Felix Henry Sater (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky; Russian: Фе́ликс Миха́йлович Шеферовский; March 2, 1966) is an American former mobster, real estate developer and former managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate conglomerate based out of New York City. Sater has been an advisor to many corporations, including The Trump Organization, Rixos Hotels and Resorts, Sembol Construction, Potok (formerly the Mirax Group), and TxOil.
March 2, 1966
|Residence||New York City, New York|
|Occupation||Real estate developer|
In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia, 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.
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. 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). 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.
Business and advisory careerEdit
Sater attended Pace University, dropping out at the age of 18 to work on Wall Street, initially as a cold-caller at Bear Stearns. He subsequently worked at brokerages Ladenburg Thalmann, Broadchild Securities, Rooney Pace, Shearson, Moseley Securities, Gruntal & Co., and Lehman Brothers. In 1991 he assaulted a commodities broker in a bar and was convicted of first-degree assault in 1993; he spent 15 months in prison and was barred thenceforth by the National Association of Securities Dealers from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm.
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.
Sater served as the senior advisor to Chairman Fettah Tamince of Rixos Otelleri, a Turkish hotel and resort company, starting in 2005. In 2007, he spent time as the senior advisor of Sembol Construction, a privately-held construction company based in Istanbul, Turkey.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition to real estate development endeavors, Sater also has started businesses in the fields of philanthropy, investment, retail, and energy.
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. On 20 February 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected Russia "leasing" Crimea from Ukraine claiming "we cannot rent from ourselves".
Criminal convictions and federal cooperationEdit
Felix Sater has been described as a career criminal due to his links to organized crime. 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. In 1998, Sater was convicted of fraud in connection to a $40 million penny stock pump and dump scheme conducted by the Russian Mafia 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."
Articles about Russia's potential interference with the 2016 election of Donald Trump report that Felix Sater played a role in trying to assist Russia. According to the New York Times and other sources In July 2017, 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.
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. Ablyazov's alleged fraud is one of the biggest cases of financial fraud in history.
Sater resides in Port Washington, New York. He has three daughters. Felix Sater was a member of the Chabad of Port Washington and was named their Man of the Year in 2010 and 2014. In November 2017, Sater put his home in Sands Point, New York on the market for $2.5 million.
- Frank, Thomas (January 12, 2018). "Secret Money: How Trump Made Millions Selling Condos To Unknown Buyers." BuzzFeed News.
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Бывший москвич Феликс Сатер, урожденный Шеферовский — человек редкой судьбы. (Former Muscovite Felix Sater, born Sheferovsky, is a man of rare fate.)
- 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).)
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- "Trump Associate Felix Sater Selling His $2.5M Long Island Manse". realtor.com News. Retrieved 16 March 2018.