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Senator Seeks Financial Records On Trump’s Sale Of Palm Beach Estate To Russian Billionaire
Why did Donald Trump sell his estate to a Russian billionaire for $95 million? A senator wants to "follow the money."
As the investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump and Russia continues, one senator wants to look into a multi-million dollar real estate sale. As CNN reported, Senator Ron Wyden is requesting the financial records of the sale of Trump's home in Palm Beach to Russian buyer Dmitry Rybolovlev.
In a letter, the senator explained how the sale could warrant suspicion. Trump bought the 6.3-acre property in Florida for $41.35 million in 2004. Four years later, Rybolovlev, a businessman, bought it for $95 million. The price tag was more than double what Trump paid, whereas the property's appraisal in 2008 was less than that by $30 million.
"In the context of the President's then-precarious financial position, I believe that the Palm Beach property sale warrants further scrutiny," the Oregon Democrat wrote. "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."
Interestingly, the estate, called Maison de L'Amitie, was vacant for several years, and Rybolovlev eventually resold the land in pieces. Trump has spoken about his relationship with the sale, saying its his "closest" connection to Russia.
"You know, the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach, Florida," Trump 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."
Senator Ron Wyden is the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Finance. The Oregon Democrat is also part of the Senate Intelligence Committee that is investigating how Russia possibly meddled in the 2016 election.
“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,” he wrote in his letter.
Trump has denied colluding with Russia and has not denounced the country for meddling in the 2016 election.
[Photo: Getty Images]