According to Business Insider, a court in Manhattan quashed a $250 million civil tax fraud case against Felix Sater, a Russian-American businessman. The case is said to be a qui tam case and it is against Sater who, is also a former associate of PresidentTrump and Bayrock, a real estate company. Normally, in this type of case, the attorney general reserves the right to either intervene or choose to stay away.
In the case, Fred Oberlander is said to be the whistleblower and he is a lawyer by profession. The lawyer was once the legal representative of Jody Kriss, Sater’s former business partner, in a case of money laundering against Bayrock.
What appears to be a controversy was Oberlander’s acknowledgment that he filed the complaint based on the information that had already been struck out of Jody Kriss’ original case because of the confidential nature of the information. The attorney in charge of the hearing made the statement to Business Insider. So, chances are good that the case will be struck out.
At some point, the case was temporarily abandoned due to the complex nature of it. The Attorney General’s office decided not to intervene because Oberlander had given out a misleading statement that the case had already been given a clean bill of health. The magnitude of the misrepresentation of such facts made the Attorney General’s office abstain totally from the case.
However, the office of the attorney said it will not just stay away but it will monitor the progress of the case to ensure government’s rights and interests are protected. Sater’s lawyer said the case did not even see the light of day as it lacked merit and also had procedural issues. That aside, it is also important to mention the fact that Richard Lerner, a lawyer handing a case against Sater, in conjunction with Oberlander were once referred to the Department of Justice a couple of times for criminal contempt in their case against Sater.
Although he is yet to say anything about it, a particular reporter believes that Richard Lerner hopes to appeal the outcome of the case and probably toss the qui tam case. In the lawsuit filed against Sater by Jody Kriss in 2010, the former was accused of extortion, embezzlement, bribery, conspiracy, money laundering, mail, wire, and bank fraud, and tax evasion.
However, Kriss is not involved in the recent qui tam case that was filed by Fred Oberlander. At another time, Kriss also accused Sater of duping him of millions of dollars through racketeering and money laundering. This time TevfikArif, the founder of Bayrock was a joint defendant in the case. Kriss got a nod of the judge on this case as the judge agreed that it is indeed a racketeering case.
During the proceedings of the 2010 lawsuit, it was revealed that both Sater and Arif tried to use the Trump Organization to market their projects, taking advantage of Trump’s ignorance of Sater’s criminal record.
In 2007, Trump said, in a deposition, that he would never have partnered with Sater if he knew his criminal records. He also made it clear that he would not be able to recognize Sater. However, in the bid to counter Trump’s claim, someone who witnessed it all, said Trump’s office and Bayrock’s office were both located in Trumps Tower that is located on Fifth Avenue. The person even said the two offices were just two floors away from each other.
In addition, the anonymous person went further to also say that Trump and Sater had weekly meetings in the Tower. Bloomberg also reported that Sater, in his disposition said he and Trump met constantly. To link the pieces all up, Kriss categorically stated that Trump liked Sater for his loyalty and for his connection to Russia.