A US top senator is seeking information about US President Donald Trump’s sale of his estate in Florida to a Russian millionaire amid the so-called Russia probe.
Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking member of US Senate Finance Committee, has been pressuring the Treasury Department to submit records on the lucrative deal between Trump and Dmitry Rybolovlev.
Trump sold the property at a price more than double his initial investment to a company owned by the Russian businessman four years after purchasing it.
The New York billionaire bought the 6.3-acre property in Palm Beach, Florida, for $41.35 million in 2004 and then sold it at $95 million.
“In the context of the President’s then-precarious financial position, I believe that the Palm Beach property sale warrants further scrutiny,” Wyden wrote in his letter to the US Treasury Department on Friday. “It is imperative that Congress follow the money and conduct a thorough investigation into any potential money laundering or other illicit financial dealings between the President, his associates, and Russia.”
Trump bragged about the sale in his 2016 campaign, alleging that he has good ties with Russians.
“You know, the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida,” he said at a press conference in July 2016. “Palm Beach is a very expensive place. There was a man who went bankrupt, and I bought the house for $40 million, and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million, including brokerage commissions. So I sold it. So I bought it for 40 (million), I sold it for 100 (million) to a Russian.”
The former real estate tycoon asserted later that he has never met the Russian.
“I never met him,” Trump said. “He was represented by a broker. … I heard good things about him in many ways, and about his family. … He just happened to be from Russia. He’s a rich guy from Russia.”
Senator Wyden’s latter demanding more information on the deal comes at a time that Trump and his close associates are being investigated for possible collusion with Moscow in the wake of his 2016 victory.