Today, Free Speech For People called on state and federal law enforcement to investigate whether the Trump Organization and its executives, including President Trump, have been involved in criminal activity at the Trump Ocean Club Panama.
Earlier this year, we asked the New York Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York to investigate the Trump Organization and its executives, including Mr. Trump, for corrupt dealings with foreign investors. A recent report by Global Witness provides substantial new evidence (much of it previously unreported) in support of these investigations. The report, Narco-a-Lago: Money Laundering at the Trump Ocean Club Panama, describes how the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower in Panama became a haven for money laundering.
The Narco-a-Lago report discusses several highly suspicious transactions during the Trump Ocean Club’s 2006-07 pre-construction sales period. One buyer was a notorious Colombian narcotics trafficker who the previous U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York described as the “Bernie Madoff of Colombia.” And the Narco-a-Lago report alleges that a key broker attracted multiple Russian and Eastern European buyers with suspected links to criminal activity. Furthermore, money laundering may have continued even after the Trump Ocean Club’s formal opening in July 2011.
The alleged use of the Trump Ocean Club for money laundering purposes redounded to the financial benefit of the Trump Organization and of now-President Trump. To be sure, the Narco-a-Lago report does not specifically allege that particular Trump Organization executives, including Mr. Trump, were personally aware of this money laundering at their project. But two factors warrant an investigation. First, two of Mr. Trump’s own children, Eric and Ivanka, were reportedly closely involved with overseeing the project. Second, the Trump Organization’s history of suspicious foreign investments suggests that the company, and Mr. Trump personally, take little care to ensure that their projects do not facilitate money laundering or other international criminal conspiracies. Indeed, in May 2012, Mr. Trump told CNBC that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, a cornerstone of U.S. law against international corruption, is a “horrible law” that “should be changed.”
The Trump Organization appears to have cultivated a practice of deliberate ignorance of money laundering at some of its foreign projects. This was unacceptable even before its entanglement with the White House, but now that the Trump Organization and the White House have effectively merged, a criminal investigation—and potential revocation of the Trump Organization’s corporate charter—is even more urgent.