DOJ Abruptly Settles Russian Money Laundering Case – Nothing to See Here

July 13, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Congress, Russians, Trump

In May, two days before trial, Jeff Session’s DOJ abruptly settled a $230 million Russian money laundering case for a measly $6 million.  The case, United States v. Prevezon Holdings Ltd, alleged that Russians were using New York real estate to launder Russian money into the US.  To add just a little intrigue, the Russian attorney who discovered the fraud, Sergei Magnitsky, died in a Russian prison under mysterious circumstances.  Even more important, though, was that one of the attorneys representing Prevezon in the case was none other than Natalia Veselnitskaya…that’s right, that Natalia Veselnitskaya, who met with DJT Jr last summer promising dirt on Hillary.

But that’s not all.  The US attorney in New York who was going after Prevezon?  Correct. Preet Bharara, who Trump summarily fired earlier this year.  In describing the case before he was fired, Bharara said,

In 2007, a Russian criminal organization engaged in an elaborate tax refund fraud scheme resulting in a fraudulently-obtained tax refund of approximately $230 million  from the Russian treasury….

Members of the criminal organization, and associates of those members, have also engaged in a broad pattern of money laundering in order to conceal the proceeds of the fraud scheme. In a complex series of transfers through shell corporations, the $230 million from the Russian treasury was laundered into numerous accounts in Russia and other countries ….

PREVEZON HOLDINGS laundered these fraud proceeds into its real estate holdings, including investment in multiple units of high-end commercial space and luxury apartments in Manhattan, and created multiple other corporations, also subject to the forfeiture action, to hold these properties.

Why was Bharara fired?  We’ll never really know, but he was hot after Trump’s Russia connections and other cases involving him and his companies.

This case received little attention in May when the settlement happened, but in the wake of the firestorm around DJT Jr’s emails and meeting with Veselnitskaya last summer, Democrats in Congress are beginning to connect the dots and have now demanded disclosure from Jeff Sessions about this case and its connections to both Trump and DJT Jr.  Are all of these Trump/Russia intersections simply coinkidink?  I think not, but it will take persistence of the press and honest prosecutors to uncover it, for sure.

Drip, drip, drip.

And the Tide Turns

May 15, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: Comey Firing, Trump

Last week, beginning in the 24 blazing hours following Trump’s sacking of James Comey, the nature of Trump’s incumbency markedly shifted.  It started with the free flowing lies coming from every single one of his surrogates, then continued when the Big Cheeto threw that very same crew under the bus by contradicting his own talking points the next day after the firing.   Also, that same day, all of the networks, including Fox Noise, started using the word “lie”.  The words “chaos”, “turmoil”, and a dozen other descriptors of the Trump WH are now a regular part of network reporting.

Trump then threatened Comey with “tapes” of their conversations, and that was the moment mainstream GOP leadership started to part ways.  The Senate Intelligence committee has now asked the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to turn over documents related to Trump’s businesses.  Why is that significant?  FinCen enforces laws against MONEY LAUNDERING.  Over the years before Trump’s Atlantic City casino finally closed, it was caught several times money laundering.  This shift into serious investigation into his actually business dealings marks a change in emphasis from dark figures like Manafort, Stone, and Flynn to Trump.  That’s not insignificant. Referring to the request, Mark Warner, the ranking member on the committee, said, “[is] our effort to try to follow the intel no matter where it leads.”

There is now talk of Trump cleaning house and “rebooting” his administration.  Apparently, he’s furious with his staff for doing exactly what he’s told them to do, so the rumble is that he’s going to blow up the West Wing and start over.  Even if he does that, his problems are far from being over.  Money laundering? No one, including Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan can ignore that.  Mix in Russian money with that story, and Trump will finally be toast.

Fingers crossed here, but there is a clear shift of support away from Trump.  It can’t come too soon.