In 2006, a new building was opened in Panama that carried the name of Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower. The massive structure — one of the tallest in Latin America — was hailed as the harbinger of an expanding economy in Panama, and it also gave the Trump Organization a footprint in a booming part of the world.
But now, thanks to NBC News, we know that Trump Ocean Club was built with funds provided by numerous shady characters, including drug dealers and the Russian mafia. As Richard Engel reported Friday evening on MSNBC:
“An NBC News investigation into the Trump Ocean Club, in conjunction with Reuters, shows that the project was riddled with brokers, customers and investors who have been linked to drug trafficking and international crime.”
It should be noted that Trump didn’t actually develop the tower in Panama:
“Thanks in large part to the hit NBC television show ‘The Apprentice,’ the Trump name was recognized all over the world and the Panama deal was structured to capitalize on that brand. For this deal, the Trump Organization would license its brand, operate the hotel and sell its expertise in managing the building, receiving a cut of every condo sale.”
Funding From Drug Dealers, Mobsters
In order to get the needed funding for the project, it was necessary for those involved in the project to seek out some unconventional means of raising capital, including selling condo units to members of Russian organized crime. Former Trump ocean salesman Alexandre Ventura told NBC:
“Ventura says about half of the units he sold at the Trump Ocean Club were to Russians. To help handle them, Ventura went into business with several Russian-speaking real estate brokers, who he admits have had checkered pasts, including one named Stanislav Kavalenka. According to Ontario court documents, Kavalenka was charged in Canada with a number of offenses, including ‘compelling’ and ‘procuring’ women to engage in prostitution. The case was withdrawn when the two women failed to appear in court to give evidence against him.”
Trump Ocean Club Was “Ivanka’s Baby”
Perhaps most damaging for Trump in light of the current investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is the fact that the main contact person from the Trump Organization for the Trump Ocean Club was his daughter, Ivanka. The project was even described as being Ivanka’s “baby.” That would suggest that she too knew that money for the Trump Ocean Club was invested by drug traffickers and Russian mobsters.
The report from NBC ends by noting:
“Miguel Antonio Bernal, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Panama and a campaigner against corruption, said many buildings in Panama City were built specifically to be vehicles for money laundering; the Trump Ocean Club fits the mold.
‘There are more than 500 buildings like this,’ he said. ‘But this – the difference of this – is that this has the name of the actual president of the United States. And he keeps the name here.’”
All of this will provide even more evidence for Robert Mueller and his team.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org