Trump’s Russian ties part II

Last week, after switching from CNN and then FBI director Comey being kind of grilled by a few Senate members, I landed in the middle of a Belgian Kazakhstan scandal being covered by one of the Belgian tv stations. The next switch continued with Kazakhstan – and other countries and people – being linked to Trump’s business empire.
The documentary was part I of two. Part two was aired yesterday. This Dutch two-part series was based on information, acts, evidence unearthed by media in the US, UK and elsewhere.

It was an eye-opener and left me yet again with so many questions, including how on earth the Republicans ever thought Trump might be good for their party – let alone the American people and their country.

Part two started with an interview. In this CNN interview, Trump told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, he had many dealings with the Russians. Trump states Russians are “hard and tough”. The excerpt of the interview took place before Trump was elected and Russia became one of his headaches.

Next, the investigating journalists focused on one of Trump’s business associates: Lev Leviev. He is not just a business associate of one Donald Trump, but also of one Jared Kushner. In fact, Lev Leviev is a personal friend of – need one ask – Vladimir Putin.

As the journalists were Dutch, they focused on a few Dutch ties between Leviev, Trump, Kushner. Some of the ties run through shell-companies in Amsterdam. One is the Dutch jewelry chain Siebel. After it went bankrupt, it was bought by Russians, or rather a company owned by among others, one Leviev.

Unfortunately, though Potus 45 may be sitting less firm in his seat after getting rid of Comey, he remains firmly seated on his own tax forms. The Trump (and Kushner’s) tax forms would reveal much about the Trumps’ and Kushners’ business deals and interests.

What the Dutch journalists were able to show using facts and evidence: ties between the Jewish Chabad movement, Leviev, Kushner, Putin, Russian billionairs, Netanyahu and many others.

The journalists paid a visit to the oldest diamond firm in Amsterdam. Did they know who Leviev was, did they do business with him? A representative of the company kindly informed them that these days, everybody can google – so they prefer not to be associated or get involved with certain people, businesses, practises.

For the diamonds Leviev and companies deal in, are known to the world as blood diamonds. According to the documentary, this does not prevent Oprah Winfrey, Ivana and Ivanka Trump, and many others, from wearing diamond jewelry chosen and lent to them by Leviev … to promote his diamond jewelry.

The journalists followed the money, the diamond smuggling, business associates as far away as Hong Kong and North Korea. Business associates with close ties to the governments there, of course.

Following the money further, the journalists trace one of Leviev’s estate businesses in New York. AFI is headed by his daughter. Nothing wrong with having a daughter in charge of part of a business empire. Leviev’s daughter is a close friend of one Jared Kushner, who happens to be married to one Yvanka Trump. Kushner and Leviev’s daughter do estate deals.

These were just a few of the many ties and friends mentioned in the two-part-documentary.

As is common practice, the journalists notified the Trumps, Kushners, Levievs about their findings to offer them a chance to comment and rectify. Despite photos and documents proving differently, Trump denies knowing Leviev. Apparently, Leviev removed several photos of Trump and himself from his Pinterest account. This was all the comment the journalists received.

Zembla: the dubious friends of Donald Trump
US Pasific Standard: Trump and his advisors are tied to Leviev, January 2017
US Strategic Culture: Jared Kushner, April 2017
US New York Times: Bribe cases, a Jared Kushner partner, and potential conflicts, April 2017
UK Independent: Israeli police ready to indict, April 2017


About Kate

Multilingual arts & culture journalist, blogger, columnist, writer and translator. Contributor to international (news) media. 2014 winning columnist Gentse Schrijversdagen, Gand, Belgium.
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