Senator wants a deep-dive into 10-year-old Trump real estate deal
The Senate Finance Committee’s top Democrat wants a deep dive into a 10-year-old real estate sale President Trump’s company made to a Kremlin-tied oligarch.
Sen. Ron Wyden has requested the Treasury Department fork over all documents related to the July 2008 sale of Maison de l’Amiti — a Palm Beach estate purchased by former fertilizer king Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Wyden (D-OR), in a letter dated Friday and obtained by CNN, says the President was in dire financial straits at the time and sold it for $30 million less than its appraised value.
“In the context of the President’s then-precarious financial position, I believe that the Palm Beach property sale warrants further scrutiny,” Wyden wrote to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin.
“It is imperative that Congress follow the money and conduct a thorough investigation into any potential money laundering or other illicit financial dealings between the President, his associates and Russia.”
Trump scooped up the western Florida estate out of bankruptcy in 2004 for roughly $41.4 million, and sold it to Rybolovlev four years later for about $95 million.
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The tycoon, a longtime ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, never lived in the home — since dividing the 6.3-acre estate into three separate parcels.
At least one sold for $34.34 million, with the other closing at $37 million, according to an October article in the South Florida Business Journal.
The 2008 transaction is one of several potential connections with Russia special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at in his Russia probe, Bloomberg reported last summer.
The President acknowledged on the campaign trail that the Palm Beach estate was one of his few financial associations with a Russian national.
Questions were raised about their associations last year, when Rybolovlev’s yacht was anchored close to one owned by Robert Mercer, a well-known Trump backer.
And his jet was spotted parked next to Trump’s plane twice in during the campaign — first in North Carolina, then Las Vegas.
But a spokesman downplayed the proximity as nothing but a coincidence when McClatchy reported the sightings last year.
Trump has maintained he never met Rybolovlev, and that a broker represented the Russian oligarch during the sale.
Wyden is able to request the documents because of his role as ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, CNN noted, although his colleagues across the aisle don’t want to look into Trump’s financial dealings.