LONDON — A Financial Times investigation into the financing of President Donald Trump’s Toronto hotel tower has found fresh evidence suggesting links between the US President and Russia.
The FT claims it has seen documents suggesting that the Kremlin may have been involved in indirectly financing the project. There is no suggestion that Trump knew.
The Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto was financed by Russian-Canadian businessman Alex Shnaider. The FT said it has seen documents showing that Shnaider paid a $100 million “commission” to middlemen representing Kremlin interests who helped facilitate the sale of Shnaider’s stake in a Ukrainian steel mill. The sale of the stake for $850 million was financed by Russian bank VEB, which was chaired by Vladimir Putin at the time.
The FT said that some of the money from the sale may have been used to help finance the construction of Trump Toronto. Shnaider earmarked $40 million for the project shortly after the sale.
The Wall Street Journal first reported VEB’s involvement in the project last year but the $100 million commission payment has not previously been reported.
Shnaider declined to speak to the FT. His lawyer Symon Zucker told Business Insider last year when the WSJ report came out that the paper had “got their facts all wrong.” Zucker did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on Thursday.
The Trump Organization told the FT: “The Trump Organization was not the owner, developer or seller of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto. Consequently, it had no involvement in the financing of the project. Instead, the company’s role was limited to licensing its brand and managing the hotel and residences, which it did until June 2017 when its agreement ended.”
The President is currently at the center of an FBI investigation into possible Russian collusion during the 2016 election. The President has repeatedly denied any connections to Russia.