Letter: Connections to Russia? You decide

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, March 7, 2017

In 2006, Donald Trump bought a Palm Beach mansion at an auction for $40 million. In 2008, he sold it to a Russian oligarch, Dmitry Rybolollev, a Russian billionaire who owns a large part of the Bank of Cyprus, for $100 million. Rybolovlev had no interest in the house, never lived in it, and it is now being torn down. Why would Rybolovlev buy this particular property??

Deutsch Bank is believed to have helped Russian oligarchs launder about $10 billion dollars in money through their offices in Moscow, New York and, especially, Cyprus. Deutsche Bank has reportedly loaned more than $1 billion to Trump and his business partners. The last president of Deutsch Bank has now landed as chairman of the Bank of Cyprus. One vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus is Viktor Vekselberg, friend of Vladimir Putin. The other vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, and, reportedly, its single largest shareholder, is American Wilbur Ross, longtime friend of Trump’s who was just confirmed as secretary of commerce. Could he have had any part in this real estate transaction? If not him, who?

At about the time Trump sold his Palm Beach house to Rybolovlev, he was suing Deutsche Bank to try to get out of a $40 million debt he owed them for property he had bought in Chicago. The $60 million he netted on that sale to Rybolovlev would have handled that problem nicely.

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Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon/Mobil from 2006 to 2016 and recipient of “The Order of Friendship” from Vladimir Putin himself, has been appointed as secretary of state. As Exxon/Mobil CEO he signed a $500 billion deal with Russia to drill for oil in the Arctic. Obama placed sanctions on Russia for meddling in the Ukraine, nixxing the deal, but Trump will almost certainly lift those sanctions in hopes of cashing in on some of those oil profits.

Carter Page is a mid-level oil consultant who spent time in Moscow and a founder and managing partner of Global Energy Capital specializing in the Russian and central Asian oil and gas business. Trump at one point named him as foreign policy adviser to his presidential campaign. Why would Trump listen to or appoint such a person?

Paul Manafort ran Trump’s campaign from April 2016 until August 2016. He was a lobbyist for Ukrainian dictator Viktor Yanukovych, and has been accused of receiving $12.7 million in off the books payments from him. His daughter, Andrea, called her father and Trump’s relationship “the most dangerous friendship in America,” and said, “Don’t fool yourself. That money we have is blood money.”

President Trump said the Keystone pipeline would be made from American steel, but 40 percent of the pipeline has already been produced by Evraz in Regina, Saskatchewan. Evraz is controlled by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, close political associate of President Vladimir Putin’s and also a close associate of President Trump and his family. Abramovich’s wife, Dasha Zhukova, was Ivanka Trump’s guest at President Trump’s inauguration.

Lonna Gooden Van Horn