AVOIDING SCRUTINY

Report: 20% of Trump’s U.S. Condos Sold in All-Cash Transactions

More than 20 percent of President Trump’s U.S. condominiums sold since the 1980s were paid for in all-cash, secretive transactions, according to a new BuzzFeed News investigation. Of those purchases, more than 1,300 of the 6,400 Trump condos sold were bought by shell companies instead of individuals. These transactions were paid in full and without a mortgage, a move that allows buyers to avoid questions from lenders or scrutiny by banks or regulators. One example: BuzzFeed reports 77 percent of the sales at the controversial Trump SoHo Hotel Condominium in Manhattan were to shell companies that paid cash. The Treasury Department has said that those two characteristics in real-estate deal—all-cash transactions and shell-company purchases—may be indicative of money laundering and warrant regulators’s scrutiny. The sales evidently surged in the late 2000s and early 2010s, around the same time period in which Donald Trump Jr. reportedly indicated that the Trump Organization had “a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”