Buzzfeed: 21% of Trump condos fit federal criteria for possible money laundering

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A Buzzfeed investigation into Donald Trump’s US condominiums reveals that more than 1,300 Trump-brand condos were purchased by shell companies in cash-only transactions. These types of purchases hide the true owner of each condo and meet the US Treasury’s criteria for possible money laundering.

Real estate purchases 1) made by shell companies and 2) paid without a mortgage are both red flags that the federal government looks for ahead of a money laundering investigation. More than 21% of Trump condo purchases fit the pattern.

All-cash purchases by shell companies do not by themselves indicate illegal or improper activity, and they have become more common in recent years in both Trump buildings and other luxury home sales across the United States. Developers such as Trump have no obligation to scrutinize their purchasers or their funding sources.

But federal investigations “continue to reveal corrupt politicians, drug traffickers and other criminals using shell companies to purchase luxury real estate with cash,” Treasury’s former financial-crimes chief Jennifer Shasky Calvery said at a Capitol Hill hearing in 2016.

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