The Real Deal Miami

Russian buyers shelled out $109M in cash for Trump properties in Sunny Isles, New York

Some buyers paid more than the assessed market value for their units
June 19, 2018 02:30PM

Sunny Isles Beach view with Trump Royale tower (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Buyers tied to Russia or former Soviet republics dropped $109 million in cash on 86 Trump-branded properties in South Florida and New York City, according to a new report.

A majority of the deals at the 10 Trump properties McClatchy analyzed were purchased using shell companies. While not illegal, all-cash deals raise suspicions of money laundering. Earlier this year, the Treasury Department released another set of rules geared at cracking down on money laundering in real estate.

Developer Gil Dezer said Russian buyers made up less than 5 percent of the 2,000 buyers at his Trump-branded buildings. And the Trump Organization, which branded several towers in Sunny Isles – a.k.a. “Little Moscow” – typically focuses on branding, not sales.

But a number of the all-cash purchases McClatchy reported on were made by Russian or Soviet buyers with dubious backgrounds. They include Aleksandr Burman, who paid $725,000 cash for a unit at Trump Tower I in Sunny Isles Beach in 2009. Burman was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison for his role in a $26 million health care scheme.

Evgeny Bachurin, a donor to a political action committee supporting Trump, was previously fired by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to McClatchy. And a former chairman of a Russian oil transportation company that has been subject to U.S. sanctions, Igor Romashov, paid $620,000 for a Sunny Isles unit in 2010.

“The millions of dollars in previously unreported, all-cash real estate deals we discovered raise troubling questions about who is funding his businesses, why, and what they’re getting in return,” Harrell Kirstein, communications director for the Trump War Room at American Bridge, told McClatchy.

Some of the buyers paid more than the assessed market value for their units, McClatchy reported. [Miami Herald] – Katherine Kallergis