January 17, 2017

THE EXTRAORDINARY RELATIONSHIP:

For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia (Megan Twohey and Steve Eder, Jan. 16th, 2017, NY Times)

As the Russian market opened up in the post-Soviet era, Mr. Trump and his partners pursued Russians who were newly flush with cash to buy apartments in Trump Towers in New York and Florida, sales that he boasted about in a 2014 interview. "I know the Russians better than anybody," Mr. Trump told Michael D'Antonio, a Trump biographer who shared unpublished interview transcripts with The New York Times.

Seeking deals in Russia became part of a broader strategy to expand the Trump brand worldwide. By the mid-2000s, Mr. Trump was transitioning to mostly licensing his name to hotel, condominium and commercial towers rather than building or investing in real estate himself. He discovered that his name was especially attractive in developing countries where the rising rich aspired to the type of ritzy glamour he personified.

While he nailed down ventures in the Philippines, India and elsewhere, closing deals in Russia proved challenging. In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. praised the opportunities in Russia, but also called it a "scary place" to do business because of corruption and legal complications.

Mr. Sater said that American hotel chains that had moved into Russia did so with straightforward agreements to manage hotels that other partners owned. Mr. Trump, by contrast, was pursuing developments that included residential or commercial offerings in which he would take a cut of sales, terms that Russians were reluctant to embrace.

Even so, Mr. Trump said his efforts put him in contact with powerful people there. "I called it my weekend in Moscow," Mr. Trump said of his 2013 trip to Moscow during a September 2015 interview on "The Hugh Hewitt Show." He added: "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."

Posted by at January 17, 2017 8:29 AM

  

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