Ex-federal prosecutor says shady Russian money is keeping the Trump Organization afloat

Is President Trump beholden to Russian money?
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Amid all the intrigue and speculation over possible collusion between President Trump's campaign and Russian intelligence, big questions remain about Trump's business dealings with Russia — a mystery that might be solved if Trump released his tax returns. Trump has sent mixed signals about his business ties with wealthy Russians, saying in February he has "no dealings with Russia" or "loans with Russia," and in 2013 telling Real Estate Weekly after a meeting with potential investors in Moscow that he has a "great relationship with many Russians," especially "the oligarchs." Donald Trump Jr. also told Russian media in 2008 that "Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross section of a lot of our assets."

On Tuesday, USA Today looked at the "wealthy Russians and oligarchs from former Soviet Republics — several allegedly connected to organized crime," who have invested in Trump-branded real estate, basing the article on a "review of court cases, government and legal documents, and an interview with a former federal prosecutor." The review focused on "10 wealthy former Soviet businessmen with alleged ties to criminal organizations or money laundering," but the pertinent question now is whether Trump is beholden to Kremlin-linked Russian oligarchs.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.