95 million to $100 million dollars when it was appraised 5 years after purchase for about $60 million dollars.”
5.) “Around the time that the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased the president’s property in Palm Beach in 2008, the president was suing Deutsche Bank in 2008 over a $40 million loan that came due. He claimed that the 2008 downward spiral in property values, due to the US recession was as an “Act of God” which absolved him from having to honor this obligation. Somehow this whole incident was taken care of and Deutsche Bank has continued to loan the president monies.”
6.) Coincidentally, the newly confirmed US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross became the Vice Chairman of the Bank of Cyprus in 2014.
7.) The Bank of Cyprus has a lengthy history of laundering Russian dirty monies which had supposedly been corrected. However, a 2/2/17 EUobserver article by Andrew Rettman reports the following:
“Pieter Omtzigt, from the christian-democrat CDA party, put forward the criticism in a letter, on Saturday (January 30, 2017), to a financial crimes unit in The Council of Europe in Strasbourg.”
“Recent developments in Cyprus in relation to the Magnitsky case have shown the failure of Cyprus to apply money laundering legislation in practice,” he said.”
“This case is a litmus test for whether Cyprus is now really paying attention to proper controls or whether it is only paying lip service to recommendations.”
8.) In addition, the reason that the highly esteemed US prosecutor, Preet Bharara may have been fired by the White House in March 2017 after he had been promised he could continue in his position under the Trump administration, was because he had been in charge of pursuing a legal case against the Deutsche Bank for its Russian money laundering schemes.
And he also may have been fired because of a case involving the 2012 Magnitsky Act. In 2013, Mr. Bharara announced he would indict 11 companies, lead by a corrupt Russian bank named Prevezon, that was involved in Magnitsky’s investigation and part of the scheme to launder $230 million in Russia. These companies fought the legal charges for years with a team that included Natalia Veselnitskaya and thanks to their legal maneuvers, the trial date was delayed to the summer of 2017 when it was settled for pennies on the dollar.
The firm, Prevezon Holdings, was represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who was among the people who met during the presidential campaign with Donald Trump Jr. around June 9, 2016 at Trump Towers to collect negative data on Hillary Clinton.
Federal prosecutors in the US, claimed Prevezon laundered the proceeds of an alleged Russian tax fraud through real estate. Court records prove that Prevezon and its partner relied in part on $90 million in financing from a big European financial institution.
It was Deutsche Bank.
As per a 6/19/17 NY Times report, Deutsche Bank also had a “cooperation agreement” with the Russian state-owned development bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been swept up in the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election. And it had ties to VTB Bank, a far larger Russian bank facing sanctions in the United States and the European Union. ”
10,) As per a 3/30/17 NY Daily News report by Jason Silverstein, “A bank in Cyprus investigated several accounts tied to President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort for possible money laundering.”
“At least one of about 15 accounts associated with Manafort was used to take in millions of dollars from a billionaire supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBC News reported.”
“Banking sources said transactions from some of those accounts raised enough concern for the bank to open an internal investigation for potential money laundering.”
“Once the probe opened, Manafort shut the accounts (2012), the sources said.”
“Real estate experts said Manafort made several odd real estate transactions in New York City — spanning a period of 11 years — using tactics that resemble money laundering.”
“Using limited liability companies to buy real estate is not unusual or illegal — but large loans on properties bought with cash can often be a red flag, experts say.”
“The AP also revealed that Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire advancing Putin’s interests in 2005 (Oleg Deripaska).
“The AP reported last week that Manafort proposed an ambitious political strategy in a June 2005 memo that was based on work he had done in Ukraine. Manafort described how his plan could be used to influence politics in the US and Europe to the benefit of the Russian government.”