A Belarus-born businessman believed to be the source of salacious details in the Steele dossier once boasted that he helped sell luxury apartments to Russian clients for President Donald Trump.
According to a new Washington Post report, self-described real estate developer Sergei Millian maintained contact with Trump associates during the 2016 campaign and after the election, and even tried to get former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos to work for both Trump and Russia around the time of the inauguration.
Millian founded a trade group called the Russian American Chamber of Commerce in the USA, and he was invited in 2011 to take part in a Russian government-backed efforts to bring American entrepreneurs to visit Moscow, which the FBI suspected could have been linked to Kremlin intelligence.
His organization’s literature boasted of a relationship with Trump, and Millian says he helped sell apartments in the Trump Hollywood condominium tower in Florida.
“You can say that I was their exclusive broker,” Millian told the Russian state-operated news organization RIA Novosti in April 2016. “Back then, in 2007-2008, Russians by the dozens were buying apartments in Trump’s buildings in the USA.”
The interviewer asked Millian how often he spoke with Trump or his associates, and he said: “The last time was several days ago.”
Millian had his photo taken with Trump in 2007, at a Miami racetrack, and he claims he went to New York to meet with Trump’s then-attorney, Michael Cohen, and signed a contract to sell apartments for them in Florida.
Cohen has denied meeting Millian and offering a contract to sell Trump condos, and in 2017 he described the Belarusian businessman as a “total phony” with no substantive connection to the president or his business.
The former Trump Organization attorney has since pleaded guilty to various charges related to his work for the president, and he has agreed to cooperate with investigators.
Millian became an unwitting source for a dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele during the 2016 campaign, according to the Post.
In 2017, the newspaper reported that Millian told an associate in June 2016 that Trump had a long-standing relationship with Russian officials, who had been feeding the Republican candidate “very helpful” information about Hillary Clinton.
However, that associate reportedly passed along that claim — and salacious claims about Trump allegedly consorting on tape with prostitutes — to Steele, who had been hired by the GOP candidate’s political opponents to uncover his ties to Russia.