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.