Russian Government Granted Amnesty to the Chairman of the Trump Tower Moscow Development Company
On April 24, 2015, Andrey Rozov, accused of negligent homicide, was granted amnesty by way of Government Proclamation.
By: Scott Stedman
In the lead up to Donald Trump’s announcement of his presidential bid in Spring 2015, the Russian Government granted amnesty to Andrey Rozov, the Chairman of IC Expert, who four months later would sign a Letter of Intent (LOI) to build Trump Tower in Moscow City. Rozov was accused of negligent homicide in the death of a 19-year-old man.
Official court records, translated by Indiana University alumnus Lorenz Cohen, a Russian speaker, show that hundreds of defendants were granted amnesty by the State Duma in the early morning hours of April 24, 2015. In the same hour that the order of amnesty was released, Trump retweeted at least seven supporters encouraging him to run for President.
Four days later on April 28, a Moscow City Court officially applied the amnesty to Rozov’s case. Prosecutors alleged that Rozov was recklessly driving his speed boat when he crashed into a smaller boat, killing the man and seriously injuring a 23-year-old female.
The court records also show that an appeal by one of the victims was denied on June 17, 2015, the same day that Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President. Three weeks later as Trump was taking the lead in the polls for GOP primary, a regional judge appointed by President Putin in 2002 upheld the lower court decision to clear Rozov of all charges.
The intervention of the Russian government in a case where the defendant was facing years in prison raises new questions about the extent of Putin’s involvement in the proposed Trump Tower Moscow deal. Previously, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen suggested that he emailed Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov in order to seek the Russian government’s help to move the project along.
Last week it was discovered that in November of 2015 Russia’s largest state-owned bank, Sberbank, approved a loan to IC Expert just three weeks after signing an LOI with Trump Organization for a luxury hi-rise tower in Moscow City. This fact, coupled with the involvement of the Russian government in clearing Rozov of any charges, suggests that the email to Peskov wasn’t genuine. At least two arms of the Russian government, the judiciary and the state-owned Sberbank, made decisions that allowed Trump and Cohen to pursue the deal.
Earlier this year, Michael Cohen had stated that he “abandoned the Moscow proposal because [he] lost confidence that the prospective licensee would be able to obtain the real estate, financing and government approvals necessary to bring the proposal to fruition.”
The previously undisclosed loan, coupled with a grant of amnesty just six months prior to the deal, suggests that Cohen’s statements are not accurate.
IC Expert currently faces dozens of accusations from investors and homeowners who say their homes and buildings are unfinished more than two years after their promised completion.
The Letter of Intent was the outcome of a Russian-born Trump adviser’s quest to, “help world peace and make a lot of money.” Felix Sater, a former business partner and senior adviser to Donald Trump, acted as an intermediary between the Russians and the Trump team to bring Trump’s brand to Moscow. Sater and Rozov previously served together on the executive board of a real estate company called Mirax-Group until the company was liquidated and rebranded in 2011.
In 2011 Mirax-Group also received a loan from Sberbank to build the “tallest building in Europe,” to the tune of $370 million. The founder of Mirax-Group, Sergei Polonsky, was found guilty of two cases of major fraud and embezzlement in 2017. State prosecutors alleged that he stole “more than 5.7 billion roubles (now $94 million) of prepayments for flats in an unfinished Moscow complex it was building.”
Felix Sater also has a long and storied history with law enforcement. In 1991 he stabbed a man in the face with a margarita glass and ended up serving 15 months in prison. In 1998 he pleaded guilty and became an FBI informant to a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia.
He and his real-estate firm, Bayrock Group, partnered with Donald Trump in 2006 to build Trump SoHo. When the building was finished in 2010, Sater was a senior advisor to Donald Trump. The Bayrock office was located just two floors below the Trump Organization headquarters in Trump Tower. Alan Garten, a senior Trump Organization attorney, told ABC News in August that “there’s really no direct relationship” between Sater and the Trump organization. In a 2013 deposition, Trump claimed, “If he were sitting in the room right now I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” When Trump was asked about his connections to Sater by the BBC in 2015, Trump stood up and left the room mid-interview.
The connections to Sater, Rozov, and the mystery offshore companies in Cyprus and The Marshall Islands that own IC Expert leave Trump unprotected from those who wish to obtain blackmail on the businessman-turned-President. When connected to an adversarial government, this blackmail can be used to influence policy on a global scale.
The condensed timeline of the Rozov case in parallel to Trump’s activities is below.
April 24, 2015
- A proclamation of amnesty is declared by the Russian State Duma. This amnesty will be applied to the Rozov case.
- Trump engages on Twitter, retweeting supporters who encourage him to run for President
- Trump gives keynote address to the Chesterfield GOP in Virginia, where he states, “If I run and if I win, this country will not be ripped off anymore.”
April 29, 2015
- Moscow (Krasnogorsk) City Court terminates the case of Andrey Rozov by applying the amnesty proclamation to his case.
- Trump, at event in Iowa, says, “we have to fix the country. It’s ill. It’s not feeling well. It’s been mistreated. It’s been scoffed at. It’s been run by incompetent people. It’s been run by dishonest and crooked people,” Trump said during the speech. “It’s been treated badly, and it needs help, and it needs it quickly.”
- Trump again tweets multiple users, indicating he is running for President
June 16, 2015
- Donald Trump announces run for President
- Moscow Regional Court upholds the lower court’s decision to clear Rozov.