First-time readers, the dialogue in this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020).  Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution.  More about Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1.  List and general description of entries to date.  Annual assessment if Revolution plausible.

Note: most characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations.  Profile of characters.  You’ll catch on quickly.  Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s Washington office following meeting with Greenie and JC.  Series with JC and Greenie starts Entry #244 and ends Entry #257. This conversation starts #258.

092615_2031_Characters7.gifGelly:  “Ok, you’ve had your break.  Now tell me, if Trump was such a bad financial risk, why would the Russians…or anyone for that matter…lend him money?”

Jordan:  “Simple.  Lenders wanted to park money in a safe place.”

Gelly:  “I don’t get what you mean.  Trump’s a financial risk and investors want to park money in a safe place.  The two ideas are just the opposite.  Why not a bank?  What am I missing?”

Jordan:  “Put yourself in the shoes of say a Russian oligarch.”

Gelly:  “You mean like one of Putin’s cronies?”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Your term, not mine…but yes, like one of Putin’s cronies.  And Putin allowed you to run a ‘private’ company in Russia.”

Gelly:  “By ‘private’ you mean one of the companies that used to be run by the state.  Like some aluminum mining company?”

Jordan:  “Great example.  Your company’s product, aluminum, can be sold worldwide.”

Gelly:  “So the Russian company sold aluminum…and I assume for a profit.  Didn’t that profit automatically flow back to the company?”

Jordan:  “A portion of the profit, and maybe in some cases all the profit could have gone back to the company.  More likely a portion of the profit was skimmed off the top and distributed to Putin and his cronies.”

Money-clip-artGelly:  “Then what did they do with the money?  Kind of hard to hide if it all the money is inside Russia.  How’d they get the money out of the country?”

Jordan:  “Let’s say the aluminum was sold to a company in Brazil.  To pay for the aluminum, the Brazilian buyer told its bank to wire funds to the Russian company’s account at some international bank.  The international bank split the funds, depositing a portion to the Russian aluminum company and a portion to a different account.”

Gelly:  “The other account being for the benefit of Putin and cronies.  That’s legal?”

Jordan:  “Not if the bank knows what’s going on.  The account for Putin and cronies was probably under some corporate name.  Call it Russian Trading Company, LLC.”

Gelly:  “So the international bank justified transferring the money to the account for Putin and cronies because the Russian Trading Company supposedly earned some type of commission, or whatever…right?”

Jordan:  “You’re catching on fast.”

gangster-cartoon-clip-art-540pxGelly:  “This skimming goes on for a while and, voila, the Russian Trading Company has this big pile of money.  To protect themselves against a regime change and a new gang of thieves, I mean officials, Putin and company want to hide the money someplace.”

Jordan:  “If you had a pile of cash in a bank and wanted to park in a safe location, what would you invest in?”

Gelly:  “I suppose buy real estate in some safe country, like England or the US.  I’d buy real estate in maybe London, New York, Florida…maybe Washington.”

Jordan:  “And say in the last 15-20 years you’re a foreign national looking to buy real estate, what name might come to mind?  Who might be able to offer you property that you could purchase?”

Trump Tower SignGelly:  “Gee, let me think hard about that one.  None other than ‘Mr. Straight-Shooter Real-Estate-Developer’ himself, the Donald.”

Jordan:  “Bingo.”

Gelly:  “I understand the idea of buying real estate…but what about the risk?  Trump’s financial track record in real estate was marginal at best.”

Skimming MoneyJordan:  “If you obtain money illegally…like skimming it off the top…then you realize some portion might be lost as you try to make the illegal money appear legitimate.  Let’s just say that when dealing with Trump, Putin and cronies knew they might lose some of their ill-gotten gains.”

Gelly:  “So even if half the money was lost, they’d still end up with hundreds of millions…probably billions of dollars.”

Jordan:  “Remember that famous Trump real estate deal in Palm Beach?”

Duck with MoneyGelly:  “You mean that place he bought for about $40 million and sold not long after for $95-$100 million?  That one?”

Jordan:  “Yes.  And who was they buyer?”

Gelly:  “I don’t remember his name but some Russian oligarch.  The Russian paid Trump way too much money.  However, even if the buyer sold the property for what Trump paid for it, the oligarch has $40 million of illegal money stashed in the US.  At the same time, the Donald made a $60 million profit for doing nothing…well, turning a blind eye.”

Jordan:  “The Donald had to know what was happening with that deal.  Nobody would pay $100 million for a $40 million piece of property.  Now, for the Russians and the Donald, multiply that deal many time over.”

Golf FlagGelly:  “So that’s why, at least according to Donald Junior, the Russians were a major source of capital when Trump bought all those golf courses…like the one in Scotland…and Charlotte…and Mar-a-Lago…and Bedminster, NJ…and the list goes on and on.”

Jordan:  “And had the Donald and/or Junior kept their mouth shut, all would have likely been OK.  No one really started to probe the source of financing…at least until he became a presidential candidate.  Why no probe?  Because the funding ‘partner’ on the documents was some innocuous-sounding LLC.  Plus with the multi-layered corporate structures it was very hard to trace lenders and ownership.”

Gelly:  “I can’t believe I’m going to say this about Trump, but foreign financing of golf courses was not illegal per se was it?”

Jordan:  “No.  And you know what.  Had Trump not become president, it’s highly unlikely many of the financial shenanigans would have come to light.  But when he became president…and when he kept denying any association with Russia, he opened his kimono.”

Gelly:  “I understand that part.  Go back to the banks for a minute.  Surely they knew it was illegal to divert money from these Russian companies. C’mon.”

Jordan:  “I agree and most banks stayed away from those kinds of deals.”

Gelly:  “But apparently some banks were on the take…just like Putin and cronies?  Which banks?”

Jordan:  “In Trump’s case, two banks stood out.  Deutsche Bank and Bank of Cyprus.”

Cypress BankGelly:  “That Bank of Cyprus name rings a bell.  Wasn’t one of Trump’s cabinet members connected with that bank?”

Jordan:  “Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross was a major investor and vice-chairman of the Board.”

Gelly:  “Talk about blatant disregard for ethics and the law.  Trump flaunted his relationship with the Russians and then appointed what could have been his chief money-laundry guy to a cabinet post.”

Jordan:  “Don’t be so hard on Wilbur Ross.  His supporters claimed he cleaned house at Bank of Cyprus by getting rid of the Russians.”

Gelly:  “Maybe so, but given all the other misinformation that came out of the Trump White House, claims like that are hard to believe.  In any case, I want to understand what took so long to get Trump out of office.”

Money TrailJordan:  “You mean why didn’t the investigations just start by following the money trail rather than spend time on all the other issues?”

Gelly:  “Yes, seems like the best way to the truth is just follow the money trail.  Now, I need a break.”