How Did Trump Pay for His Money-Losing Golf Club?

Adam Davidson: “We do know that, over the past decade, wealthy oligarchs in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere have seen real-estate investment as a primary vehicle through which to launder money. The problem is especially egregious in the United Kingdom, where some have called the U.K. luxury real-estate industry ‘a money laundering machine.’ Golf has been a particular focus of money laundering. Although the U.K. has strict transparency rules for financial activity within the country, its regulators have been remarkably incurious about the sources of funds coming from firms based abroad. All we know is that the money that went into Turnberry, for example, came from the Trump Organization in the U.S. We—and the British authorities—have no way of knowing where the Trump Organization got that money.”

“The goal of laundering money is to take the proceeds of a criminal activity—government corruption, tax fraud, drug trade, or many others—and to disguise its origin. Many oligarchs in the former Soviet Union who made their money by expropriating the state’s wealth want to move their money into a more stable nation with greater rule of law. This presents a challenge: how can one insert illegally obtained funds into a system that requires due diligence? The answer, quite often, is to use shell companies to disguise the flow of funds. Although we cannot say that Trump, himself, knowingly engaged in money laundering, we do know with certainty that much of his business over the past decade was in the industries most known for money laundering, in the locations most conducive to money laundering, and with people who bear the key hallmarks of money launderers.”

FavoriteLoadingSave to Favorites