‘All criminal roads led to Trump Tower’: Christopher Steele noticed Trump-Russia corruption long before dossier
Christopher Steele (Telegraph)

The author of a notorious dossier linking President Donald Trump to Russia had been suspicious about the real estate developer and reality TV star long before the 2016 campaign.

Former British spy Christopher Steele was hired in summer 2016 to examine then-Republican presidential candidate Trump's ties to Russia, but his previous investigative work had turned up links between the reality TV star and corrupt oligarchs, reported The New Yorker.

Steele came across Trump's name almost immediately after leaving MI-6 and founding the consulting firm Orbis Business Intelligence nearly a decade ago.

The former intelligence officer's first client was England’s Football Association, which suspected corruption in the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup, and Steele eventually determined the Kremlin bribed FIFA voters so Russia could host the event.

Steele contacted the FBI in 2011 and asked them to investigate global corruption at FIFA, the World Cup's governing body, and the Justice Department indicted 14 people in 2015 on racketeering, conspiracy and corruption charges in the case.

One of the FIFA officials, Chuck Blazer, became an FBI informant and helped bring down the organization's longtime president, Sepp Blatter.

Blazer, who died last year at 72, rented an $1,800 a month apartment in Trump Tower, just a few floors down from the building's namesake.

There's no indication that Trump was aware of FIFA crimes, but he must have noticed Blazer -- who rented an apartment for his cats at Trump Tower and often walked around New York with a macaw on his shoulder.

Steele came across Trump Tower again after the FBI hired him to help investigate international gambling and money-laundering ring operated out of Trump's residential tower by Russian mobster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov.

Federal authorities eventually indicted more than 30 co-conspirators for financial crimes, although Tokhtakhounov fled and remains a fugitive.

However, Tokhtakhounov showed up in fall 2013 at the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and sat near his old landlord Trump -- who owned the contest at the time.

“It was as if all criminal roads led to Trump Tower,” Steele told friends, according to The New Yorker.