Felix Henry Sater, a Russian-born American real estate developer with allegedly deep ties to the Russian mafia and the Russian government, is now cooperating in an F.B.I. investigation into an alleged international money-laundering ring, according to a report in the Financial Times Thursday morning.
Sater, former managing director of NYC-based real estate company Bayrock Group LLC, is believed by authorities to have channeled “dirty money” from wealthy Eastern Europeans into numerous U.S. real estate investments, including apartments in Trump Soho.
In a sworn deposition from 2008, Sater said he would pitch Trump business deals on a “constant basis,” reports Rebekah Entralgo in ThinkProgress.
While at Bayrock, Sater was able to strike up a business partnership with President Trump, from the company’s offices in New York’s Trump Tower, and in 2005 brokered an exclusive deal with Trump to develop a property in Russia.
That deal later fell through, but in 2007, Bayrock Group became a partner in Trump’s SoHo property.
“A prosecutor once called Sater… “the key to open a hundred different doors.” Many were wondering now whether he could unlock the truth about Trump and Russia,” says Andrew Rice in New York Magazine.
Sater is also a convicted racketeer with ties to the Mafia, U.S. law enforcement, and intelligence agencies both foreign and domestic.
Now, his shady real estate deals have apparently become part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia, according to recent reports in The New York Times and Bloomberg.
"…Believe me, it ain’t anything as small as whether or not they’re gonna call me to the Senate committee.” Oh? https://t.co/Aq1Y7xDIWj
— John Schindler (@20committee) August 15, 2017
Sources close to Sater, say that he has told his family that he is preparing to go to prison and that Mueller’s investigation may have already uncovered shady transactions involving him and the Trump organization, according to Paul Wood in the Spectator.
Rumors that Sater could be talking with law enforcement about the sale of Trump condos to Russians investors have been swirling for months but gained steam when Sater himself hinted that he might be aiding Mueller’s probe in an interview with the New York Magazine earlier this month.
Trump, meanwhile, has repeatedly denied knowing who Sater is, insisting that all deals were carried out directly with Bayrock, not Sater.
Looks as though we’re about to find out who’s telling the truth.
Watch this interview with the BBC. Trump walks off the set when questioned about Felix Sater and his Mafia connections.