In 1984, Soviet Army veteran David Bogatin purchased five luxury condos in Trump Tower for $6 million. The purchase was so substantial that Donald Trump himself attended the closing. Three years later, he absconded to Austria and Poland after the discovery of his gasoline-bootlegging scheme, and his five apartments were seized by the government because he bought them to hide and launder money. In 1992, he became the first criminal returned to the United States from Poland since the extradition treaty signed in 1927. A Senate investigation indicated he was a major figure in the New York Russian mafia.
Anatoly Golubchik, Vadim Trincher and Michael Sall
These three individuals were convicted of taking part in an enormous illicit betting and money-laundering syndicate that ran out of Trump Tower in New York. Each of them was a Trump condo owner, and operated out of Vadim Trincher’s Trump Tower New York apartment just three floors down from Trump’s penthouse. The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization was a “nationwide criminal enterprise with strong ties to Russia and Ukraine” run by Anatoly Golubchik and Trincher, according to the Justice Department. They ran a sportsbook catering to Russian oligarchs and laundered tens of millions in proceeds through shell companies in Cyprus. Michael Sall helped them make domestic investments with the laundered capital.
Tevfik Arif was a former Soviet economist that built a chain of luxury hotels in Turkey and Kazakhstan, and a Bayrock partner involved in the Trump SoHo deal, which operated out of the 24th floor of Trump Tower New York. In 2010, Arif was arrested by Turkish prosecutors and charged with setting up a prostitution ring after he was found aboard a boat with nine young women, two of whom were 16 years old. The women reportedly refused to talk, and Arif was acquitted.
Vyacheslav Ivankov implemented a money laundering scheme set up by the “boss of bosses” in the Russian mafia, Semion Mogilevich. Mogilevich arranged Ivankov’s release from a Siberian gulag, and soon afterward he went to the New York where he presided over the Russian mob’s expansion in the States. He was known for torturing victims, and bragging about the murders he arranged. Ivankov was notoriously difficult to track, compared to a ghost by one agent. The FBI discovered he made regular visits to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, and was living in a luxury condo at Trump Tower. After being convicted of extortion in 1997, he was jailed for nine years and seven months. He died in 2009 at the age of 69 after being shot several times leaving a restaurant in Moscow.
The web of Donald Trump’s connections to organized crime is alarming and goes back decades. From Russian mobsters and convicted drug traffickers to multimillion-dollar money laundering schemes and bank fraud, his history of criminal associates puts him — and the country — at risk.