For more than 30 years, Mr. Trump has repeatedly sought to conduct business in Russia. He traveled to Moscow in 1987 to explore building a hotel. He applied for his trademark in the country as early as 1996. And his children and associates have met with Russian developers and government officials on multiple occasions in search of joint ventures.
.. But the company says nothing has come of it.
There Was a Moscow Hotel Deal in the Works During the Campaign
.. Perhaps the closest Mr. Trump came to launching a real estate project in Russia was during the presidential campaign, when he signed a letter of intent in late 2015 for a Trump hotel to be built in Moscow. Ultimately, the deal never materialized.
In email exchanges with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, Felix Sater, a Russian émigré who had previously helped develop Trump SoHo in New York, talked about securing financing for the Moscow project from VTB, a major state-owned Russian bank under American sanctions. He also mused about how the deal, if supported by Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, would “fix relations between the countries by showing everyone that commerce & business are much better and more practical than politics.”
“I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected,” Mr. Sater wrote in one of the emails.
.. Mr. Trump signed the letter of intent with Andrey Rozov, a developer of retail and residential projects in the Moscow region. If the deal went through, Mr. Trump would receive a $4 million upfront fee in exchange for licensing his name, and his company would manage the completed hotel.
.. By January 2016, the project seemed to have stalled. At one point, without success, Mr. Cohen emailed an aide to Mr. Putin seeking help jump-starting it.
.. Mr. Trump’s business opportunities in Russia got little traction until he took the Miss Universe pageant to Moscow in 2013.
.. The visit left an impression on Mr. Trump and had him contemplating future endeavors with the Agalarovs.
.. “I had a great weekend with you and your family,” Mr. Trump posted on Twitter in a message to Aras Agalarov. “You have done a FANTASTIC job. TRUMP TOWER-MOSCOW is next,” he wrote, before referring to Mr. Agalarov’s son, a pop star: “EMIN was WOW!”
In June 2016, a publicist for Emin Agalarov requested that Donald Trump Jr. meet with a Kremlin-connected lawyer. That meeting, at Trump Tower in New York, first reported by The New York Times last July, included other campaign officials and has been the subject of considerable scrutiny.
.. in a September 2015 interview on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” he had made the Miss Universe pageant seem far more important.
“I called it my weekend in Moscow,” Mr. Trump said. “I was with the top-level people, both oligarchs and generals, and top-of-the-government people. I can’t go further than that, but I will tell you that I met the top people, and the relationship was extraordinary.”
.. Deutsche Bank, offered Mr. Trump more than $4 billion in loan commitments and potential bond offerings, a majority of which were completed, The Times reported last year.
.. the bank last year landed in legal trouble over Russian money laundering — paying more than $600 million in penalties to American and British regulators.
.. Some Deutsche Bank executives expect they will eventually have to produce records as part of Mr. Mueller’s inquiry
.. The bank has already been asked to turn over documents to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn about another client with a White House connection: the Kushner Companies
.. Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire oligarch, paid $95 million for Mr. Trump’s oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach, Fla
.. Mr. Trump sold the house less than four years after buying it for about $41 million. Mr. Rybolovlev paid the markup despite buying the property in 2008, at the height of the housing crisis. And Mr. Trump had made few improvements to the mansion, which reportedly had a mold problem.
.. Mr. Rybolovlev, moreover, never lived in the property.
.. At the time of the sale, Mr. Trump was facing financial pressure. He potentially owed Deutsche Bank $40 million after not paying off a loan for his Chicago hotel and tower.
.. James Dodson recounted a conversation he had had with Eric Trump in 2013 on a newly opened Trump golf course in Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Dodson said he had asked Mr. Trump about the company’s sources of funds, and Mr. Trump told him, “We have pretty much all the money we need from investors in Russia.”
.. In 2008, at a real estate conference in New York, Donald Trump Jr. said: “In terms of high-end product influx into the U.S., Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets, say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”