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Felix Henry Sater /ˈstər/ (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky;[4][5] Russian: Фе́ликс Миха́йлович Шеферовский; March 2, 1966) is a Russian-American mobster, convicted felon, [6] real estate developer and former managing director of Bayrock Group LLC,[7] a real estate conglomerate based out of New York City. Sater has been an advisor to many corporations, including The Trump Organization,[8] Rixos Hotels and Resorts, Sembol Construction, Potok (formerly the Mirax Group), and TxOil.

Felix Sater
Born
Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky

(1966-03-02) March 2, 1966 (age 53)
Other names
EducationPace University
OccupationReal estate developer
Years active1989–present
Spouse(s)Viktoria Sater

In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia,[9][10] and became an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors, assisting with organized crime investigations. In 2017, Sater agreed to cooperate with investigators into international money laundering schemes.[11]

During the 2015-16 American presidential campaign, Sater worked with Michael Cohen, former attorney for The Trump Organization, to broker a deal to build a Trump Tower Moscow, asserting to Cohen that he could boost Trump’s election prospects through his Russian contacts.

Contents

Early life and familyEdit

Sater was born in Moscow into a Russian Jewish family, the son of Mikhail Sheferovsky and Rachel Sheferovskaya. He has a sister, Regina. The family emigrated to Israel when Felix was 8 years old to avoid religious persecution in the Soviet Union, and eventually came to the United States, living in Baltimore, Maryland before settling in Brighton Beach, New York in 1974.[2] Felix and his sister adopted the surname Sater. Mikhail Sheferovsky (also known as Michael Sheferofsky) states that the family name was Saterov at some point (Сатаров).[12] According to the FBI, Mikhail Sheferovsky was an underboss for Russian Mafia "boss of bosses" Semion Mogilevich and convicted of extorting money from local restaurants, grocery stores, and a medical clinic.[13]

Felix Sater is reportedly a childhood friend of Michael Cohen.[14]

Business and advisory careerEdit

Sater attended Pace University, dropping out at the age of 18[2][15] to work on Wall Street, initially as a cold-caller at Bear Stearns.[16][17][18] He subsequently worked at brokerages Ladenburg Thalmann, Broadchild Securities, Rooney Pace, Shearson, Moseley Securities, Gruntal & Co., and Lehman Brothers.[16][19][18] In 1991 he assaulted a commodities broker in a bar[2][20] and was convicted of first-degree assault in 1993;[21] he spent 15 months in prison[22] and was barred thenceforth by the National Association of Securities Dealers from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm.[2][19]

A few years later, Sater changed paths to real estate, and eventually became a senior advisor for several corporations and industries in fields including real estate, hospitality, investing, and oil.[citation needed]

Sater served as the senior advisor to Chairman Fettah Tamince of Rixos Otelleri, a Turkish hotel and resort company, starting in 2005.[citation needed] In 2007, he spent time as the senior advisor of Sembol Construction, a privately-held construction company based in Istanbul, Turkey.[citation needed]

In January 2008, Sater joined the Russian real estate company Mirax Group as a senior advisor to Sergei Polonsky, and stayed with the company through the integration of Mirax into the holding company Potok in 2011.[citation needed] In 2009, he became a managing director at Global Habitat Solutions, a New York City housing, energy, and infrastructure conglomerate. Since September 2011, Sater has been a senior advisor at TxOil, a Turkmenistan-based oil company.[citation needed]

Work with the Bayrock GroupEdit

Sater joined Bayrock Group as a senior advisor in 2003 at the behest of the company's owner and founder, Tevfik Arif. As a senior advisor, he assisted with several projects, including executive decisions in the Trump SoHo project.[23]

Trump SoHoEdit

Felix Sater was a managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, as well as a senior advisor to Donald Trump and The Trump Organization when construction of the Trump SoHo began in 2006.[20][disputed ]

He played a major role throughout the process of the building's construction, and remained managing director of Bayrock Group when the Trump SoHo project was completed in 2010. The building is a $450 million, 46-story, 391-unit hotel condominium located at 246 Spring Street in SoHo, New York City. The project was a collaboration between The Trump Organization, Bayrock Group LLC and Tamir Sapir.

In December 2017, the Trump SoHo was renamed to The Dominick.

Other projectsEdit

Sater has been an advisor, investor, or developer in notable real estate projects including the Trump International Hotel & Residence in Phoenix, Arizona, the Conrad Fort Lauderdale and Midtown Miami in Florida, and Cornwall Terrace and 1 Blackfriars in London.[24][25]

In addition to real estate development endeavors, Sater also has started businesses in the fields of philanthropy, investment, retail, and energy.[26]

In late January 2017, Sater met with Ukrainian politician Andrey Artemenko and Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, at the Loews Regency in Manhattan to discuss a plan to lift sanctions against Russia. The proposed plan would require that Russian forces withdraw from eastern Ukraine and that Ukraine hold a referendum on whether Crimea should be "leased" to Russia for 50 or 100 years.[27] On 20 February 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected Russia "leasing" Crimea from Ukraine claiming "we cannot rent from ourselves".[28]

Criminal convictions and federal cooperationEdit

Felix Sater has been described as a career criminal due to his links to organized crime.[29][30][31][32][33] In 1991, Sater got into an argument with a commodities broker at the El Rio Grande restaurant and bar in Midtown Manhattan. He stabbed the man's cheek and neck with the stem of a cocktail glass, breaking his jaw, lacerating his face, and severing nerves, creating a wound that would require 110 stitches to treat. Sater was convicted of first degree assault, and spent 15 months in minimum security Edgecombe Correctional Facility in New York City before being paroled.[34][2][22] In 1998, Sater was convicted of fraud in connection to a $40 million penny stock pump and dump scheme conducted by the Russian Mafia[9][10] involving his company White Rock Partners. In return for a guilty plea, Sater agreed to assist the FBI and federal prosecutors as an informant in organized crime. In 2009, he was sentenced to pay a $25,000 fine and served no prison time. As a result of his assistance, Sater's court records were sealed for 10 years by Loretta Lynch, then the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Lynch's decision to seal his records was discussed at her 2015 Congressional confirmation hearings to become attorney general; she stated that Sater provided "information crucial to national security and the conviction of over 20 individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud and members of La Cosa Nostra."[35][36][37][38]

The Financial Times, citing five sources with knowledge of the matter, reported that Sater had agreed to cooperate with investigators looking into an international money laundering scheme involving Viktor Khrapunov, a former government minister in Kazakhstan. Khrapunov, who now lives in Switzerland, has been accused by the Kazakhstani government of embezzling millions of dollars and is wanted by Interpol.[11]

Sater received multiple subpoenas to produce documents and be deposed in the case against Mukhtar Ablyazov who is alleged to have defrauded BTA Bank of up to $5 billion as chairman.[39] Ablyazov's alleged fraud is one of the biggest cases of financial fraud in history.[40]

Involvement with Trump Organization during presidential campaignEdit

The Trump Organization pursued a luxury hotel and condominium project in Moscow—dubbed the Trump Tower Moscow—during the Trump presidential campaign. This project was facilitated by Michael Cohen, then an attorney for the Trump Organization, and from January 2016 to May 2017 Trump's personal attorney. Trump signed a nonbinding "letter of intent" dated October 13, 2015, to proceed with the project.[41] The letter, also signed by Russian investor Andrei Rozov, was forwarded to Cohen by Sater. He boasted to Cohen about his connections to Vladimir Putin, saying in an email to Cohen on November 13, 2015, "Buddy our boy can become president of the USA and we can engineer it. I will get all of Putins [sic] team to buy in on this. I will manage this process." He also asserted that he had secured financing for the project through the Russian state-owned VTB Bank, which was under sanctions by the United States government.[42] BuzzFeed News reported on March 12, 2018, that Mueller's investigators had questioned Sater,[43] and on April 13, 2018, reported that a former Russian spy had helped secure financing for the project.[44] In 2010, Sater was provided business cards describing himself as "Senior Advisor to Donald Trump" with an email address at TrumpOrg.com.[45] In a 2013 sworn affidavit, Trump said "If [Sater] were sitting in the room right now, I really wouldn't know what he looked like,"[46] and in 2015 he stated "Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I'm not that familiar with him."[47] Trump has been photographed several times with Sater, including while speaking privately with him.[48][49][50][51] Sater was scheduled to testify publicly before the House Intelligence Committee on March 27, 2019,[52] but following the release of the Mueller Report, this testimony was delayed for a second time.[53]

Personal lifeEdit

Sater resides in Port Washington, New York. He has three daughters. His wife, Viktoria, is the founder and owner of a granola health food company.[54][55] Felix Sater was a member of the Chabad of Port Washington and was named their Man of the Year in 2010 and 2014.[56][57] In November 2017, Sater put his home in Sands Point, New York on the market for $2.5 million.[58] The home sold in February 2019 for $2.03 million.[59]

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Kozlovasky, Vladimir (17 July 2017). "Фе́ликс Сейтер: жизнь между Трампом, ФБР и русской мафией" [Felix Sater: Lfe among Trump, the FBI and the Russian mafia]. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Bagli, Charles V. (December 17, 2007). "Real Estate Executive With Hand in Trump Projects Rose From Tangled Past". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Hall, Kevin (28 July 2017). "Meet the ex-con who ties himself to Trump". McClatchy. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  4. ^ Babushkin, Yevgeny (15 November 2016). "Фе́ликс Сатер: Как я советовал Трампу и охотился на Бен Ладена". snob.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 21 August 2017. Бывший москвич Феликс Сатер, урожденный Шеферовский — человек редкой судьбы. (Former Muscovite Felix Sater, born Sheferovsky, is a man of rare fate.)
  5. ^ Bratersky, Alexander (30 March 2017). Сенат США сделал устный доклад о России [US Senate held hearing on Russia]. Gazeta.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 21 August 2017. Среди персон, попавших в поле зрения сенаторов, — бывший москвич Феликс Сатер, урожденный Фе́ликс Шерефовский. (Among the people the senators have in their sites is the former Muscovite Felix Sater, born Felix Sherefovsky (sic).)
  6. ^ Wood, Paul (23 May 2018). "Trump lawyer 'paid by Ukraine' to arrange White House talks". BBC. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  7. ^ Price, Greg (April 4, 2018) "WHO IS FELIX SATER? FORMER TRUMP BUSINESS ASSOCIATE TALKING TO SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE". Newsweek.
  8. ^ Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman (28 August 2017). "Felix Sater, Trump Associate, Boasted That Moscow Business Deal 'Will Get Donald Elected'". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump". Washington Post. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Trump, the Russian Lawyer and the Pop Star: President's Links to Azerbaijan Oligarch Come Under Scrutiny". Newsweek. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b Burgis, Tom (6 July 2017). "Russia-born dealmaker linked to Trump assists laundering probe". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  12. ^ Kozlovsky, Vladimir (13 June 2016). Советник с большой дороги [Adviser on the big road]. The New Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  13. ^ "Trump's Russian Laundromat". The New Republic. 13 July 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Active Measures director says Trump's Russian mob ties are his biggest legal vulnerability - CBC Radio".
  15. ^ O'Brien, Timothy L. (June 21, 2017). "Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  16. ^ a b Hettena, Seth. "Felix Sater's Wall Street Days". Trump/Russia. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  17. ^ Rice, Andrew (August 3, 2017). "The Original Russia Connection". New York. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Joshua Bernstein vs. Bayrock Group LLC: Felix H. Sater" (deposition). New York Southern District Court. March 9, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Felix Henry Sater". BrokerCheck.FINRA.org. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Mosk, Matthew; Ross, Brian (December 10, 2015). "Memory Lapse? Trump Seeks Distance From 'Advisor' With Past Ties to Mafia". ABC News. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  21. ^ Gitlin, Todd (June 21, 2016). "The Donald Trump Story You're Not Hearing About". BillMoyers.com. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  22. ^ a b "Felix Sater: The Crook Behind the Trump-Russia 'Peace' Plan". The Daily Beast. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  23. ^ Silverman, Gary (14 August 2016). "US election: Trump's Russian riddle". Financial Times.
  24. ^ "Felix Sater Project Portfolio", Retrieved on 28 February 2016.
  25. ^ "Felix Sater - Behance.Net Profile", Retrieved on 13 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Felix Sater - The Trump SoHo and Other Projects: Felixsater.net", Retrieved on 12 March 2016.
  27. ^ Twohey, Megan; Shane, Scott (19 February 2017). "A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates". The New York Times.
  28. ^ Russia can't rent Crimea from Russia, FM Lavrov says, Pravda.Ru (20 February 2017)
  29. ^ "Felix Sater Is a Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine". 29 August 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  30. ^ "Russiagate's Second Smoking Gun".
  31. ^ "Who is Felix Sater? Meet the shady Russian investor who may be a centerpiece of the investigation". 23 June 2017.
  32. ^ "Trumps Can Never Really Check Out of SoHo Hotel". 22 November 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  33. ^ "On MSNBC Steven Harper Talks About the Moscow Tower Deal That 'Will Get Donald Elected'".
  34. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S.; Hamburger, Tom (May 17, 2016). "Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump". The Washington Post.
  35. ^ Tanfani, Joseph; Cloud, David S. (March 2, 2017). "Trump business associate led double life as FBI informant — and more, he says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 14, 2017.
  36. ^ Kennedy, Marlene. "Convictions Won't Keep Civil RICO Suit Alive" Archived 2016-03-15 at the Wayback Machine, Courthouse News Service, New York City, 24 March 2014. Retrieved on 14 March 2016.
  37. ^ Horwitz, Jeff (March 21, 2016). "Judge asks US to defend secrecy of Trump associate's history". San Diego Tribune. Associated Press.
  38. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S.; Hamburger, Tom (May 17, 2016). "Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump". Washington Post.
  39. ^ "Trump Crony Felix Sater Now Cooperating in New York in Kazakh/BTA Bank Trial". dailykos.
  40. ^ "Arrest warrant for Kazakh billionaire accused of one of world's biggest frauds". The Guardian.
  41. ^ Apuzzo, Matt; Haberman, Maggie (August 28, 2017). "Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal 'Will Get Donald Elected'". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 13, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via NYTimes.com.
  42. ^ Apuzzo, Matt; Haberman, Maggie (28 August 2017). "Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal 'Will Get Donald Elected'" – via NYTimes.com.
  43. ^ Cormier, Anthony; Leopold, Jason (March 12, 2018). "How A Player In The Trump–Russia Scandal Led A Double Life As An American Spy". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  44. ^ Leopold, Jason; Cormier, Anthony (April 13, 2018). "Former Russian Spy Worked On Trump Moscow Deal While Trump Was Running For President". BuzzFeed News. Archived from the original on April 13, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  45. ^ Mosk, Matthew; Ross, Brian (December 10, 2015). "Memory Lapse? Trump Seeks Distance From 'Advisor' With Past Ties to Mafia". ABC News. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  46. ^ Dreyfuss, Bob (September 8, 2017). "Who Is Felix Sater, and Why Is Donald Trump So Afraid of Him?". The Nation. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018. Retrieved April 13, 2018 – via www.thenation.com.
  47. ^ Horwitz, Jeff (December 4, 2015). "Trump picked stock fraud felon as senior adviser". Associated Press. Archived from the original on December 4, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  48. ^ McIntire, Mike; Twohey, Megan; Mazzetti, Mark (November 29, 2018). "How a Lawyer, a Felon and a Russian General Chased a Moscow Trump Tower Deal" – via NYTimes.com.
  49. ^ Ward, Alex (December 6, 2018). "Felix Sater, the spy, criminal, and mafia-linked executive tied to Trump Tower Moscow, explained". Vox.
  50. ^ Ferguson, Sarah; McGregor, Jeanavive; Carter, Lucy (June 4, 2018). "Criminal, real estate developer, terrorist hunter — and a key part of the Mueller probe". ABC News.
  51. ^ Prokop, Andrew (August 28, 2017). "A Trump associate bragged that a business deal with Putin could "get Donald elected"". Vox.
  52. ^ "Trump associate Felix Sater's testimony postponed to March 27". 8 March 2019 – via www.reuters.com.
  53. ^ "House Intel panel postpones interview with Felix Sater to focus on Mueller findings". The Hill. 25 March 2019.
  54. ^ Wylie, Melissa (May 12, 2017). "Why grocers scooped up Viki's Granola". American City Business Journals. Retrieved May 12, 2017.
  55. ^ "5 Questions with Woman of Influence, Viki's Granola's Viki Sater". Project Eve. January 20, 2016.
  56. ^ "Dinner 2010: Felix Sater". Retrieved on 29 February 2016. Archived 2 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ "Felix Sater - Man Of The Year: Chabad of Port Washington". Retrieved on 29 February 2016.
  58. ^ "Trump Associate Felix Sater Selling His $2.5M Long Island Manse". realtor.com News. Retrieved 16 March 2018.
  59. ^ "Felix Sater, Real Estate Developer With Ties to Trump, Sells NY Home for $2M". realtor.com. realtor.com. Retrieved 28 February 2019.