Trump sought deals with the mayor of Moscow

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“I didn’t know Moscow,” Trump said when asked if he would confront Joe Biden over the alleged payments to Hunter. “Three and a half million dollars from the mayor’s wife. I did not know. And he’s a very influential and powerful man in Russia, as you know. And it wasn’t me; I had nothing to do with Russia. It came out loud and clear. “

A GOP Senate Report published last week accused an investment firm linked to Hunter Biden of receiving $ 3.5 million in wire transfers from Luzhkov’s wife, which the report noted was made redundant in 2010 on allegations of corruption. The report cited unspecified confidential documents to make the claim, but Hunter Biden’s lawyer denied ever having had a financial relationship with Luzhkov’s wife, Yelena Baturina.

“Senate report erroneously alleges that Hunter Biden had a financial relationship with Russian businesswoman Yelena Baturina and that he received $ 3.5 million from Baturina,” Biden attorney George Mesires said .

White House spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said in a statement that “while President Trump ran a global real estate brand with properties around the world, Hunter Biden was taking advantage of his father’s government service by accepting 3, $ 5 million from the wife of the mayor of Moscow. No comparison.

The GOP report does not support the claim that Hunter Biden personally accepted money from Baturina, only that Baturina wired $ 3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC bank account for an “advice deal.” “In 2014. Mesires denied that Biden had an” interest in “or was a” co-founder “of Rosemont Seneca Thornton,” so the claim that he was paid $ 3.5 million is false .

The claims in the GOP Senate report come amid a long Republican campaign to tie Hunter Biden’s overseas business activities to his father’s tenure as vice president. But that effort has largely backfired so far: Trump’s attempts last year to pressure the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation into young Biden’s service to the board of directors of a gas company led directly to his dismissal.

Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement that “all of Donald Trump’s slander is rooted in weakness and projection because he desperately seeks to distract from the reality that his presidency was a failure. Voters will hold him responsible for tearing our country apart and claiming the lives of over 200,000 Americans and tens of millions of jobs with his intentionally botched response to the pandemic. “

The Trump Organization did not return a request for comment.

Louzkhkov died in 2019; his wife, Baturina, would be the richest woman in Russia, preside over a business empire ranging from construction to hotels to renewable energy.

Trump’s dealings in Moscow under Luzhkov are newly significant in light of a report released by Republicans Ron Johnson and Chuck Grassley last week, which accused Luzhkov of facilitating corrupt real estate deals during his 18-year reign. The report states that “Luzhkov used his post as mayor to approve more than 20 real estate projects which were built by a construction company owned by Baturina and ultimately generated billions of rubles in profits for his family.” The report cited a “confidential document” to support this claim.

Although the committee did not specify the source of this and other confidential documents, the Democrats on the committee revealed that they were provided by the U.S. Treasury and the committee did not conduct any independent investigation into the transactions themselves. same.

In an interview with Last year, before his death, Russian state media Luzhkov, who served as mayor of Moscow from 1992 to 2010, revealed that Trump was in talks with the city government about building a shopping mall. underground in the 1990s.

“Trump was in Moscow,” Luzhkov told Russian news agency Interfax, adding that Trump had contacted former Moscow construction chief Vladimir Resin “on matters relating to the construction of the Okhotny underground shopping complex Ryad on Manezhnaya Square “.

“He intended to participate in the construction of this complex,” Luzhkov said.

He noted, however, that the project ultimately failed. “There were intentions, there were discussions – they were about this very underground complex, but it doesn’t go any further,” Luzhkov said.

The underground mall was not the only deal Trump struck in Moscow during Luzhkov’s tenure, however. In 1997, Trump was negotiating a $ 175 million deal with the city of Moscow to renovate the Moskva Hotel, directly across from the Kremlin, according to a press release included in a filing with the SEC in January 1997 as good as Press articles from the time.

“The company plans to create Russia’s first hotel, comprising 600 rooms, 200 private condominiums, a convention center, banquet halls, retail stores and a large public space,” the file said, noting that the city of Moscow would receive a minority. equity.

Trump also got initial approval to renovate the Rossiya Hotel in Moscow in a deal that would have cost around $ 800 million, according to to Fortune. But in 1998, Rossiya’s general manager, Yevgeny Tsimbalistov, was assassinated in a contract assassination with the Mafia; Trump then put hotel projects on the back burner, his assistant Norma Foerderer said at the time.

Kyle Cheney contributed.

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