Last week we learned that Donald Trump’s private attorneys initially advised him not to sign his 2016 financial disclosure statements, affirming the information to be true. That seems like a red flag that the information may not be accurate, no? And, of course, Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns from previous years, hiding the exact sources of income (or losses). One reason why he might be sitting on those returns? Money laundering. CNN reports Trump’s Taj Mahal Casino had a whopping 106 citations in only 18 months:
The Trump Taj Mahal casino broke anti-money laundering rules 106 times in its first year and a half of operation in the early 1990s, according to the IRS in a 1998 settlement agreement.It's a bit of forgotten history that's buried in federal records held by an investigative unit of the Treasury Department, records that congressional committees investigating Trump's ties to Russia have obtained access to, CNN has learned.The casino repeatedly failed to properly report gamblers who cashed out $10,000 or more in a single day, the government said.
Who was spending all that money in Trump’s Taj Mahal?
The violations date back to a time when the Taj Mahal was the preferred gambling spot for Russian mobsters living in Brooklyn, according to federal investigators who tracked organized crime in New York City. They also occurred at a time when the Taj Mahal casino was short on cash and on the verge of bankruptcy.
The casino went into bankruptcy during this same time period.
The Taj Mahal emerged from bankruptcy in late 1991, and Trump sold 50% of his stake to bondholders.
In 2015, the Taj Mahal was again pegged for violating money-laundering laws and paid a huge $10 million fine related to casino money laundering:
The Senate Intelligence Committee has requested information about President Donald Trump and his top aides from a financial intelligence unit in the Treasury Department that imposed a $10 million civil penalty on Trump Taj Mahal in 2015 for multiple violations of anti-money laundering laws.
The committee wants to see any information relevant to its Russia investigation the Treasury agency has gathered, including evidence that might include possible money laundering, according to a committee aide who spoke on condition of anonymity. Also at issue: to what extent, if at all, people close to Vladimir Putin have invested in Trump's real estate empire.
In that case, the government said only roughly half of ”suspicious transactions” were reported to the IRS:
A lawyer for Trump Taj Mahal, whose parent Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc is also in Chapter 11, did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a request for comment.
The Bank Secrecy Act requires casinos to report suspicious transactions of $5,000 or larger.
Trump Taj Mahal failed to file about half of the required suspicious activity reports during periods covered by two recent IRS reviews, the consent order said.
As the saying goes—follow the money. Let’s hope the Senate Intelligence Committee is on the right track.