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A Russian state-owned bank under US sanctions, whose CEO met with President Donald Trump’s son-in-law in December, helped financed the construction of the president’s 65-story Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto, according to a new report.
The bank, Vnesheconombank (VEB), bought $850 million of stock in a Ukrainian steelmaker from billionaire Russian-Canadian developer Alexander Schnaider, who was constructing the hotel at the time, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Shnaider initially purchased the stock via his company, Midland Resources Holding, for about $70 million after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to the Journal.
The money from the sale of that stock to VEB — which the Journal said went through while Russian President Vladimir Putin was chairman of VEB’s supervisory board — was then used to help finance the construction of the Toronto hotel tower “at a key moment for the project.”
From the Journal:
“After Mr. Shnaider and his partner sold their stake in the steelmaker, Mr. Shnaider injected more money into the Trump Toronto project, which was financially troubled. Mr. Shnaider’s lawyer, Symon Zucker, said in an April interview that about $15 million from the asset sale went into the Trump Toronto project. A day later, he wrote in an email: ‘I am not able to confirm that any funds’ from the deal ‘went into the Toronto project.'”
Symon Zucker, Shnaider’s lawyer, did not immediately respond to request for comment from Business Insider. But he told the Journal that Midland Resources “has never had any relationship with VEB” and “does not dictate where their purchasers borrow funds.”
The Trump Organization has distanced itself from the Toronto project, which faced financial difficulties last year. The company “merely licensed its brand and manages the hotel…