The Trump White House is claiming victory in the wake of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's indictment on money laundering charges on the grounds that the indictment did not specifically mention Manafort's work in the Trump campaign in 2016.
However, the nature of the charges against Manafort serves as a basis for establishing links between President Donald Trump and the Russian mob.
Here are the five biggest links that connect Trump, Manafort and Russian organized crime operations.
- The indictment against Manafort alleges he was laundering money he earned from his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Specifically, the indictment states that, "in order to hide Ukraine payments from United States authorities, from approximately 2006 through at least 2016, Manafort and Gates laundered money through scores of United States and foreign corporations, partnerships and bank accounts."
- Long before he ran Trump's campaign, Manafort lived in an apartment in Trump Tower. Manafort first purchased an apartment in Trump Tower in 2006, which WNYC notes was right around the time that his lobbying firm signed a $10 million contract with a Kremlin-linked Russian oligarch named Oleg Deripaska -- the same man whom Manafort agreed to give personal briefings about the state of Trump's presidential campaign to in 2016.
- In 2013, the FBI obtained a search warrant to eavesdrop on what it believed to be a massive Russian money laundering operation -- and which also happened to be running out of Trump Tower. As ABC News reported earlier this year, the investigation into the operation led "to a federal grand jury indictment of more than 30 people, including one of the world’s most notorious Russian mafia bosses, Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov."
- Another figure allegedly involved in the Russian money laundering business is Felix Sater -- a longtime Trump associate. Sater’s financial relationship with Trump dates back to at least 2003, when the Trump Organization rented out office space to Sater’s former company. Even though Trump initially tried to distance himself from Sater after news of his criminal past came to light in 2007, he subsequently tapped Sater in 2010 to scout out real estate. This is notable because Sater is reportedly cooperating with an investigation into money laundering that used American properties to help hide money.
- Sater's company, Bayrock Capital, also operated out of Trump Tower -- and may have used Trump properties to launder Russian money. A Bloomberg report from earlier this year reveals that a former Bayrock insider, Jody Kriss, now claims that Sater's firm was all an elaborate money laundering operation. In 2007, Trump teamed with Bayrock to secure funding for the Trump Soho hotel via FL Group, an Icelandic bank that was regularly used by Russians to launder money.