Kazakh bank says Sater considered laundering money into Trump Tower Moscow

BTA Bank sued Sater alleging scheme to invest stolen funds
March 25, 2019 05:08PM

From left: Felix Sater, Mukhtar Ablyazov, and Ilyas Khrapunov with a rendering of Trump Tower Moscow (Credit: Getty Images, RFE/RL, and OCCRP)

A new lawsuit filed by Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank alleges Trump Soho developer Felix Sater planned to invest stolen money into a Trump Organization development in Moscow, the same planned tower said to have been examined by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his Russian election interference investigation.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court, comes as Sater is scheduled to testify before Congress on Wednesday on matters related to the Trump Organization and its business activities during the 2016 presidential election campaign, according to Bloomberg.

In the suit, BTA alleges that Sater and associate Ilyas Khrapunov considered investing money that former BTA chairman, Mukthar Ablyazov, stole from the bank, according to Reuters. Mukthar, Khrapunov’s father-in-law, was accused in Kazakhstan of siphoning off some $4 billion from BTA a decade ago and now lives in exile in France.

The lawsuit does not say how BTA learned of Sater’s intentions or how much money he was looking to bring to Trump project, but does allege that Sater arranged meetings in 2012 between Khrapunov and Donald Trump Jr. to discuss financing.

Sater has previously been accused of working with Khrapunov to move money into U.S. real estate, including three condominium units at Trump Soho, the building Sater helped develop when he worked for Bayrock Group more than a decade ago. Those allegations are repeated in the lawsuit.

Bloomberg also reported that Sater had previously been working with BTA Bank in a lawsuit against the Khrapunov family, until the court discovered that Sater, a key witness, owned the consulting firm the bank had hired to help them with the litigation.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who worked closely with Sater on the pre-development of Trump Tower Moscow, told Congress last month that he too was hired to do consulting work for BTA. [Bloomberg] — Will Parker