Donald Trump

Report: Trump’s Failed Toronto Hotel Was Propped Up by Russian Money

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

You may be familiar with the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto. We discussed it several times here during the 2016 election because the hotel was mismanaged into bankruptcy and the property was sold off.

According to a new report from the the Wall Street Journal, it's possible the hotel may have never been built in the first place if it hadn't received an infusion of cash from a Russian state bank that funneled money through an anonymous investor to Trump's Russian-Canadian business partner.

VEB, a Russian state-run bank under scrutiny by U.S. investigators, financed a deal involving Donald Trump’s onetime partner in a Toronto hotel tower at a key moment for the project, according to people familiar with the transaction.

Alexander Shnaider, a Russian-Canadian developer who built the 65-story Trump International Hotel and Tower, put money into the project after receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from a separate asset sale that involved the Russian bank, whose full name is Vnesheconombank.

That may sound shady, but it's actually worse than that. VEB's history should and reportedly has raised red flags among federal investigators.

VEB has long been viewed by Russian analysts as a vehicle for the Russian government to fund politically important projects, including the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. A VEB executive in New York was sentenced to prison last year after pleading guilty to conspiring to act in the U.S. as a Russian agent without notifying U.S. authorities. [...]

VEB made headlines when it emerged that its chairman met with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner in December. A bank spokesperson has said VEB’s leaders met Mr. Kushner and numerous global financial executives as it developed a new strategy for the bank. Mr. Spicer has said Mr. Kushner’s meeting was part of his role during the Trump transition as the “primary point of contact with foreign government officials.”

It's remarkable to me that Trump's properties, and the properties he licenses his name to, have repeatedly gone bankrupt even though he's received an enormous amount of financing that wouldn't (and probably shouldn't) be available to others. He's had a lot of outside help and none of it has done much good.

When I say 'everything Trump touches turns to shit,' I'm not exaggerating. Even ventures that are gift-wrapped for him inevitably crumble under the weight of his monumental idiocy and hubris. Even being loosely associated with Trump appears to be a kiss of death that eventually strikes everyone and everything around him.

If you buy the idea (I do) that Trump is beholden to or behaves favorably toward the Russians because he's financially leveraged into oblivion, you may see this an example of that. It's increasingly clear that Trump was bailed out during the Great Recession era and multiple bankruptcies by Russian money. And you certainly don't need to take my word for it. Eric Trump's word can suffice.

  • mnpollio

    That Trump was/is a piss-poor businessman has hardly been a secret over the last few decades, which made the Trump-bots’ reasoning that they voted for him because he was such a “great, smart and successful businessman” so much BS right from the get go. Even accepting that the government cannot be run like a corporation, Trump as a businessman has been an albatross around the necks of every business he has stamped his scummy name to.

  • Badgerite

    Follow the money. It leads right to Vladimir Putin.
    trump is and has always been a failed businessman whom Russia has propped up because he has so little character or integrity that Russian intelligence figured they could perhaps use him to infiltrate economic and political power structures in the United States someday.

    • Aynwrong

      Had to comment. The Russians couldn’t have pulled this off if they hadn’t had the proper environment to work within. Or more specifically, a receptive audience. A party of Republican voters who had willingly consumed decades worth of bile, venom and propaganda from Fox News and AM talk radio to the point that they were perfectly primed for manipulation by a hostile foreign power.

      Those decades of conservative media propaganda also helped create a party of elected officials willing to enable this breathtaking corruption and treasonous behavior the whole way.

      • Badgerite

        Special mention to Paul Ryan who clearly was aware of the money trail and choose to ignore it because granny starving and killing kids with diabetes or cancer is of the highest priority to him as an American and as a Christian.

  • Scopedog

    When I say ‘everything Trump touches turns to shit,’ I’m not exaggerating. Even ventures that are gift-wrapped for him inevitably crumble under the weight of his monumental idiocy and hubris. Even being
    loosely associated with Trump appears to be a kiss of death that eventually strikes everyone and everything around him.

    Yep. And the media should have focused on this last year during the campaign, they should have asked hard-hitting questions related to this. A few did. But too many others–including on the Left–were only into this:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/27ebde744d73f910c9b450ad74297392d8a297cc5fb23bc0166c80ea96d14a72.gif

  • muselet

    Eric Trump, according to James Dodson: “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”

    Out of the mouths of boobs …

    –alopecia