This is why I think Trump is doing more than tax avoidance.

This is from financials for the Aberdeen property. It's one page from one year, but tells a story repeated year after year.

I hope at least some stick with me (esp. @susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire )

1/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire The thing everyone reports is the losses--the shareholder (Trump) has lost more than £7M.

But the interesting stuff is the fixed asset value and the creditors--over one year.

Trump is all of them: he owns the asset, lends the money, owes the money, is owed the money.

2/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire We see the same process year after year. He lends himself millions, the asset value is increased by that same number of millions.

This happens in many years when he does no work on the property--no investment, no building.

It happened through the 2008 crash.

3/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire Aberdeen was collapsing from the overall financial crisis and the--locally--far worse collapse of North Sea Oil. Property values were shrinking.

Trump Aberdeen saw the same process--no development, but huge loans from Trump and huge increase in claimed asset value.

4/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire Those loans are actually spent. Here is Page 10.

You see: major outflows of cash for operations and capital. The cash on hand at end of year is only £94K.

Again--this happens in years when he spends no money on developing the course or resort.

5/

-
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire There's much more to say--each line here is fascinating.

But the overall picture is crystal clear: Every year, Trump lends millions to himself, spends all that money on something, and claims the asset is worth all the money he spent.

6/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire He cannot have spent all that money on the properties. We have the planning docs. We know how much he spent--it's far less than what he claims.

The money truly disappears. It goes from one pocket to another pocket and then the pocket is opened to reveal nothing is there.

7/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire A bit of this could be explained as tax avoidance or fraud. But he is going to enormous effort to falsify upwards the overall valuation of the property--the opposite of what he'd do if this was solely tax fraud.

8/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire Instead, this is a huge effort to mask a money pit as an appreciating asset--in other words, one he can't write off.

That is why I am skeptical of the idea that this is all his own money.

I have shown these docs to many accountants, lawyers, prosecutors, FBI agent, etc.

9/
Nobody has come up with a plausible legitimate reason for these accounting shenanigans. And all agree it's a bit ornate and not quite right for simple tax avoidance.

The most likely explanation is, of course, money laundering.

10/
Remember: these are the cleanest financials we have from the Trump Org. They are audited and made public because of UK rules.

So, whatever is going on here should be the least sketchy thing he's doing.

Please please please check my math and my analysis.

11/
You can do this at home.

Go to:
beta.companieshouse.gov.uk

search "Trump International Golf" and open the FULL ACCOUNTS for each year.

You see a clear trend:
From 2005 to 2010, the disappearing cash is relatively low--a million or two a year.

12/
Then it grows and grows from 2010 to 2016, far outpacing his actual spending.

Then, when he becomes president, it all stops. It just remains at its inflated value without the annual loan. Which is weird, ...

13/
The family was claiming to be preparing a massive investment and surely needed money for architects, designers, planning docs, lawyers, etc.

Why would he turn off this mechanism in 2017?

14/
I am blown away by the NYT reporters work. A great 40,000 foot view of the whole forest.

But you also have to look at each tree and see what is going on.

These financials are clear: this is not a golf business, it's a money disappearing business.

15/
I posted the wrong assets page on tweet 5. Here it is.

But, again, you can do all this at home. Free and sort of easy.

16/end
Oh, forgot to make the most obvious point:

If this is a money disappearing business and it is not only tax fraud, then he is making money disappear for somebody else and charging some sort of fee. Which might explain why a money-losing golf course pays huge fees to its owner.

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More from @adamdavidson

29 Sep
A response to the @susannecraig @russbuettner
@mmcintire and their new argument which they say might debunk my stories on Trump and money laundering.

It's in part 2:
nytimes.com/interactive/20…

A thread about why I am skeptical of their skepticism:

1/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire First off: they have, of course, done amazing work amassing these tax docs. As far as I can tell, they have done less work looking inside each deal. How could they examine hundreds of deal with the same level of scrutiny?

2/
@susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire Also, so far, they have not looked at these records through the eyes of money laundering. Any prosecutor will tell you that tax manipulation and money laundering are close cousins.

Lastly, they take his tax filings as accurate reflections of his income and spending.

3/
Read 13 tweets
28 Sep
Hey Dan,

I'm a fan, as you know!

But I'm skeptical that you are right about the wealth.

The deals I know best--especially the Sottish ones--are simply not worth the $70M plus you report.

They are illiquid--nobody would buy them.

They are unprofitable.

1/
He has been claiming a value that is impossible to justify by comps. Their actual realizable value is probably much less than he has put into them (if he is the one who put money into them).

2/
You might say: who cares about $70M or so when he has $2.5B.

But the Scottish and Irish properties are the only ones with publicly available audited financials. (They were weakly audited, tbf, but audited).

So, presumably, they are the closest to accurate.

3/
Read 6 tweets
28 Sep
Money laundering is simple and not, necessarily, a sophisticated crime.

It is, at base, story telling. Someone has a ton of dough they can't spend without raising questions. It's from drug money or corruption or whatever.

1/
Ozark and Breaking Bad explain all this well.

The person with the money arranges with someone to set up a sham business that can appear legitimate.

Typically, the business should be one that has imprecise value.

2/
Real estate, fine wine, art, etc, are great. You can justify whatever values you want.

New real estate development is especially good: tons of money flowing all over the world--for materials, designers, etc.

3/
Read 11 tweets
28 Sep
One theory on why the consulting frees are important:

- If Trump were buying golf courses for himself, hoping to generate revenue and build asset value, the last thing he'd want is to burden the project with unusually large fees for execs already on payroll who are heirs.

1/
- If, instead, Trump were buying properties for someone else, using his brand--such as it is--to mask the purchase, he'd need a way to charge a fee.

- He can't pay himself a fee for a property he owns. But he can, apparently, pay Ivanka wildly large fees.

2/
- In his more traditional Oligarch-facing work (Baku, Batumi, Panama, Vancouver, Toronto, Indonesia, etc), he was only a service provider, charging a fee.

- With the Scottish and Irish courses and Doral, he did something new. He [claimed to] spend his own money.

3/
Read 7 tweets
28 Sep
Some clear implications from the Trump Tax story:

- He blew through other people’s money. His dad’s. Then Mark Burnett’s. Plus loans.
- he starts blowing through the most money in 2011, when the known sources disappear.
- He had a new source of funds.

1/
- This new source had more money and seems to have put fewer restrictions on his spending.
- Only question for us as a nation: what is that new source of money?
- As I’ve written obsessively, 2011 is when he gets into business with the Mammadovs.

2/
- Soon after, he’s in business with the Agalarovs, flirting with Georgians and Kazakhs with ties to Putin.
- All of these groups are—between 2011 and 2016—known to be laundering money through golf courses.

3/
Read 5 tweets
27 Sep
Amazing reporting by @nytimes @susannecraig @russbuettner and @mmcintire on Trump's taxes

nytimes.com/interactive/20…

A few additional thoughts:

1/
@nytimes @susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire Everyone covering Trump's finances is aware of two things:
He is broke AND he is corrupt.
He is desperate and stupid.
This new reporting confirms the overall picture.

He is a stupid, unethical man who got a lot of dough from his dad...

2/
@nytimes @susannecraig @russbuettner @mmcintire And spend it foolishly.

When that dried up, he went overseas and did work with scoundrels nobody else would work with.

It is a shabby, pathetic story.

But it is also an important national security story.

3/
Read 4 tweets

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