A 250 million dollars civil tax fraud involving a Russian American businessman Felix Sater was on Wednesday dismissed by a Manhattan court according to Business Insider. Felix Sater is a former associate of the current American President Mr. Donald Trump and is also the Co-founder of Bayrock which is a real-estate development company. The case was a qui tam case meaning that it was filed by a whistleblower on behalf of the government. In such cases, the attorney general office can opt to intervene on the matter or not.
Fred Oberlander was the whistleblower who filed the case. Fred at one time represented Jody Kriss who was at that time Sater’s business partner. Fred represented Kriss in a money laundering case against Bayrock.
An attorney who was present at the hearing told Business Insider that Oberlander acknowledged having filed the suit based on information that was stricken out in Kriss original complaint by a federal judge.
According to the attorney, the likelihood of the case being dismissed was very high because the information that Oberlander used to file the case had been previously ordered removed from the complaint by the federal judges as was confidential.
The case was later abandoned according to a report from Sater and his lawyer Robert Wolf.
The Attorney General’s office declined to intervene in the matter and in a letter sent to the Supreme Court of New York in February of 2016; Eric Shneiderman claims that Oberlander had issued a misleading statement indicating that he had given the case a clean bill of health. This was a misrepresentation of facts as the state had expressly declined to intervene in the matter. In another statement, the office of the attorney general stated that going forward they will monitor the case and protect the government rights and interests.
According to wolf, Sater’s lawyer the case did not see the light of day as it lacked merit and was not on procedural grounds. Oberlander together with another lawyer who was handling a case against Sater and Richard Lerner had been previously referred to the Department of Justice twice for criminal contempt concerning their misconduct against Sater.
According to a reporter, learner intends to appeal the decision with the aim of tossing the qui tam case.
In the initial lawsuit of 2010, Jody Kriss made allegations against Sater’s firm for being substantially and covertly mob own and operating and running a business that was engaged in a series of continuous related crimes, mail, wire and bank fraud, money laundering, conspiracy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion and more fundamentally tax evasion. However, Kriss was not a party to the quit tam case which was filed by Oberlander.
In addition, Kriss accused Sater and Tevfik Arif who is the founder of Bayrock for having duped him millions of dollars through fraudulent means, money laundering and racketeering among others. The judge handling the case in a ruling agreed that the case should proceed as a racketeering case.
The 2010 lawsuit further detailed how Sater and Arif tried to make a deal with the Trump Organization where they wanted to use the Trump brand to market their projects without disclosing Sater’s criminal record. In a 2007 deposition, Trump defended his organization and stated that had they be told of Sater’s crime history they wouldn’t have dared partner with him to develop Trump SoHo. Trump also stated that he would not be able to recognize Sater even if they were placed in the same room.
However, a person who is familiar with the matter told Business Insider that Bayrock‘s office and Trump’s office were both located in the Trumps Tower on Fifth Avenue and they were just two floors apart and had standing meetings each week. According to Bloomberg in another disposition, Sater claims to have met Trump on a constant basis and according to Kriss Trump Valued Sater’s loyalty and the connections he had with Russia.
In the 2007 disposition also Trump was heard saying that it would be ridiculous of him not to invest in Russia as it was one of the most lucrative places in the world for investments.