Though Donald Trump insists he wouldn't recognize Russian-born businessman Felix Sater even if they were sitting in the same room, his close work with Sater building Trump-branded buildings across the U.S. and the former Soviet bloc tells a different story. The Washington Post reports that during the six-year period that Sater, who was then an executive at Bayrock Group, worked with Trump, he often stopped into Trump's office, once flew to Colorado with Trump, and was even asked to escort Trump's children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, around Moscow.
Although Trump claims he didn't know it at the time he started working with him, Sater is a government informant with a criminal past. In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering as part of a $40 million stock fraud that involved members of the La Cosa Nostra crime families. He has been "accused by former business associates of threatening to kill them and praised by top government officials for information that has led to numerous mob convictions and national security gains," The Washington Post reports.
Though it's hard to say whether or not Trump was actually aware of Sater's criminal past — Trump says he knew "none" of it — he did maintain his ties to Sater even after The New York Times linked him to the mob and money laundering in 2007. Trump's lawyers asked Sater to testify in Trump's libel suit in 2008. After Sater left Bayrock around that time, The Associated Press reports that he was given office space and handed out Trump Organization business cards, identifying him as a "senior adviser to Donald Trump."
Read the full story on Trump's ties to Sater over at The Washington Post.