DIAMOND KINGS, LUXURY CONDOS, CORRUPT COPS AND CHINESE SPIES
(And What Trump Has To Do with It?)
THE REAL DEAL: WHO NEEDS TARANTINO?
The 88 Queensway Group had operations throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, Southeast Asia, the US, and was active in North Korea and Russia; the exact details of these projects were unknown. Despite of the companies “private” ownership and Hong Kong address, the evidence pointed that its key personnel had ties to Chinese state-owned enterprises and government agencies, including China’s intelligence. The Group gained high-level access to the governments and national oil companies of the countries in which it invested. Full report at the public site of the government website: U.S.-China Economic & Security Review Commission.(2009)
In 2011, Blackstone bought 51% of one of three properties, the old New York Times Building. In 2015, Jared Kushner’s company bought the remaining 49%.
WHO IS LEV LEVIEV, “DIAMOND KING”?
Leviev’s holding company, Africa Israel Investments, one of New York City’s biggest landlords, owns, owned or held stake in 23 Wall Street, 88 Leonard, and Downtown by Philippe Starck, the Apthorp on the Upper West Side, and a diamond boutique on Madison Avenue. His primary residence, a $70 million home with a $100,000 bulletproof front door, is in London.
In June 2016, Jona Reichberg, the former head of acquisitions for Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments, allegedly arranged to have NYPD officers provide Leviev a personal escort through the Lincoln Tunnel, shutting down a lane for the “King of Diamonds.”
NEW YORK TIMES BUILDING: o tempora o mores
In September 2008, China Sonangol paid Leviev’s companies $50 million (in addition to taking on half the building’s $720 million debt) for a 49% stake in the former New York Times Building.
In August 2011, Leviev’s company sold the top 12 floors of this building for $160 million to Blackstone Group, the largest private landlord in America. Blackstone’s founding CEO is Stephen Schwarzman, Trump’s personal friend and the chair of the the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum.
In May 2015, Kushner Companies, owned by Jared Kushner, announced the purchase of the remaining 51% share of the 250,000-square-foot retail condo of the building for $295 million from Leviev’s Africa AFI Group ‘s (TASE:AFIL) subsidiary Africa-Israel USA and private equity firm Five Mile Capital, according to company reports.
“CORNER”: JP MORGAN BUILDING
In September 2008, China Sonangol purchased the JP Morgan building located at 23 Wall Street for $150 million.
Rotem Rosen, Leviev’s right hand and CEO of AFI-USA, signed the deed. He is a business partner and brother-in-law of Alex Sapir, son of now-deceased Tamir Sapir, owner of Sapir Organization that partnered with Trump and Bayrock.
Rotem Rosen and Alex Sapir accompanied Trump on his visit to Moscow in 2013. Together, they met with Aras Agalarov, an Azeri-born, Moscow-based oligarch and another of Putin’s allies.
FUN IN PICTURES: JOLLY FOLKS FROM GOTHAM
China Sonangol Wall Street LLC and Rotem Rosen’s law office had the same address in Manhattan, 125 Broad. At the time Rosen told Real Estate Weekly that “[China Sonangol] will act as our strategic partner for purchasing more real estate in the United States in the near future.” By now, the building has been unoccupied for years.
MORE FUN READING
In 2015, Aljazeera published the following article that is recommended to read in full as one of the most exciting mob-inspired investigative work I have read so far — and I have read a lot.
Diamonds, dollars, oil, luxury condos, spies, aliases, China, Israel, Africa, North Korea, US, clocks (yes, clocks!) — you name it.
NEW YORK — Across from the New York Stock Exchange, a porter in a pressed black tunic sidesteps the traders and…america.aljazeera.com
*All facts and photos are in public domain and available through using Google. Links to the original sources are included.
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