May 24, 2017

The role of casinos in the Trump investigation

Salon - You may have heard that the congressional investigative committee members have requested that the Treasury Department’s financial crimes enforcement network, or FinCEN, provide any information it has on Trump, his businesses, his top officials and campaign aides. CNN received access to 400 pages of this FinCEN information on Trump’s casino operations in Atlantic City and found that the Trump Taj Mahal casino broke money-laundering rules 106 times in the first year and half of operation and paid nearly half a million dollars in fines in just one settlement agreement in 1998. The network reported as follows:
According to a dozen anti-money laundering experts, casinos often run into these problems. But getting caught with 106 violations in the casino’s opening years is an indicator of a serious problem, they said. The violations date back to a time when the Taj Mahal was the preferred gambling spot for Russian mobsters living in Brooklyn, according to federal investigators who tracked organized crime in New York City. They also occurred at a time when the Taj Mahal casino was short on cash and on the verge of bankruptcy.
One might assume that this is ancient history. But consider this February 2015 Fortune story, published just four months before Trump descended from his golden escalator to announce his candidacy:
The parent of Trump Taj Mahal, one of Atlantic City, New Jersey’s struggling casinos, has settled U.S. government charges that it violated federal laws designed to thwart money laundering, court filings show. Trump Taj Mahal agreed to the assessment of a $10 million civil penalty by the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, according to a proposed consent order filed on Tuesday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.
The violations in that case went back to 2003.

Casinos are an obvious choice for money launderers. So is real estate, for that matter. And Trump has been closely associated for years with the kind of people who dabble in such behavior, including Russian mobsters. It’s entirely possible that Trump’s panic over the Russia investigation doesn’t stem from any collusion with the Russian government over the election but rather from his possible involvement with Russian mobsters and oligarchs involved in money laundering and other criminal activities.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is penny ante stuff compared to our post-Buckley political system. The direct bribery of politicians laundered through campaign finance results in the generation of trillions of dollars of revenue, tax relief and contracts. Arguably the best resume for political office in casino capitalism is to have run a casino.