A Panama tower carries Trump’s identify and ties to organized crime


PANAMA CITY — When Ivanka Trump flew right here in 2006 to push her household’s newest enterprise mission — an oceanfront metal and glbad tower referred to as the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, formed like a sail and designed to be one of many tallest buildings in Latin America — a Brazilian actual property salesman named Alexandre Ventura Nogueira says he was prepared with a gross sales pitch.

Ventura, who stated he solely had a small actual property firm on the time, stated he informed Ivanka Trump that he may promote condos within the proposed skyscraper for thrice the worth of comparable items in Panama City. The purpose: the Trump identify, which might go on the constructing in a licensing deal though the Trump Organization was not the constructing’s actual developer.

Ventura says he and Ivanka agreed to a sort of problem. If Ventura may promote flats as simply as he claimed, and for these excessive costs, he’d grow to be the principle gross sales consultant for the mission.

“The agreement was, I had a week to sell 100 units,” Ventura stated in a current interview with NBC News. “I said, ‘I’m going to do better, I’m going to sell without telling (the buyers) the price.”

Ventura did promote the preliminary items, and later a whole bunch extra. He is now a fugitive. In May 2009, Ventura was arrested in Panama for actual property fraud, unrelated to the Trump mission. Mauricio Ceballos, a former monetary crimes prosecutor in Panama who investigated Ventura, stated that dozens of complaints towards Ventura crossed his desk accusing him of double- and triple-selling flats, each on the Trump Ocean Club and different developments.

Ventura finally fled Panama whereas out on bail. He denied having defrauded his purchasers however admitted to NBC News that he has participated in cash laundering on behalf of corrupt Panamanian politicians, unrelated to the constructing mission.

Ventura isn’t the one individual related to the constructing who has had run-ins with the regulation. An NBC News investigation into the Trump Ocean Club, together with Reuters, reveals that the mission was riddled with brokers, clients and buyers who’ve been linked to drug trafficking and worldwide crime. Ceballos, who investigated the mission, went so far as to name the skyscraper “a vehicle for money laundering.”

The investigation revealed no indication that the Trump Organization or members of the Trump household engaged in any criminality, or knew of the felony backgrounds of a number of the mission’s badociates. But Ventura stated that the Trumps by no means requested any questions in regards to the consumers or the place the cash was coming from.

Image: Alexandre Ventura during an NBC News interview

Alexandre Ventura throughout an NBC interview