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Mon Aug 12, 2019, 09:01 PM

"Here's to fun times" in Moscow... [View all]

Fun times indeed. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's 448-page report highlights three separate proposals to develop a Trump property in Moscow around the time of the election. Yet key details have remained vague. Forbes got in touch with the people at the center of all three—and uncovered concrete answers to fundamental questions about Trump's plans in Russia.

Such as who was actually going to pay for the project. Trump, now more of a licensor than builder, certainly wasn't planning on putting in much of his own money. And according to Sater, who brokered the proposal that extended furthest into the campaign, nor was Trump's official partner, Andrey Rozov. Instead, Sater says, he was cooking up a plan to raise huge sums from additional investors, including two of Vladimir Putin's closest cronies, Boris and Arkady Rotenberg. "We would have gone to them and asked them for four or five hundred million dollars cash," Sater says.

Another big, previously unsettled question: How much money could Trump have made in all of this? Both Mueller and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen have suggested, vaguely, "hundreds of millions." After mining business agreements and surveying real estate experts in Moscow, however, Forbes believes that's almost impossible. It seems more likely that Trump would have walked away with roughly $35 million up front and $2.6 million or so in annual fees, if everything went according to plan. In the rosiest of scenarios, Sater says, Trump could have gotten about $50 million.


The headline of this Forbes article is "The Truth Behind Trump Tower Moscow: How Trump Risked Everything For A (Relatively) Tiny Deal." And, by attempting to con an ex-KGB agent and rob two of his friends, Trump has essentially "risked everything." Does anyone else plan to con or rob an ex-KGB agent? They are similar to CIA and MI6 agents: They never truly retire from their respective agencies.

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