According to a new ABC News report, the FBI actually wiretapped Trump Tower in an investigation on Russian criminals in 2013.
The wiretapping was not ordered by former President Obama, but rather was a court-approved FBI investigation on Russian organized crime. ABC reported Tuesday that the FBI eavesdropped on the Russian money-laundering network for two years, as they operated out of unit 63A in Trump Tower.
More than 30 people were indicted in April 2013 by a federal grand jury indictment. One of these high profile people is Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, a notorious Russian mafia boss. Tokhtakhounov is still a fugitive wanted by American authorities, and was able to evade FBI capture.
In late 2013, Tokhtakhounov, known as “Little Taiwanese,” was reportedly seen at Donald Trump’s VIP section for the Moscow Miss Universe pageant. This was seven months after the indictment was placed on Tokhtakhounov, as well as European Interpol placing a warrant on him.
Mike Gaeta, the FBI agent who led the 2013 FBI investigation of Tokhtakhounov’s mafia money laundering and gambling ring, told ABC News in a 2014 interview the following:
“[Tokhtakhounov] is a major player. He is prominent, he has extremely good connections in the business world as well as the criminal world, overseas, in Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, other countries. Because of his status, we have kept tabs on is activities, and particularly as his activities truly enter New York city. Their money was ultimately laundered from Russia, Ukraine and other locations through Cyprus banks and shell companies based in Cyprus, and then ultimately here to the United States.”
Vadim Trincher, a prominent Russian mafia member who pleaded guilty to racketeering and received a five-year prison term, lived in the Trump building.
“Everything was moving in and out of there,” said former FBI official and current ABC News correspondent, Rich Franke. “He would have people come in and meet with them. He would use the phones. He would also communicate, wither it was through e-mail or other communications through there. His base of operations was in the Trump Tower.”
One court document stated the following:
“Mr. Vladim Trincher was on one occasion intercepted speaking with a customer of the gambling operation who owed a debt of $50,000. Trincher told the gambler about an enforcer who works with him named Maxin. He threatens the customer that Maxin would come and find him, would come and find the money, and that he should be careful, lest he be tortured and lest he wind up underground.”
Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller did not respond to ABC News’ requests for further questions about the FBI revelations.
H/T: ABC News
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