Donald J. Trump Jr. was the Keynote speaker alongside two Putin allies in Russian government service at the Russian Real Estate Summit in 2008.
One Putin ally was an elected legislator in the Duma or national parliament of his party, and the other a senior trade official involved in organizing development around the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, in which the Russian President was widely involved.
It’s the latest #TrumpLeaks revelation strongly linking the Trump Organization’s international businesses to Russia coming from the Democratic Coalition’s Scott Dworkin.
Notably, the newly discovered Russian Real Estate Summit event page differentiates for the first time that Donald Trump Jr. was actually the Keynote speaker at the event run by Adam Smith Conferences, whose parent company is in the UK.
Importantly, the links and photos Democratic Coalition's Dworkin released today which elevates Trump Jr.’s participation level to featured, also includes photographic evidence from Itar-TASS which confirms that Kommersant obtained his remarks at a formal press conference, possibly even via a press release which reads in the extended subtitle:
The Trump Organization corporation has announced that it wants to build elite housing and hotels in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sochi, and to sell licenses to other developers to use the Trump name, according to Donald Trump, Jr., speaking at the “Real Estate in Russia” conference.
It’s unknown if Trump Jr. collected a fee for his Russian Real Estate Summit speech, but his speaker’s bureau listing says he commands over $40,000 per appearance - and provides important context to his activities in these conferences.
“We have repeatedly heard from the Trump campaign and The Trump Organization that no one in the family has conducted business in Russia,” said the Democratic Coalition’s senior advisor Scott Dworkin, “but now we see Donald Trump, Jr. as the keynote speaker at a Russian real estate conference described as ‘a key date in the calendar of ALL top real estate professionals, who are interested, or currently doing business in the Real Estate sector in Russia.’
“At some point we have to ask ourselves when do we stop taking Trump’s word and start looking at the facts?”
One Speaker Was A Duma Member From Putin’s United Russia Party
Valery Victorovich Panov, Ph. D. was also a speaker with Trump Jr. at the 2008 Russian Real Estate Summit.
Back then, Valery Panov was a member of the Duma’s Committee on Credit Organizations and Financial Markets according to the US-Russia Business Council, and he may have also been on land development committees.
Since 2012, Panov’s career has gone bust, he was accused of murder but without reports of any resolution.
Since 2015 he’s been a wanted man by Interpol, who issued a warrant for his arrest on bribery charges.
His guilt or innocence or actual involvement in those cases is totally unknown, nor do we know or suspect of any continuing direct involvement with the Trump Organization.
But it is highly possible that Donald Trump Jr. may have personally networked or formed a relationship with with the former Duma member based on his later statements about paid speaking activities.
Reports suspect that Panov fled to America, but his whereabouts remain unknown and his story is a perfect example of the pitfalls of a system like Russia’s, where high-ranking political officials are frequently subjected to criminal court system intrigues.
High Government Official Promoting Sochi Development Where Putin Hosted The Most Expensive Winter Olympics In History
Since then she has spoken in the United States about tourism and the economic plans for the region according to the US-Russia Business Council.
As recently as 2016 Lean Summit, Andreeva has made public appearances as the agency’s director.
The Russian resort town of Sochi gained worldwide attention after winning a 2007 bid to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The 2008 Russian real estate summit was held right after the 2014 Winter Olympics had been awarded to the lakefront city of Sochi as energy prices were high and the country boomed.
Krasnodar region includes Sochi, the city which received up to $50 billion in state and oligarch spending on a Winter Olympic Games widely associated with Vladimir Putin.
Olga Andreeva’s job would’ve entailed being a high government official contact to manage large scale investments into Sochi and its surroudning region which entailed building all of the infrastructure to construct ski resorts and a a tourism economy at the lakefront city.
A still evolving Russian state-sponsored sports cheating scandal was busted after Sochi, and the event was produced at the expense of up to $50 billion dollars in state and oligarch funds (nobody knows the exact figure)
Russian opposition leaders lobbed serious charges of public corruption at the state organizers of the 2014 Winter Olympic games in Sochi, which CNN reported contemporaneously that “President Vladimir Putin's reputation is on the line and no expense has been spared to stage the Games next month.”
Again, there’s no proven link to Andreeva and the Trump Organization after the conference, but Trump Jr. certainly would’ve had the opportunity to meet her, and her position likely put her in touch with some of the largest players in Russia’s economy to build Sochi.
The Summit’s Other Illustrious Participants
Other prominent speakers at the 2008 conference ranged from the relatively mundane - a St. Petersberg luxury real estate developer whose firm was partially purchased by Morgan Stanley, to the intriguing - the current CEO of the Russian financial and real estate conglomerate Garant-Invest.
No further stories could be found linking Donald Trump Jr. to the CEO of Garant-Invest or to that exactly same named group.
It could just be a coincidence, but there is one partner of the Trump Organization who is using the name “Garant,” but Trump’s the failed 33-story hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan is done in a partnership with a company named Garant.
The Garant company building a hotel is however directly linked to the ruling oligarchy in Azerbaijan according to media reports, which itself is a former state of the Soviet Union.
Garant could be a common trade name, or that could indicate a link, but that is truly unknown at this time by the author.
Trump Jr. On Making Relationships In Russia And The Former Soviet States Through Speaking Engagements
Amazingly, a link in Donald Trump Jr.’s speaker’s bureau listing goes to an on the record candid 10-minute video interview (see below), which he gave about the family business in Riga, Latvia in 2012.
Trump Jr. elaborated on how he treats paid speaking opportunities:
“While I'm speaking at a conference i usually it ends up being a great opportunity to network to meet other people that are doing things both here and all over the world,” Donald Trump Jr. told his Latvian interviewers in 2012, where he would meet people that, “would be interested in collaborating. So for me, you know, a big part of my job is just forming those friendships that often lead to partnerships.”
Trump Jr. also noted in the interview (in full below) that he’s been traveling to Eastern Europe since visiting his grandfather in the former Czechoslovakia in 1980, and that he’s traveled to Russia a great many times, and he is even fluent in Czech. (Trump Jr. also told his interviewers major falsehood, claiming that the Trump Organization invented the condominium-hotel in the mid-90s.)
More importantly, Donald Trump Jr. revealed candidly to his Latvian interviewers that there was a pending Trump business plan in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Again, the Baku hotel deal may or may not be related to the contacts he made at the 2008 conference, but one thing is certain, a hotel was built.
The resulting 33-story Trump Hotel isn’t finished and cannot open its doors, and built in partnership with the son of a government minister suspected of money laundering and a company named Garant in Baku.
The Trump International Hotel & Tower in Baku was yanked from the Trump Organization’s website last year, leading to the AP’s extensive report of Trump’s business partnering with criminals around the world, and in New York.
Like many of Trump’s failed enterprises he’s still been paid handsomely, collecting over $3 million in fees since 2014.
The international business of the Trump Organization has raised numerous red flags as possibly unconstitutional emoluments to the President-elect.
Ultimately, without a copy of Donald Trump’s tax returns, it is impossible to decide if Donald Trump Jr.’s speaking gigs yielded fruitful relationships, or if the Trump Organization continued to work with any of the listed speakers.
What is certain though, is that the Trump Organization has conducted a very significant business in the former Soviet states surrounding Russia.
Donald Trump Jr. definitely has extensive business experience in Russia, enough to be the Keynote speaker of a Russian Real Estate conference almost nine years ago, long before the spotlight of this year’s presidential campaign.
In the video below, Trump Jr. casually describes the importance of building relationships at speaking engagements.
The facts of this story show two people of high position in the Russian government that spoke at the same conference where Trump Jr. gave the Keynote speech.
Clearly, Donald Trump Jr. in his role as Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization owned by his father - the President-elect Donald Trump - has business ties to Russia that go back a decade or much, much longer.
Both Trump Jr. and his father have denied Russian ties, but the son’s appearance at a Russian press conference confirms that those Trump denials are false.