Narco-a-lago: Money Laundering at the Trump Ocean Club, Panama

Narco-a-lago: Money Laundering at the Trump Ocean Club, Panama

This report examines in detail the criminal connections that propelled one such project – the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama – and how this case bears some of the same disturbing hallmarks as other Trump developments.

The Trump Ocean Club, one of Trump’s most lucrative licensing deals to date, was announced in 2006 and launched in 2011, a period when Panama was known as one of the best places in the world to launder money. Whole neighborhoods in Panama City were taken over by organized crime groups, and luxury developments were built with the purpose of serving as money laundering vehicles.

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Nobody has come up with a plausible legitimate reason for these accounting shenanigans. And all agree it’s a bit ornate and not quite right for simple tax avoidance. The most likely explanation is, of course, money laundering.Some people point out that *parts* of Trump’s golf businesses are legitimate as an argument proving it’s not money laundering.

That IS what Money Laundering IS!!!!

This is why it’s more than tax avoidance

The thing everyone reports is the losses–the shareholder (Trump) has lost more than £7M. But the interesting stuff is the fixed asset value and the creditors–over one year. Trump is all of them: he owns the asset, lends the money, owes the money, is owed the money. We see the same process year after year. He lends himself millions, the asset value is increased by that same number of millions. This happens in many years when he does no work on the property–no investment, no building. It happened through the 2008 crash. Aberdeen was collapsing from the overall financial crisis and the–locally–far worse collapse of North Sea Oil. Property values were shrinking. Trump Aberdeen saw the same process–no development, but huge loans from Trump and huge increase in claimed asset value. Those loans are actually spent. Here is Page 10. You see: major outflows of cash for operations and capital. The cash on hand at end of year is only £94K. Again–this happens in years when he spends no money on developing the course or resort. There’s much more to say–each line here is fascinating. But the overall picture is crystal clear: Every year, Trump lends millions to himself, spends all that money on something, and claims the asset is worth all the money he spent. He cannot have spent all that money on the properties. We have the planning docs. We know how much he spent–it’s far less than what he claims. The money truly disappears. It goes from one pocket to another pocket and then the pocket is opened to reveal nothing is there. A bit of this could be explained as tax avoidance or fraud. But he is going to enormous effort to falsify upwards the overall valuation of the property–the opposite of what he’d do if this was solely tax fraud.  Instead, this is a huge effort to mask a money pit as an appreciating asset–in other words, one he can’t write off. That is why I am skeptical of the idea that this is all his own money. I have shown these docs to many accountants, lawyers, prosecutors, FBI agent, etc. Nobody has come up with a plausible legitimate reason for these accounting shenanigans. And all agree it’s a bit ornate and not quite right for simple tax avoidance. The most likely explanation is, of course, money laundering.

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