- Apr 29, 2012
- Reaction score
- On an island. Not that one!
- Political Leaning
Just in time to go with the NYTimes story on years of tax evasion by Donald J Trump is a new book, Kleptopia: How Dirty Money is Conquering the World
The Kleptocrats’ Money-Laundering Middleman Who Did Deals With Trump
The terrifying true story of how kleptocrats—those who rule through corruption—are uniting, clandestinely fusing their business interests, and forming alliances.
From Budapest to Beijing, Harare to Riyadh, they have seized power and are busily guzzling their nations’ wealth. There is nothing they will not do to maintain control. Those who dare to cross them are massacred on the Kazakh steppe and brutalized during Zimbabwe’s sham elections; those who threaten to spill their secrets have their mouths permanently closed.
What they crave is legitimacy—for their money and their power. That means hijacking democracies, harnessing the rule of law to protect their own lawless fortunes and destroy their enemies’.
So they need people who can remove the stain from both by rewriting the past. They need middlemen who can move between these two worlds. Characters like the charming, mercurial Russian-born Brooklyn fraudster Felix Sater. He has the connections—connections that go all the way to the White House.
“Trump’s role would be to rent out his name. As the persona of The Apprentice had elided reality, that name had been reinvented as a success. For a percentage, Trump would append his personal brand to a skyscraper or a hotel. He would make ignorance his business: what one of those who handled the money called ‘wilful obliviousness.’ An architecture of shell companies would keep the money incognito, and if anyone did find out who it belonged to, provide plausible deniability for those who had received it. The projects could go bust—they usually did—but that wasn’t a problem. The money had completed its metamorphosis from plunder to clean capital.”
" In 2008, the Trump SoHo opened. It had cost $370 million. Another $200 million half-hotel, half-condo tower in Phoenix, Arizona, was supposed to follow, but was never finished. Nor was the 24-story tower in Florida. Still, both projects had usefully recycled plenty of money. The partners’ horizons widened. Felix Sater set off for Moscow with two of Trump’s children, Ivanka and Don Jr., to drum up a scheme for a Trump Tower in the Russian capital. For all their wilful obliviousness, Trump and his people showed a pretty clear sense of the sources of the funds: ‘We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,’ Don Jr. said in an interview published the day Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.”