President Donald Trump’s2008 sale of a Palm Beach mansion to a Russian oligarch is now part of the investigation being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to a new report from Bloomberg News.
Mueller’s team has expanded its investigation to include business transactions conducted by Trump and some of his “associates,” including his former campaign manager Paul Manafort and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, “a person familiar with the probe” told Bloomberg.
The 2013 Miss Universe pageant, which was held in Moscow, also now is on Mueller’s radar, Bloomberg reported.
The sale price of 515 N. County Road in Palm Beach made headlines when it occurred nearly 10 years ago — setting a record for Palm Beach County at the time and clocking in at $95 million. That’s more than double the $41.35 million Trump paid for the sprawling oceanside estate in a 2004 bankruptcy sale.
The buyer: Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev, a billionaire who made his money in the fertilizer industry. In March, a spokesman for Rybolovlev told The Post that the mansion was an investment.
“The property was acquired for investment purposes by the Rybolovlev family trust, as was clearly stated at the time of the purchase in 2008,” New York-based Brian Cattell told Post reporters.
But in making the purchase in 2008, Rybolovlev described the sale through a spokesman for his Uralkali fertilizer company as “simply an investment in real estate by one of the companies in which I have an interest.”
The mansion known as Maison de L’Amitie was purchased by Rybolovlev’s County Road Property LLC, then transferred to a trust.
Trump touted the sale in a 2008 interview with The Palm Beach Post.
“I love breaking records, and this is a record,” he said. At the time, it was thought to be the most expensive single-family home sale in U.S. history.
The mansion was torn down last year, and the land has been subdivided into three parcels. One of the parcels was sold in November for $34.34 million, while the other two were still on the market as of May, the Palm Beach Daily News reported.
Trump’s attorney John Dowd told Bloomberg that the sale and other business dealings were “well beyond the mandate of Special Counsel,” not related to the Trump campaign or “any alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.” He also said the transactions are “well beyond any Statute of Limitations.”
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