Reporter slams media for not mentioning ‘Trump knowingly did business with Soleimani front’ company through 2016

  • 01/13/2020 9:55 am ET Mackenzie Zlatos
Trump Lies: Democrats Defend ‘One of the Worst Terrorists in History’

Credit: AP News

Trump likes to call Soleimani a terrorist on Twitter, but that didn’t stop the Trump Organization from doing business with the Iranian General.

A few short years ago, Trump stumbled over questions about Soleimani and the Quds Force—the elite branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which the General ran.

He did, however, have close ties to Azarpassillo, the company the Guard Corps used as a front to evade sanctions and launder money into Iran. Because of this connection, Trump’s posturing about the evils of General Soleimani is hard to take for many people, including award-winning New Yorker reporter Adam Davidson.

The Deal

Trump was part of a deal to build a 33-floor sail-shaped luxury hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan. The property was scheduled to open in 2015, Trump said this about it at the time:

“Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku represents the unwavering standard of excellence of The Trump Organization and our involvement in only the best global development projects. When we open in 2015, visitors and residents will experience a luxurious property unlike anything else in Baku—it will be among the finest in the world.?

The problem was his business partners. Azerbaijan, though an oil-rich country, is very corrupt. For the Baku hotel deal, Trump was partnered with relatives of Azerbaijan’s transportation minister, Ziya Mammadov.

In 2017, Trump’s Baku property was investigated by the New Yorker due to the connection with Mammadov and the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Between 2004 and 2014, Mammadov family businesses spent more than half a billion dollars on large construction projects. They also poured money into a major construction-materials company, an insurance firm, and a new headquarters. It’s not clear how the Mammadovs funded such enormous investments while spending so much on themselves. They may have received loans, or secretly owned profitable businesses that supported the flurry of spending. Another explanation is that some of the investment money came from the Revolutionary Guard, through Azarpassillo.

The investigation also looked specifically about Trump’s Baku project noting things like construction contractors being paid with “duffel bags stuffed with millions of dollars in cash.” The Trump Organization denies noticing anything unsavory happening in Azerbaijan.

Ivanka and Baku

The Trump Hotel in Baku eventually fell through. After being elected, Trump pulled out of the project and claims were made that they weren’t really closely involved in the process. The New Yorker investigation shows otherwise, especially in regards to the President’s daughter Ivanka.

One of the lawyers working on the project claimed that Ivanka “personally approved everything.” On Instagram, she referred to it as “my project.”


An assistant dean at George Washington University Law School called the luxury hotel a “giant red flag”:

“The entire Baku deal is a giant red flag — the direct involvement of foreign government officials and their relatives in Azerbaijan with ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Corruption warning signs are rarely more obvious.?

The Trump administration may have labeled the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization…but the Trump Organization called the IRGC a business partner.

 

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