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Donald Trump speaking with the media after arriving in Shannon two years ago. Photograph by John Kelly.

Russian gangsters may have teamed up with Trump on Doonbeg, US intel committee hears

RUSSIAN mafia figures may have become involved with Donald Trump in Doonbeg, it has been claimed at a sitting of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

In an interview with the committee in November, a transcript of which was published this week, researcher Glenn Simpson detailed links between US President Trump and Russian organised crime figures.

Mr Simpson also said that in the course of carrying out research on the US President at the time he was a candidate, it had been found that the development of Doonbeg was one of several unusual deals.

A former journalist, Mr Simpson works at Washington commercial research firm, Fusion GPS. In the autumn of 2015, it was hired to take an open-ended detailed look at Trump’s business career, litigation history and his relationships with what were described as “questionable people”.

Asked about deals of interest involving the now US President, Mr Simpson said, “Some of the things that we have…looked at that we thought were very concerning are existing investments in projects, and specifically a project in Panama, the one in Toronto. Those both got a lot of fraud associated with them, a lot of fraud allegations, a lot of activity that I would say smacks of fraud, and a lot of Russian mafia figures listed as buyers, who may or may not have actually put money into it.

“So there’s a couple of…the big condo tower deals offshore, outside the United States, I think both of those are in bankruptcy now, Mr Trump is no longer associated with them.

“The other one that…was concerning to us was the golf courses in Scotland and Ireland.”

Congressman Adam Schiff asked if he had seen Russian money involved with those and, in reply, Mr Simpson said that while it is not overt, there were certainly strange financial patterns. “We saw what Eric Trump said about Russian money being available for…the golf course projects, making remarks about having unlimited sums available. And, you know, because Mr Trump’s companies are generally not publicly traded and don’t do a lot of public disclosure, we can only…have a limited look into the financing of those projects.

“But because the Irish courses and the Scottish courses are under UK, you know, Anglo corporate law… they file financial statements. So we were able to get the financial statements. And they don’t, on their face, show Russian involvement, but what they do show is enormous amounts of capital flowing into these projects from unknown sources and, or at least on paper, it says its from the Trump Organisation, but it’s hundreds of millions of dollars.

“And these golf course are just, you know, they’re sinks. They don’t actually make any money.”

He added, “If you’re familiar with Donald Trump’s finances and the litigation over whether he’s really a billionaire, you know, there’s good reason to believe he doesn’t have enough money to do this and that he would have had to have outside financial support for these things.”

Mr Simpson said he found the situation inexplicable. “Because of what I do, it’s sort of in this middle area where we mostly are working off public records. A lot of what I do is analyse whether things make sense and whether they can be explained. And that didn’t make sense to me, doesn’t make sense to me to this day.”

Congressman Tom Rooney said if it were shown that the Russian mafia were involved in the Clare golf course, Trump would not have been elected. “If we knew that Donald Trump was working with the Russian mafia to fund Doonbeg in Ireland, then there’s no way he would be President.”

 

Owen Ryan

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