INVESTIGATIONS

Trump Made Millions of Dollars From Drug Money Laundering in Panama: Report

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President Donald Trump made tens of mil­lions of dol­lars in prof­its by allow­ing Colombian drug car­tels and oth­er groups to laun­der mon­ey through a Trump-affil­i­at­ed hotel in Panama, accord­ing to a new inves­ti­ga­tion by the orga­ni­za­tion Global Witness.

In the ear­ly 2000s, Trump was hav­ing finan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties and began sell­ing his high-pro­file name to real estate devel­op­ers around the world, the report said. One of these devel­oped Panama’s Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower.

The report said the drug car­tels pur­chased hotel units to hide the ori­gins of mon­ey earned through drug traf­fick­ing and oth­er crim­i­nal activ­i­ty, and Trump is esti­mat­ed to have earned tens of mil­lions of dol­lars from the deals.

Some observers are say­ing it is time for Congress to begin inves­ti­gat­ing the president’s finances and poten­tial con­flicts of inter­est.

This is inher­ent­ly a polit­i­cal prob­lem,” Alex Howard, deputy direc­tor of the Sunlight Foundation, told Newsweek. “The gov­ern­ment can inves­ti­gate a com­pa­ny, even the president’s com­pa­ny. The prob­lem here is that it’s about the pres­i­dent, and Congress is not hold­ing him account­able for what he has done in this con­text. They aren’t hold­ing hear­ings about the Trump Organization, and the pres­i­dent him­self is not being trans­par­ent.”

Ivanka Trump and the fugi­tive from Panama

The Sunlight Foundation has com­piled a list of what it claims are Trump’s con­flicts of inter­est: It num­bers more than 600 for the pres­i­dent and 1,100 for the first fam­i­ly.

The report said the Panama project is a text­book case of mon­ey laun­der­ing.

Investing in lux­u­ry prop­er­ties is a tried and trust­ed way for crim­i­nals to move taint­ed cash into the legit­i­mate finan­cial sys­tem, where they can spend it freely,” the report not­ed. “Once scrubbed clean in this way, vast prof­its from crim­i­nal activ­i­ties like traf­fick­ing peo­ple and drugs, orga­nized crime, and ter­ror­ism can find their way into the U.S. and else­where.”

In the case of the , accept­ing easy – and pos­si­bly dirty – mon­ey ear­ly on would have been in Trump’s inter­est; a cer­tain vol­ume of pre-con­struc­tion sales was nec­es­sary to secure financ­ing for the project, which stood to net him $75.4 mil­lion by the end of 2010.”


Numerous inves­ti­ga­tions have shown that Trump rarely looks into the peo­ple he hires or does busi­ness with. Instead, observers say he has a pat­tern of enter­ing into busi­ness deals with peo­ple sus­pect­ed of mon­ey laun­der­ing and cor­rup­tion. The busi­ness in Panama was an exam­ple.

One of the men involved in the scheme was David Eduardo Helmut Murcia Guzmán, who a U.S. court sub­se­quent­ly sen­tenced to nine years in prison for laun­der­ing mil­lions of dol­lars. Another was Alexandre Henrique Ventura Nogueira, who sold units at the Trump Ocean Club and lat­er admit­ted that some of the peo­ple he did busi­ness with were mem­bers of the Russian mafia.

Trump fam­i­ly mem­bers were alleged­ly involved in direct­ly man­ag­ing the Panama project.

The White House did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to request for com­ment.

Trump Made Millions of Dollars From Drug Money Laundering in Panama: Report

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