The New York Times exclusive which broke late Tuesday gave us an inside look at President Donald Trump/’s taxes. Overall, it details what many have long suspected: Trump is a terrible businessman who lost in excess of $1.2 billion over the course of a ten-year span, from 1985 to 1994.
But there’s an odd little nugget hidden in that Times report on the president’s taxes: Trump reported $52.9 million in interest income in 1989, an astronomical amount that far outpaced any other years, and yet the Times said they were unable to identify exactly how Trump had managed to earn so much interest in one year, especially since he’s been notoriously cash poor for the majority of his career. So what did he invest in that would have allowed him to reap such an enormous sum?
As ThinkProgress notes in a new report on Trump and the Trump Organization’s finances, Trump has long been suspected of laundering money through his corporation. Money has been washed via real estate transactions for decades:
“Over the past two decades, investing in luxury real estate has become one of the go-to means of laundering dirty money. It’s happening almost everywhere real estate is appreciating quickly: Manhattan, Paris, Malibu, London, Miami, and Hawaii are all targets, as well as everywhere from Boston to Buffalo to Boise. The ability to purchase high-dollar real estate via anonymous shell companies has helped an untold number of crooks and kleptocrats wash their ill-gotten gains and protect their wealth from prying eyes.”
Trump, who has been only too happy to allow even the most questionable investors — (i.e. Felix Sater, a man with ties to Russian organized crime) — to be a part of his business dealings as long as they’re willing to bring plenty of money:
“A number of foreign ruling families and officials turned to apartments and buildings linked to Trump’s companies to safeguard their funds. Some are still in power. Some have since been deposed. But their involvement in Trump-linked properties raises any number of questions about potential influence they may have on the president, given his continued involvement in the Trump Organization. While Trump and his associates have denied that the existence of such financial involvement has had any undue influence over his work as president, plenty of others — including congressional Democrats — believe otherwise.”
Later in that same ThinkProgress investigation, we are introduced to the various kleptocrats and other shady figures who have invested money in Trump properties, and they come from countries such as Haiti, Indonesia, and several Russian republics.
All of this suggests that the $52.9 million “interest” Trump reported was actually dirty money he gladly laundered in exchange for a cut of the loot. And that is money laundering no matter how you cut it.
No wonder Trump is so paranoid about anyone seeing his taxes. Following the money always leads to the bigger crimes and the criminals who committed them.