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  1. #2116

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    More on that "former European chancellor" who was being paid from a Manafort slush fund to provide pro Ukraine spin to the west"

    Austrian media reported that the former European chancellor in question was Alfred Gusenbauer, the country's leader from 2007-8.

    Gusenbauer on Saturday denied to the Austria Press Agency and to public radio that he had conducted any such lobbying work, however, adding that he had never heard of the Hapsburg Group.

    "I met Manafort two times I think... but I had nothing to do with Paul Manafort's activities in Ukraine or with Yanukovych's Party of Regions and his activities in the US," Gusenbauer, 58, told radio station Oe1.
    Scene from Gusenbauer's press statement:

    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  2. #2117

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    southpaw
    ‏@nycsouthpaw

    More
    This article about Facebook’s auction system, which Brad Parscale just endorsed, says that Facebook systematically charged the Clinton campaign more for ad space than the Trump campaign because Clinton’s ads were less “provocative.”

    The article is written by an insider on Facebook’s monetization team, so presumably it’s accurate that Facebook charged Clinton more than Trump for the exact same ad real estate. In so doing, they effectively subsidized an absolutely hideous campaign of racial provocation.

    https://www.wired.com/story/how-trum...ut-russian-ads

    hockratees
    ‏@ThatShockratees
    2m2 minutes ago
    More
    Replying to @nycsouthpaw
    And made a concealed campaign contribution to Trump, of the highest possible value.
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  3. #2118

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Jeff Horwitz‏Verified account
    @JeffHorwitz
    Follow Follow @JeffHorwitz
    More
    Last night Trump staff holed up in the room with the CCTV system and locked the door. Then the owners group killed the power to the room - disabling the hotel’s phones and internet, located on servers in same room. Cops called.

    Trump officials fight eviction from Panama hotel they manage
    JEFF HORWITZ

    PANAMA CITY (AP) — One of President Donald Trump’s family businesses is battling an effort to physically evict its team of executives from a luxury hotel in Panama where they manage operations, and police have been called to keep the peace, The Associated Press has learned. Witnesses told the AP they saw Trump’s executives carrying files to a room for shredding.

    Representatives of the hotel owners’ association formally sought to fire Trump’s management team Thursday by hand-delivering termination notices to them at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, according to a Panamanian legal complaint filed by Orestes Fintiklis, who controls 202 of the property’s 369 hotel units. Trump’s managers retreated behind the glass walls of an office where they were seen carrying files to an area where the sounds of a shredding machine could be heard, according to two witnesses aligned with the owners. The legal complaint also accused Trump’s team of improperly destroying documents.

    The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity over concerns they would be drawn into an expensive and protracted legal fight.

    Elsewhere in the building, the hotel owners’ team and its allies were barred by Trump Hotel staff from entering the room containing the building’s closed-circuit TV system as well as key computer servers for the hotel and apartments that share the property. In response, they shut off power to the room — temporarily bringing down phone lines and internet connections within the building.

    According to the legal complaint, Trump’s chief of security and six security guards “pushed and shouted at” Fintiklis when he came to deliver the termination notices. The complaint said the hotel employees then called the police.

    A new confrontation appeared likely to arise during the weekend, as Trump’s security staff set up early Saturday in the hotel lobby, witnesses said. But by Saturday afternoon the lobby was again quiet.

    Representatives of the Trump Organization declined to comment, but have previously called attempts to fire their management company illegal and said no change in the building’s control would be appropriate without a decision from arbitrators or a judge.

    Fintiklis did not respond to messages left by text or email.


    On Friday night, lawyers, notaries and rival security personnel gathered at the hotel in Panama City while talks were underway to prevent the conflict from deteriorating further.

    The showdown is the newest low in a months-long fight over control of the property. Last August, Fintiklis’ Miami-based Ithaca Capital Partners bought the 202 units in a fire sale from the property’s struggling developer. As part of the deal, Trump Hotels sought and received some assurances that Ithaca would not seek to act against its interests as hotel manager.

    Relations quickly soured amid abysmal hotel occupancy numbers and allegations by Ithaca and other hotel unit owners of financial mismanagement or misconduct. In October, Ithaca Capital led a push to terminate Trump Hotel’s management contract and seek compensatory damages. Trump’s company — which he still owns but does not directly control — refused to hand over control of the property, arguing that the vote to fire Trump Hotels was invalid.

    A Panamanian court declined to support that claim in December, and the parties have since been fighting in court. The AP reported that the Trump management team ran off a group of Marriott executives who had been invited to tour the property amid a search for a replacement hotel operator.

    On Thursday, Fintiklis arrived at the property with management staff and lawyers intending to take over the hotel immediately. The Trump management team again refused to yield control of the property, and according to the legal complaint filed by Ithaca’s lawyers, refused to allow Fintiklis to check into any of his company’s 202 hotel rooms.

    ___

    Horwitz reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Natalie Schachar in Mexico City contributed to this report.

    https://apnews.com/ce4dbdd4446c4862bb9c483425554c67
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  4. #2119

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Some excerpts from a very deep dive into the background of the above story.

    Ivanka and the fugitive from Panama

    Exclusive: How an alleged fraudster in Panama, working with Donald Trump's daughter, helped make Trump's first international hotel venture a success. The broker was in business with a money-launderer and two criminals from the former Soviet Union. Then he fled.

    By NED PARKER, STEPHEN GREY, STEFANIE ESCHENBACHER, ROMAN ANIN, BRAD BROOKS and CHRISTINE MURRAY Filed Nov. 17, 2017, noon GMT

    PANAMA CITY/TORONTO - In the spring of 2007, a succession of foreigners, many from Russia, arrived at Panama City airport to be greeted by a chauffeur who whisked them off in a white Cadillac with a Donald Trump logo on the side.

    The limousine belonged to a business run by a Brazilian former car salesman named Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, who was offering the visitors a chance to invest in Trump’s latest project – a 70-floor tower called the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower. It was the future U.S. president’s first international hotel venture, a complex including residential apartments and a casino in a waterfront building shaped like a sail.

    “Mr Nogueira was an outgoing and lively young man,” remembered Justine Pasek, who was crowned Miss Universe by Donald Trump in 2002 and was acting in 2007 as a spokesperson for Nogueira’s company, Homes Real Estate Investment & Services. “Everybody was so impressed with Homes as they seemed to be riding the top of the real estate boom at the time,” she said.

    One of those Nogueira set out to impress was Ivanka, Trump’s daughter. In an interview with Reuters, Nogueira said he met and spoke with Ivanka “many times” when she was handling the Trump Organization’s involvement in the Panama development. “She would remember me,” he said.

    Ivanka was so taken with his sales skills, Nogueira said, that she helped him become a leading broker for the development and he appeared in a video with her promoting the project.

    A Reuters investigation into the financing of the Trump Ocean Club, in conjunction with the American broadcaster NBC News, found Nogueira was responsible for between one-third and one-half of advance sales for the project. It also found he did business with a Colombian who was later convicted of money laundering and is now in detention in the United States; a Russian investor in the Trump project who was jailed in Israel in the 1990s for kidnap and threats to kill; and a Ukrainian investor who was arrested for alleged people-smuggling while working with Nogueira and later convicted by a Kiev court.

    (...)

    Ivanka Trump declined to comment on her dealings with Nogueira. A White House spokesman referred questions to the Trump Organization. Alan Garten, the organization’s chief legal officer, said: “No one at the Trump Organization, including the Trump family, has any recollection of ever meeting or speaking with this individual.”

    Trump put his name to the development and stood to make up to $75 million from it, according to a bond prospectus for the project. He did not exert management control over the construction and was under no direct legal obligation to conduct due diligence on other people involved.

    (...)

    The White House referred Reuters questions about the Ocean Club development to the Trump Organization. Garten said the Trump Organization’s role in the project “was at all times limited to licensing its brand and providing management services. As the company was not the owner or developer, it had no involvement in the sale of any units at the property.”

    He said the Trump Organization “never had any contractual relationship or significant dealings” with Nogueira

    (...)

    Nogueira said that no one asked him about the source of funds. “Nobody ever asked me. The banks didn’t ask. The developers didn’t ask. The Trump Organization didn’t ask me. Nobody asked me: ‘Who are the customers? Where did the money come from?’”

    It is unclear how much, if any, laundered money went into the Trump project.

    Global Witness, an anti-corruption watchdog, says in an independently-produced report out today, that Panama in the 2000s presented particular challenges for property developers because of its then reputation for corruption.

    HIGH LIVING

    Donald Trump’s involvement in the Ocean Club began in 2005, when local developer Roger Khafif travelled to Trump Tower in New York to pitch the idea of a Trump project in Panama...

    In an interview with Reuters, Khafif recalled that Trump wanted to use the Panama project as a “baby” for his daughter Ivanka, who had just joined the Trump Organization, to gain experience in the property business...

    The plan was for Newland International Properties Corp, where Khafif was president and which owned the development, to finance construction with a bond underwritten by Bear Stearns, the U.S. investment bank. The bank, which collapsed in 2008, was acquired by JPMorgan, which declined to comment.

    To sell the bond, the developer needed to prove it could sell the apartments. This was where Nogueira came in. The Brazilian had arrived in Panama in the mid-2000s from Spain, where he had worked as a car salesman...

    He had already had a brush with the law. In September 2005, in an official notice posted on the internet, the Spanish economy ministry said it had opened proceedings to fine Nogueira for an alleged “serious violation” of the country’s money-laundering laws.

    (...)

    Homes accounted for up to half of the 666 apartment sales in advance of the bond prospectus, people involved in the project told Reuters.

    Eleanora Michailov, a Russian who settled in Canada, was Nogueira’s international sales director. She recalled that Nogueira handled the sale of a third of the building, about 200 apartments. Another Homes sales agent, Jenny Levy, a relative by marriage to the developer, Khafif, said she alone sold 30 apartments.

    “We sold half the building, baby! Homes sold half,” Levy said in a phone interview. Nogueira said that he and his agents across the world sold between 350 to 400 apartment and hotel units.

    (...)

    Homes found a ready market in Russia. “Russians like to show off,” said Khafif, who went on several sales trips to Moscow. “For them, Trump was the Bentley” of real estate brands.

    In many cases the identity of the buyers was not clear...

    It was a Colombian businessman named David Murcia Guzman who triggered Nogueira’s downfall. Murcia was indicted in November 2008 for money laundering, first in Colombia and then in the United States. Murcia was sentenced to nine years in prison in the United States for conspiracy to launder drug money. After serving six years, he is expected to be deported to Colombia, his attorney, Robert Abreu, said. Colombia’s government said Murcia will serve a 22-year prison term upon his return for offenses including money laundering.

    Murcia did not get permission from U.S. authorities to respond to Reuters’ questions.

    Within days of Murcia’s indictment, the spotlight turned to Nogueira. Roniel Ortiz, a former lawyer for both Nogueira and Murcia, said Nogueira had offered to wash Murcia’s money by buying apartments on his behalf. Murcia “could not take his money to a bank,” Ortiz said, so Nogueira “offered to see how he could help.”

    (...)

    In 2013 Nogueira, in conversations secretly recorded by a former business partner, said he had performed money laundering as a service, moving tens of millions of dollars mainly through contacts in Miami and the Bahamas. “More important than the money from real estate was being able to launder the drug money – there were much larger amounts involved,” he said in the recording. “When I was in Panama I was regularly laundering money for more than a dozen companies.”

    The recordings were heard by Reuters and authenticated by five people who know Nogueira.

    THE RUSSIAN CONNECTION

    In the story of Panama’s Trump Ocean Club, a high point for many of those involved was a warm, cloudless night in early 2007.

    The setting was Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s private club in Florida. Spilling out of Lamborghinis and Porsches onto the welcoming carpet were the sales people, clients and potential clients whose acumen and cash would make it possible – within a month – to break ground on the project’s building site in Panama City.

    Entertained with drinks, music and jokes from American TV celebrity Regis Philbin, the guests got to meet and greet Trump and his children, Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka. The event was organized to celebrate a successful sales campaign – and to solicit more sales.

    The Trump Organization did not comment about the party. Philbin told Reuters he couldn’t recall the event because it was 10 years ago. “I used to be with him [Trump] a lot,” Philbin said. “I was good friends with him.”

    (...)

    Besides Nogueira, the guests included people involved with the project as investors or salesmen, some of Russian or former Soviet Union origin. Among them, in the delegation from Homes and wearing a dark suit, was Alexander Altshoul, born in Belarus. “Russians like their brand names,” Altshoul told Reuters, explaining why investors were attracted to Trump. “The moment was right, they were speculating. Many people hoped to get profits.”

    (...)

    Among his partners in that investment, according to Altshoul and Panamanian corporate records, was a Muscovite named Arkady Vodovosov, a relative of Altshoul. In 1998, Vodovosov was sentenced to five years in prison in Israel for kidnap and threats to kill and torture, court records state.

    (...)

    Altshoul attended the Mar-a-Lago party with another Homes partner, Stanislau Kavalenka, recalled people who were there. Kavalenka was also a Canadian émigré from the former Soviet Union.

    At different times, Altshoul and Kavalenka each faced accusations of having connections to organized crime, but the charges were dropped. In Altshoul’s case, police in Toronto filed charges in April 2007, at the time he was promoting the Trump project. He was accused of involvement in a mortgage fraud scheme, unrelated to the Panama project, that involved sending funds through Latvia. The criminal case was dropped a year later.

    In a statement, the Canadian government said it was “duty bound to withdraw charges where there is no reasonable prospect of conviction or if it is not in the public interest to proceed.” It did not elaborate further on the case. Altshoul said the decision showed he was innocent.

    In 2004, Canadian prosecutors had accused Kavalenka of pimping and kidnapping Russian prostitutes. That case was dropped in 2005 after the alleged prostitutes, who were the main witnesses, did not show up in court. Kavalenka’s whereabouts are unknown. He did not respond to questions about his role in the Trump project sent to him through his family in Canada...

    Nogueira also said that after he read of Kavalenka’s Toronto case on Google, Kavalenka told him: “I was running some girls. That’s how I made money. But I was cleared.”...

    SOLD “LIKE HOT CAKES”

    In the months after the Mar-a-Lago party, the prospects for everyone involved in the Trump Ocean Club looked rosy. In the midst of a global property boom and a successful pitch, sales had exceeded all expectations.

    ...By the end of June that year, the prospectus declared, the project had “pre-sold approximately 64 percent of the building’s condominium and commercial units,” guaranteeing receipts on completion of the project of at least $278.7 million.

    Trump said later, in a promotional video ahead of the 2011 opening, that the project sold “like hot cakes.”

    But not all the money collected in the pre-sales campaign would go on to fund the project. Nine former business partners or employees of Nogueira interviewed by Reuters alleged that, at the Ocean Club and at other developments, Nogueira either failed to pass on all the deposits he collected to the project’s developers, or sometimes sold the same apartment to more than one client, with the result that, on completion of the project, some clients had no clear claim on a property.

    Exactly how many apartments were double-sold is unknown...

    Declining to disclose where he is living now, Nogueira agreed to meet Reuters and NBC News on November 13 at a neutral location, on condition it would not be revealed. Nogueira said an arrest warrant was outstanding against him in Panama. “Of course right now, I can be considered by the justice system to be fugitive. But there are two sides to everything.”

    It wasn’t only alleged fraud that cost investors. After the global property crash of 2008, any chance of quick profit on the Trump Panama venture vanished.

    (...)

    There was one person who still profited: Donald Trump.

    Whatever the losses investors might suffer, under Trump’s licensing deal, detailed originally in the bond prospectus, the future U.S. president was guaranteed to receive payment. Court records from Newland’s bankruptcy in 2013 indicate Trump agreed to reduce his fee, but that he still earned between $30 million and $50 million from lending his name to the project.

    https://www.reuters.com/investigates...-trump-panama/
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  5. #2120

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    House panel releases Democrats’ memo defending FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide
    By Karoun Demirjian and Rosalind S. Helderman February 24 at 4:57 PM

    The House Intelligence Committee released on Saturday a redacted version of a Democrat-authored memo rebutting GOP allegations that federal law enforcement agencies used politically-biased information to conduct surveillance on one of the president’s former campaign aides.

    In their now-public retort, Democrats charge that the GOP unfairly attempted to malign the FBI and the Justice Department for including information from the author of a now-famous dossier alleging President Trump had ties to Russian officials in an application to surveil Carter Page, one of Trump’s former campaign advisers.

    GOP leaders had argued that Page was unfairly targeted because the information from the dossier’s author, former British spy Christopher Steele, was never presented to the surveillance court as having been paid for by Democrats.

    But according to the Democrats’ memo, Page’s Russia ties had already captured the attention of federal law enforcement agencies. The FBI interviewed Page about his “Russian intelligence contacts” in March of 2016, the memo states — the same month he was named as a Trump campaign adviser, and months before Steele as hired to conduct research on Trump or first made contact with the FBI.

    The court was also told that Steele had been approached by a “U.S. person” who had been hired “to conduct research regarding Candidate #1’s ties to Russia,” according to a portion of the surveillance applications containedin the Democrats’ memo.

    “The FBI speculates that the U.S. person was likely looking for information that could be used to discredit candidate 1’s campaign,” the application says.

    The memo’s content is the product of about two weeks of negotiations between Democratic members of the committee, as well as the FBI and the Justice Department. According to a committee aide, no new information was declassified in the document — though Democrats on the panel were not expecting it would be released until Monday.

    President Trump had argued that making the Democrats’ memo available to the public would reveal intelligence gathering sources and methods.

    The 10-page document contains more classified information than the four-page Republican memo to which it responds. Intelligence Committee Democrats, led by ranking member Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), had pledged to heed recommendations from the FBI and Justice Department regarding any redactions of sensitive information — something, the Democrats say, the GOP did not do.

    But on Saturday, the committee’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), accused Democrats of colluding with the government in a “cover up” of information as he announced the memo had been posted online.

    “We actually wanted this out,” Nunes told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference. “It’s clear evidence that the Democrats are not only covering this up, but they’re also colluding with parts of the government to cover this up.”

    Democrats bristled when Trump refused to allow their full memo to be made public, accusing him of applying a double standard. He promised to release the Republican memo before he had even read it, according to White House officials and the timing of his public comments.

    Democrats have argued that the information presented in the Republican-drafted memo was “cherry-picked” and lacked important context that they would present in their memo. They have said the GOP is reluctant to allow its release because the rebuttal would undercut the Republicans’ argument.

    David Weigel contributed to this report.

    The Memo

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/power...=.39d115bac474
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  6. #2121

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Julia Davis
    ‏@JuliaDavisNews

    More
    This keeps getting better. It appears, former IRA (Russian troll factory) manager's husband received an offer of employment from @facebook & Facebook —as his employer— helped both of them immigrate to the US. They're now living in Bellevue, Washington.
    Is your head spinning yet?

    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  7. #2122

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    If you need a quick laugh, from a Harvard Law professor who clearly has tenure (also, tended to be my favorite kind for exactly this reason)

    Re:Manafort

    https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/967531459371257856

  8. #2123

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by JazzNU View Post
    If you need a quick laugh, from a Harvard Law professor who clearly has tenure (also, tended to be my favorite kind for exactly this reason)

    Re:Manafort

    https://twitter.com/tribelaw/status/967531459371257856
    The comments are pretty good too.
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


  9. #2124

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades



    On a holiday week with Congress out of session, gun control and the Mueller probe dominated the headlines and the country’s attention. The youth-led activism on gun control sparked by Parkland students has been compared to the successful youth movement against the Vietnam War. The Trump regime was caught flat-footed on the issue, left to parrot NRA talking points; while one White House described the mass shooting as a “reprieve” from a series of negative news and scandals starting in Week 65.



    https://theweeklylist.org/weekly-list/week-67/
    Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth (paraphrased)


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