, 33 tweets, 12 min read
Trump Tower Toronto

💰The Financial Times investigation into Trump Tower Toronto

The Investigation revealed that the venture connects Trump with a “shadowy post-Soviet world where politics and personal enrichment merge.”

Background #Firtash #UkraineGate #RaiffeisenBank
“The tale of the Trump Toronto illuminates what it means for the US to have a president whose business model has long depended on exchanging his family name for money with a murky past, no questions asked.”

“Trump signed up to the Toronto project in 2001, alongside Ritz-Carlton and a little-known developer called Leib Waldman.

The project almost collapsed when Waldman was exposed as a fugitive fraudster & Ritz-Carlton pulled out.”

“But Trump pressed on.

Shnaider joined the venture in about 2003.

Over the years that followed, while Trump was trying and failing to have his mobster associate Felix Sater secure a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow.”

“Shnaider poured funds into the Toronto skyscraper.

All the while, his steel mill was becoming embroiled in Putin’s efforts to project RU’s influence beyond its borders — a strategy that would eventually expand to include meddling in the 2016 US elex.”

“Employing 50,000 people, the Zaporizhstal steel mill is among Ukraine’s biggest industrial operations.

It lies just 150 miles from the Russian border.”

“In the years before Putin’s 2014 invasion, Russia waged an economic incursion in eastern Ukraine, securing industrial assets either directly or through sympathetic oligarchs.”

In May 2010, Shnaider received a call from Shyfrin in Moscow.

Shyfrin told him that buyers acting “on behalf of the Russian government” wanted to buy their Zaporizhstal stake and that he was coming “under pressure” to sell.

“Shnaider said Shyfrin told him that Moscow regarded buying the Zaporizhstal mill as “politically strategic”.”

“Shyfrin wrote that a top Russian official told him “in very clear terms” to proceed with the deal, hinting that, if he did not, his Russian assets would be in jeopardy.”

Additional Background:

Canadian Businessman Alex Shnaider, Eduard Shyfrin and Midland Resources Win Legal Battle Over Russian Oilfield Investment

The deal was to be financed by VEB, the Russian state-owned bank that was then chaired by Putin.

It serves as a financial arm of the Kremlin, sometimes even more, such as when a Russian spy in New York used a job as a VEB banker as his cover.

Russian Banker (Evgeny Buryakov, a/k/a “Zhenya,”) Sentenced In Manhattan Federal Court To 30 Months In Prison For Conspiring To Work For Russian Intelligence

Fun Fact. Evgeny Buryakov tried to recruit (Male-1) aka Carter Page as an intelligence source for Russia, as he appeared keen to make money in Moscow.

There was a drawback: The source—whom the FBI called “Male-1”—was something of a dimwit. 😂😂

I digressed back to the story

“Corporate filings for the Cyprus & BVI companies to which Midland sold its Zaporizhstal stake strongly suggest that VEB itself put up the entire purchase price & ended up with control of Midland’s stake in the steel mill.”

📌So in effect, Shnaider and Shyfrin’s deal was with the Russian state itself.

Midland received $850m for its stake, $160m more than the amount that Shnaider and Shyfrin had been offered for the steel mill by Rinat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest oligarch.

🔑Side Note: Manafort intended for Kilimnik to give the polling data to Renat Akhmetov & another Ukrainian oligarch.

🔑But Akhmetov's denial leaves open the possibility that the Trump campaign data made its way to others in Ukraine or Russia.

Fun fact: In 2005 Rinat Akhmetov hired Paul Manafort, Trump’s future campaign chairman, as an adviser.

💰Rinat Akhmetshin💰

Attended the notorious June 2026 Trump Tower meeting.

Oops, I digressed , back to the story:

“The documents show that of the $160m in extra cash from the Kremlin-backed buyers, $50m would cover a termination penalty owed to Akhmetov, $10m would be a sweetener for Midland...”

🔑”And $100m would need to be sent, via shell companies in Cyprus and other circuitous routes, to what Shnaider called the “introducers” who arranged the deal.”

“The man who set up the sale, according to Shyfrin’s witness statement, was Igor Bakai. 
Bakai is a well-known figure in both Kiev and Moscow.”

“Ihor Bakai served in senior positions in Naftogaz Ukraine’s state gas company and the presidential administration before fleeing for Russia during the 2004 Orange Revolution.”

🔑Naftogaz lies at center of TeamTrump’s #UkraineGate shenanigans

“The new (2017) Ukrainian government accused Ihor Bakai of embezzlement, but the Russian authorities declined to send him home and he set up in Moscow as a business fixer.”

2017: Russian investigators have charged Ihor Bakai, the former head of Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz, with embezzling $12 million from the company Metalloinvest Limited,

🔑But in 2010, according to Shyfrin’s witness statement, Ihor Bakai was “well connected politically at the highest levels” and fronting a deal that the Kremlin was very keen to see done. 

🔑”The most pressing question was what became of the $100m commission?

🔑Was a transaction that ultimately saw millions flow to Trump facilitated by the illicit enrichment of Russian officials?”

“Shyfrin acknowledged that this “substantial” commission “may appear unusual compared to western-style business dealings.

However, while doing business in Russia and Ukraine, Midland paid various commissions, as it was common practice.”

“Crucially, Shyfrin added: “I did not even know if the commission was to be purely for [Bakai]” or also for “additional recipients” who Bakai represented.”

🔑”Given that the ultimate backer of the deal was the Kremlin, that raises the possibility that money passed from Trump’s business partner to Russian officials.”

🔑”There appears to be no dispute in the documents that Shnaider signed off on the $100m payment on the understanding that it was heading for representatives of the Kremlin’s interests.”

🔑”That 100M payment was part of a series of transactions that generated millions for the backers of the Trump Tower Toronto venture — a project that, in turn, made millions for Trump.

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