MOSCOW/MIAMI — During the presidential campaign in 2016, Donald trump has consistently denied any business ties with Russia.
Since the inauguration of his rhetoric became only tougher: “If to speak about me, I don’t own anything in Russia, — said trump at a press conference at the White house on February 16. I have no credits in Russia, I have no transactions in Russia”.
But these deals have representatives of the Russian elite, are actively buying real estate in trump’s buildings in the United States.
As the investigation Reuters, seven high-rise buildings the brand of trump in Florida bought the property at least 63 people with Russian passports; the total cost of the purchased real estate a minimum of 98.4 million dollars.
Information about transactions Reuters reporters received from public sources, Orbis database of Bureau Van Dijk company, interviews with apartment owners and realtors. Among home buyers — people with extensive political connections. For example, a former top Manager of the Federal Agency Spetsstroy — company, to erect buildings for the Russian military and intelligence services (at the moment the Agency is in the process of liquidation).
Another apartment owner — President of Saint-Petersburg investment Bank, the third co-owner, specializing in real estate development, investment and wholesale electronics.
Also among home buyers luxury in the skyscrapers trump has regional politicians and businessmen. One of them posted on social networks sharing photos with biker Alexander “Surgeon” Zaldostanov, who are under U.S. sanctions for their part in the annexation of the Crimea.
However, no evidence of illegal actions on the part of President trump, his company, engaged in real estate, or his business partners have been identified; members of the inner circle of Russian President Putin among the owners of the apartments there.
The White house issues Reiter on real estate transactions was forwarded to the Trump Organization; Alan Garten, General counsel of the organization, he said that the study of business relationships trump with Russia inappropriate.
“I can say that it is excessively overblown media story, said Garten. — I work in this company and in the course of her transactions.”
The Reuters investigation showed that the owners of at least 2 044 703 real estate listings in seven buildings of the brand trump is a limited liability company (LLC) that do not specify in the documents the names of the real owners. As a result, the number of Russian property owners can be more.
During the investigation, Reuters reporters analyzed the property of the state of Florida: it has a high concentration of “trump skyscrapers”, and the laws of the state make access easier to the registry of property owners. In the resort town of Sunny Isles, who studied Reuters reporters, built six multi-storey buildings trump (in total, Florida seven similar buildings). In addition, about 1 200 20 837 inhabitants of Sunny Isles born in Russia (the last census).
Trump’s company advertises seven buildings in Florida on its website. The exact figure of the income of Donald trump from real estate in Florida is not known.
The contract for the construction of six of the seven corporate skyscrapers improved planning trump concluded with local developer Gil Désert in 2001. House management, under a licensing agreement, assumed the Deserts.
In an interview with Reuters, the developer said that sales of property at the initial stage amounted to $ 2 billion — a sum that trump received a Commission. The developer refused to disclose the size of the Commission, referring to the obligation not to disclose information. In the Trump Organization, also declined to provide Reuters a detailed information.
Head of the investment Fund vnz Daniel Libenson told Reuters that the Trump Organization received 25 thousand dollars for the use of the license for each of the 180 objects Trump Hollywood from his investment. According to calculations by Reuters, trump’s company in the amount received $ 4.5 million.
Despite the fact that trump does not receive a Commission from resale of the property, the popularity of buildings in Florida is for the benefit of his company.
“If the brand will gain momentum, trump will continue to boast that his brand is better Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis or any other, says Désert. — The matter is in it.”
According to Edgardo, Defortuna, leading agent real estate in Miami, Commission of the trump of the amount of the initial sales could be from one to four per cent standard numerals for similar development projects. In this case, trump was able to obtain from 20 to 80 million dollars.
According to the Declaration, submitted during the presidential campaign in 2016, trump continues to receive income from one of the buildings located in Sunny Isles. According to desera, the future President received from $ 100 thousand to $ 1 million license fees from the hotel and the hotel complex Trump International. According to the documents, Donald trump does not receive income from seven buildings in Florida and the Trump Hollywood building in Hollywood.
Reuters reporters said about the impending investigation of Russian investment in real estate brand trump opponents of the American President from the Democratic party of the United States. The interlocutors Reuters from the party once again stated about the necessity of disclosure of tax reporting trump.
“Denying private investment in Russia, trump almost said nothing about the Russian financial investments in your business, told Reuters Adam Schiff, a member of the intelligence Committee of the U.S. house of representatives. — That should worry all Americans, and his refusal to publish the tax statements must be regarded with skepticism — including, for this reason”.
Devin Nunes, the head of the Committee of the Republican party, did not respond to a request for Reuters on comments.
THE RUSSIAN ELITE
The study of transactions for the purchase of real estate in trump’s buildings allows us to understand how wealthy citizens of modern Russia prefer to invest their money.
One of the buyers-the Russians was Alexander Juzvik, in 2010 together with his wife Natalia Yurina bought an apartment No. 3901 in the complex Trump Palace in Sunny Isles for 1.27 million dollars, according to data from the register of real estate rights the state of Florida. According to the website of the estate Agency the apartment has a total area of about 195 square meters, three bedrooms and panoramic Windows.
From 2013 to 2016 Husvik was a top Manager of the Russian state Agency Spetsstroy — under the Ministry of defence, the company built, including military installations.
Among the projects the Federal Agency listed on the Agency’s website spaceports “Plesetsk” and “East”, factory Almaz-Antey, the administrative building of the main Directorate of the General staff of the GRU and the building of the airborne troops command. Main office № 1, which was led by Uzbek, led construction work at the FSB Academy, built munitions storage facilities in the Novgorod region and the building Corporation MIG. At the moment, according to an announcement from the site of Spetsstroy, the Agency is in the process of liquidation, its powers transferred to the defense Ministry.
According to the newspaper Izvestia, in 2014, the FSB initiated a criminal case of embezzlement during the reconstruction of the plant Moskvich, involvement in which was checked Alexander Utvika.
Contact Svikom Reuters failed. In the center of public relations of FSB has not responded to questions by Reuters. The representative of the Federal Agency announced that Uzbek left the company in 2016.
The law on civil servants requires company executives to disclose information about their assets and income. In posted on the website of Spetsstroy of the Declaration on incomes and property of Alexander Utvika and his wife is mentioned only Russian property.
Another Russian owner of an apartment in the trump building — Andrey Truskov, founder and co-owner, OOO Absolut Group: holding company, specializing in the sale of household appliances, real estate and Finance. The group has development projects in Moscow, London and new York; in the field of wholesale trade of electronics and household appliances company is the largest in Russia, told Reuters the representative of the holding. The overall financial statements, the group did not disclose.
Truskov bought an apartment No. 1102 in Trump Hollywood in Sunny Isles beach in 2011 for $ 1.4 million. The apartment has an area of about 280 square meters 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, according to real estate site..
In a telephone interview with Reuters Truskov confirmed the purchase of apartments in the building of trump in Florida. According to the businessman, the price of this property was comparable to the cost of three-room apartment in Mytishchi. “It’s warm in Florida, the sun 360 days a year. A good place to buy,” said Truskov Reuters. Flat, said Truskov, was purchased by him for personal purposes and has nothing to do with the business.
Apartments in skyscrapers trump also bought wealthy residents of St. Petersburg, hometown of President Putin.
One of them — Alexey Ustaev, President of St. Petersburg Bank of Viking — one of the first commercial banks established in Russia after the Soviet collapse.
Active contributor, the banker Ustaev helps orphanages; in addition, he is President of the chess Association of the city. Banking and charitable Ustaev has received commendations and certificates from the Russian Ministry of sports and the government of St. Petersburg, says Alexey Ustaev biography on the website of the Bank.
According to the state of Florida, in 2009 Ustaev bought an apartment No. 5006 with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms in the complex Trump Palace in Sunny Isles for 1.18 million dollars in cash. Two years later he bought another apartment in the complex Trump Royale for $ 5.2 million.
In a written response to questions from Reuters Ustaev announced that it has bought an apartment in Miami for personal reasons, but refused to talk about her family’s business in the United States.
“I live in Russia, work in Russia and travel abroad in the interests of the business or on vacation,” wrote by e-mail Ustaev.
The Chairman of the Board of Directors and co-owner of Eastern mining company Oleg Misevra is also the owner of a property in a high-rise trump. Graduated from Kharkov military school of rear Ministry of internal Affairs of the USSR and, by his own admission, a former policeman, Misevra has long and successfully engaged in the coal business — from 2000 to 2004 he was President and co-owner of SUEK (Siberian coal energy company).
In 2010 at the plenary session of the Interregional conference of regional branches of party “United Russia” Misevra for the first time appealed to President Putin with a proposal on the modernization of the Sakhalin energy system (in this region are the main assets of the Eastern mining company). In 2016, during the Second economic forum on the island of Russian Misevra appealed to Putin with a request to grant Sakhalin port of Shakhtersk of the status of a free port. Putin promised “to think over this idea.”
Controlled Misevry Corporation Swiss Residence Aliance Inc in 2010 he purchased the penthouse No. 1 in Trump Hollywood over the 6.75 million dollars. The total area of six-room two-storey apartment of over 700 square meters. Minerva did not respond to a request for comment.
Some Russians who bought apartments in buildings trump has achieved success not only at home but also in the United States.
So, one of the owners of real estate in Florida — former member of the State Assembly (Kurultai) of Bashkortostan Vadim Gataullin.
In 2011, Gataullin by a registered Florida company VVG Real Estate Investments LLC bought an apartment in Trump Hollywood in 3.45 million dollars. Five years later VVG sold the apartment for $ 4.1 million dollars was registered in Delaware company. The owner of the company in the state registers is not specified.
In early 2012, Gataullin bought the second apartment, No. 2701, in the same building. The cost of the apartment, according to the real estate registry of the state amounted to 920 thousand dollars. A few months later Gataullin sold it for $ 1.1 million to a couple from Venezuela.
The native of Bashkiria and the son of former Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic, Gataullin was a member of the State Assembly of Bashkortostan in 2013-2015.
As a Deputy Gataullin had to submit a Declaration of income and assets, told Reuters the representative of the Kurultai. Posted on the website of the Parliament of the Declaration on the income gataullina over 2013 second apartment in trump’s building, which at that time was owned by the Deputy, is not mentioned.
Gataullin voluntarily handed over the Deputy mandate in 2015, wrote a statement on early resignation, told Reuters in Kurultai.
Gataullin has not responded to Reuters requests for comment sent to his company in Bashkiria.
Recently Gataullin is actively investing in the Miami vicinity. His company VVG Real Estate has spent at least $ 28 million for the purchase of land and buildings in Broward County in 2012-2016. In 2015-2016, the company sold six properties in Miami-Dade, a profit of $ 238 USD 400 reads the registers of the state.
VVG also bought the license to operate a small Motel near the coastline in Hollywood. The staff told Reuters that Gataullin “appears and disappears” and, apparently, is in Russia. The Secretary of the holding company gataullina told Reuters on March 17 that he is not in Russia.
Other buyers in America has developed not so successfully. Among them — Pavel Uglanov, a businessman, in 2010-2011 worked as the first Deputy Minister of industry and energy of Saratov region.
Uglanov bought an apartment No. 3704 in the Trump Hollywood complex for of 1.82 million dollars in 2012. Two years later he sold the property with a total area of about 315 square meters with three bedrooms for 2.85 million dollars.
Uglanov unsuccessfully ran in the Saratov city Duma in 2006 and 2011. The second time he was elected as a candidate from the party “United Russia” — the Russian party of power.
After leaving the regional government in 2011, Uglanov with his wife Anastasia moved to Florida. Later the couple divorced. In an interview with Reuters in his apartment in Miami Anastasia said that the ex-husband never talked about the reasons of moving.
“I don’t know what the man in the head,” she said.
Uglanov in Miami, opened an automobile gas station Niko Petroleum, which later sold the business failed. Later, he founded the company, engaged in Charter ship transportation, and trucking firm. Both companies experienced financial difficulties.
In the US uglanova no connections, which he possessed in Russia, and he doesn’t understand how to do business in America, said his ex-wife.
In late August, Uglanov posted a Facebook photo in which it is withdrawn together with Alexander “Surgeon” zaldostanov, the leader of Pro-Kremlin of the bike-club “Night wolves”; the leader of the motorcycle club came under U.S. sanctions because, according to us authorities, members of the club stormed the building of naval forces of Ukraine and a gas station during Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Himself “Surgeon” in an interview with Russian media, the fact of participation in the assault was denied. The representative of the motorcycle club “Night wolves” was not able to quickly answer questions from Reuters.
Zaldostanov was a confidant of Putin in the 2012 election and has received the President’s medal “For returning Crimea”. Uglanova in a Facebook post dated August 23, 2016; the picture was taken in Balaklava, in the Crimea.
In a February telephone interview Uglanov confirmed that he bought the apartment, asking why reporters are interested. He said that the purchase was made for personal reasons, refusing to answer further questions. “My personal life does not concern you,” said Uglanov Reuters, adding that already “has returned to Russia”.
A SPECIALIST IN RUSSIAN
In the opinion of the partner of the trump projects in Sunny Isles beach Gil Deser, construction of buildings in Florida is a great success for Sunny Isles, the family of desera and family of Donald trump.
Donald trump four times, checked the construction of skyscrapers in 2001-2011; he examined the apartment, when they were ready to sell, told Reuters Deserts and confirmed a former employee of his company. Trump personally approved the appearance of buildings and apartments, said Désert.
“His people are very monitored the quality of the construction, told Reuters Deserts. They have been here once a quarter to check how it goes. They wanted to make sure that we are able to earn.”
According to desera, in 2008, when the U.S. housing market collapsed, buyers who have made only a Deposit, got the 900 apartments in the buildings of trump. The next few years Désert worked at a loss — to pay off creditors. While the apartment was not sold out, himself, Donald trump has not earned anything.
In a time when developers cut prices, the main buyers were foreigners, most of them citizens of countries in South America, as well as a small number of Russians and citizens of former Soviet countries, told Reuters Désert and local agents for the sale of real estate.
According to Tanya Zweier, realtor, whose clients-the Russians bought apartments in the complex trump many of the buyers were businessmen, whose investments are concerned, including Canada, USA and Russia.
“They were buying for cash,” said Zwayer.
By early 2011 the building of the trump has started to make a profit, the tenants paid off the final payment for the purchased apartments and Deserts have invited Donald trump to commemorate this event a party. Gil Deserts recalls, even then, trump told him that he plans to run for President.
Donald trump, Gil Désert and his father Michael to the applause of residents and local businesses have burned a stack of papers. In the video, filmed during the event, trump is smiling, joking and communicating with the public.
“When, during the filming of the Pepsi ad with Michael Jackson hair on fire, I was with him. It was a nightmare, — said trump. Now I’m sitting next to this fucking flame, and if my hair will lighten up — I’m broke”.
One of the main assistants of desera and trump in the sale of apartments in new buildings, was an immigrant from the USSR Elena Baronova. A native of Uzbekistan, moved to the US from Tashkent in the late 1980s, the home Baronova worked in the Komsomol was the Soviet “Society of friendship with foreign countries”. In the United States Baronova, founded the travel Agency that brought Russian tourists in Miami.
Having got acquainted with Elena, Michael Désert invited her to work in a family Corporation. In the end, energetic, Baronova was the head of the Department on work with clients in the company of desera, sales at Trump Grande and headed his own Agency for the sale of real estate. According to desera, in search of potential buyers Elena went to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Paris and London.
In total, she sold the Russians the apartment in the amount of two million dollars. In 2014, Baronova was diagnosed with leukemia. A year later she died.
“Helen was very popular and meant a lot to Russian — says Désert. — No one was able to replace it”.