First: A plea for help.
I rarely run fundraisers on this site, but an emergency just hit. After spending my meager savings on frivolities like medicine and a new video card, MY BLOODY AIR CONDITIONER DIED
. I live in a very hot attic in a very humid part of the country. When the outside temperature turns hellish, it becomes even hellisher up here -- for me, for my ladyfriend, and for my poor diabetic doggiefriend George.
Yes, I'm brash enough to mention the effects of global (or at least local) warming on my canine companion. He pants and pants but won't leave my side for the cooler climes of downstairs. The loyalty of a dog is touching, astounding, and a bit unnerving. (Would it tug at your heartstrings if I showed you his picture? Mine is the shamelessness born of desperation.)
If you "ding" the PayPal button to your left (you may have to scroll down), your generous contribution will go straight to the air conditioner fund. We don't need a big 'un. Our gratitude will be beyond words.
Before we get to our main investigative piece, we need to look at a couple of other stories...
Terror in the UK:
Our sympathies and thoughts go out to the victims of the attack on the Finsbury Park Mosque
, which has finally been officially labeled an act of terrorism.
Witnesses said he 'deliberately' drove onto the pavement outside north London's Muslim Welfare House - yards from the Finsbury Park Mosque - and jumped out of the cab shouting 'I'm going to kill all Muslims - I did my bit'.
A similar horror
took place in Virginia:
A 17-year-old Muslim girl identified as Nabra was kidnapped and beaten to death early Sunday morning in Sterling, Virginia. She was reported as missing at roughly 4 a.m. and now police believe they have found her body in a pond.
So far, Donald Trump's twitter feed has mentioned neither of these outrages.
The Roger Stone/Alex Jones team-up has been absolutely boggling. After building a formidable rep as a conspiratorial-mastermind-for-hire, Stone now pretends to be the victim
of dark and evil forces. It's a surreal situation: Roger Stone is one of the original Watergaters and the king of the dirty tricksters, yet our modern paranoia addicts consider him an apostle of fair play and decency. What's next? Will the Infowarriors proclaim Pablo Escobar to be the saint of non-violence?
Stone's name came up an NBC News story published yesterday: "NBC News Exclusive: Memo Shows Watergate Prosecutors Had Evidence Nixon White House Plotted Violence."
In 1972, Nixonians planned to use bullyboys from YAF (Young Americans for Freedom, a notorious right-wing group of the time) to mount a violent physical attack against Daniel Ellsberg as he spoke -- along with William Kunstler and other notables -- at an anti-war rally on the Capitol steps. The Watergate Committee investigated the incident and outlined their findings in a memo
that has remained unreleased until now.
Roger Stone was also interviewed
. Here's a tidbit that everyone seems to have missed...
"Carl Rove"? Is that Turdblossom back when he was a young turd? Must be! Stone now seems to despise Rove, calling him a "political profiteer"
-- unlike Stone himself, who always does what he does for the purest
of motives, just like Jesus or Barry Allen. Also see here
Ivanka, Donald and their "Poker Venture."
Just after I had announced to the world that I was so
over Louise Mensch, she publishes a truly fascinating bit of research
which relies on open-source material instead of nameless informants. Okay, okay: The Nameless Ones do
pop up in a couple of paragraphs. Readers of her piece should mentally excise those bits and double-check the rest.
Ivanka has been linked to eleven companies in the Trump financial disclosures. Her status has been put to “Inactive” on several odd holding companies...
The most immediately interesting company of Ivanka Trump’s is “Poker Venture Managing Member Corp“. This is owned by Donald and Ivanka Trump. Ivanka’s company with her father itself is an officer of this very dodgy-looking shell, “Poker Venture LLC.” Judging by the corporation wiki, there is panic in Team Ivanka and Team Trump over “Poker Venture“. It shows zero “Key People”, and has two other almost identical companies as its officers – the live, active PVMMC that Ivanka co-owns with her pops, and this “Inactive” attempt to clean Ivanka out of the picture: by: Poker Venture Managing Member Corp by: Donald J. Trump.
Those touring “Corporation Wiki” will be surprised to see that “Poker Venture Managing Member Corp by: Donald J Trump” lists itself as an officer of inactive “Poker Venture”, yet when one clicks on the gray icon, one is taken to the same active company.
All very strange.
I'll say! Beyond the fact that Trump allegedly divested himself of his business interests, isn't it a little unseemly for the President of the United States
to be listed as the owner of a company called Poker Venture Managing Member Corp
, which filed in Nevada?
This company is related to another enterprise called simply Poker Ventures, whose listed address is 725 5th Avenue, New York, NY -- Trump Tower. Mensch seems to have missed that part, although she thinks that this "Poker" business somehow links up to the botnet which she believes is run out of Trump Tower. (I see no evidence for this beyond the inscrutable pronouncements of The Nameless Ones.)
I'll tell you something else that Louise Mensch seems to have missed: This Poker Venture business appears to link up to some scandalous doings outlined in one of my previous posts
(of which I happen to be quite proud). It's hard to summarize that complicated piece, but I'll try.
A Russian "Godfather" named Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov ran a shady operation out of Trump Tower -- specifically, unit 63A, not far below Trump's own living quarters. It was so
shady that the FBI had bugged the joint. (We're talking money laundering.)
Tokhtakhounov -- known as "Little Taiwan" or "Taiwanchik" because he looks Asian -- is the guy who linked Donald Trump up with the world of beauty contests in Russia. Taiwanchik has his fingers in all sorts of interesting deals -- for example, he was once arrested for rigging an Olympic figure skating competition.
Tokhtakhounov had partners in his New York enterprise -- Vadim Trincher and Anatoly Golubchik. (Trincher was the 2009 world poker champion.) They were tried and convicted. Guess who put 'em away? Preet Bharara.
That's right: The U.S. attorney famously fired by Donald Trump secured convictions against two guys running a criminal enterprise right below Trump's feet in Trump Tower.
Dirty money must needs be laundered, right? One great way to launder money is via the world of art. Banks won't ask too many questions if you tell 'em that someone just paid twenty million for a Picasso.
Enter Helly Nahmad, who used to run a tony art gallery in Manhattan. His family is worth some $3 billion...
From a 2013 story in the NYT
Mr. Nahmad, a night-life fixture known for his showy extravagance and celebrity crowd — a $21 million Trump Tower apartment and friendships with people like Gisele Bündchen and Leonardo DiCaprio — was charged in April in a racketeering indictment brought by federal prosecutors in Manhattan. He was accused of being part financier, part money launderer and part bookmaker in a network that organized poker games and sports betting operations and drew hundred-thousand-dollar wagers from celebrities and billionaires.
The feds knew his secrets because they were listening in on Nahmad's cellphone chats.
But Helly’s interest in gambling led to trouble. The high-stakes poker and sports-betting ring that he is accused of helping to lead — with activity stretching from New York and Los Angeles — ultimately came to the attention of federal authorities who were investigating Russian organized crime figures.
Mr. Nahmad helped not only to bankroll the operation, according to prosecutors, but was also personally involved in taking sports bets. In all, 34 people were indicted in the case. The lead defendant is Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, whom authorities identify as a high-ranking Russian gangster known by his nickname, Taiwanchik.
All of this has to do with the world of high-stakes poker. These people linked up with a coast-to-coast gambling operation which attracted a number of Hollywood celebrities, including Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire.
My original post has many more details -- and by "many" I mean MANY. (Check out the Cyprus connection
, which takes in Nahmad, Taiwanchik and Trump himself.) But right now, I want you to focus on "the holy game of poker."
1. Donald and Ivanka run something called "Poker Venture," headquartered in Trump Tower but incorporated in Nevada.
2. Directly below Trump's living quarters was a crooked enterprise run by Russian crime lord Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, whose links to Trump himself are beyond dispute. Tokhtakhounov got away; he is now in Russia.
3. Helly Nahmad, who also
had a Trump Tower address, was involved with a nationwide (actually international) high-stakes poker ring.
4. Nahmad and Tokhtakhounov deny knowing each other, even though Preet Bahrara named them both as co-defendants
when he made a case against this money laundering/gambling operation. They also both link up with Trincher and the other defendants.
It may be as well to quote from the above-cited 2013 US Attorney's Office press release
The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization is a nationwide criminal enterprise with strong ties to Russia and Ukraine. The leadership of the organization ran an international sportsbook that catered primarily to Russian oligarchs living in Russia and Ukraine and throughout the world. The Taiwanchik-Trincher Organization laundered tens of millions of dollars in proceeds from the gambling operation from Russia and the Ukraine through shell companies and bank accounts in Cyprus, and from Cyprus into the U.S. Once the money arrived in the U.S, it was either laundered through additional shell companies or invested in seemingly legitimate investments, such as hedge funds or real estate.
Speaking of which: Many people have wondered who helped Jared Kushner purchase that ridiculously overpriced skyscraper at 666 Fifth Avenue. (I'm not claiming to have proof of a connection. I'm just sayin'.) For that matter, quite a few people have asked wondered why anyone would invest in Donald Trump's various properties, given the rather odd way he does business.
Let's get back to that press release:
The Nahmad-Trincher Organization is a nationwide criminal enterprise with leadership in Los Angeles, California, and New York City. The organization ran a high-stakes illegal gambling business that catered primarily to multi-millionaire and billionaire clients. The organization utilized several online gambling websites that operated illegally in the U.S. Debts owed to the Nahmad-Trincher Organization sometimes reached hundreds of thousands of dollars and even millions.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: “The subjects in this case ran high-stakes illegal poker games and online gambling, proceeds from which are alleged to have been funneled to organized crime overseas. The one thing they didn't bet on was the New York City police and federal investigators’ attention. I commend the NYPD Organized Crime Investigations Division and their partners in the FBI and U.S. Attorney Bharara's office for identifying and bringing the members of this organization to justice.”
Well, we know what Trump did to Bharara. No good deed goes unpunished.
The question before us is this: Is the "Poker Ventures" that lists Donald and Ivanka as owners -- and which lists Trump Tower as its address -- part of the very real "poker venture" run by criminals living right below Donald's feet in that very same building?
I can't prove it. But the nomenclature sure as hell makes the idea seem inescapable.
Nomenclature isn't all we have to go on. Let's return to Louise Mensch's article (stressing, once again, that this
piece -- unlike much of her recent work -- derives from open sources, all properly cited)...
Equally odd is that the state of New Jersey – (Ivanka Trump has a New Jersey address listed as one of her business records, associated with Poker Ventures) – has added to its newly published list of “Internet Gaming Ancillary Companies” both Poker Ventures LLC, which was already listed, but also “Novacorp Net Ltd”, “VidMob Inc” and “Reblaze Technologies”.
So: Poker Ventures has to do with online gambling. (The legality of online gaming is a matter of some dispute.) Remember: The crooked Nahmad/Trincher operation also involved
And Poker Ventures LLC does indeed appear on that list compiled by the state of New Jersey. See for yourself
Mensch goes on to connect Poker Ventures up with some other notable names on that list, shady concerns which have definite connections to both Russians and Israelis. One of these enterprises, Reblaze Technologies, seems to have little to do with gambling and much to do with hacking:
...it publishes anti-NSA blogs such as these, lauding the ‘hacking tools’ leaked by Shadow Brokers. Reblaze also offers lists of “protect your website” services you can buy from Russian hackers [sic], listing, ostensibly to protect against them, the full range of tools employed on Russia’s hack of America; its founder repeated the anti-NSA blog in an article that reads as a threat to hack America on Medium in December 2016.
Fascinating stuff. That "protect your website" scam reminds me of the hoary "watch your car" racket illustrated in those old Dead End Kid movies. You should hit those links; they take you into very odd places.
Unfortunately, we don't yet have any proof (beyond the word of Mensch's Nameless Ones) that this Reblaze business is tied up with Trump's Poker Ventures. Pity that: The possibilities are very intriguing.
For that matter, I must reiterate that I
cannot prove that Donald and Ivanka's weird foray into the worlds of poker and online gaming is part-and-parcel of the poker and online gaming operation run by Helly Mahmad and his Russian gangster associates. But come on: It's hard not
to conclude that we're dealing with two ingredients from the same stew-pot. These poker-related ventures form a Venn diagram in which the two circles seem nearly congruent. You can't fairly accuse me of leaping to wild conclusions: This ain't the kind of hazy guff you get from Alex Jones.
Louise Mensch, if you're reading these words:
Thanks for returning to the world of real
investigative writing. In the future, I hope you stop relying on the private sources who have provided you with so many dubious scoops. You'll have much more impact if you continue to provide stories that can be verified
I strongly urge you to look into the possible links between "Poker Ventures" and the real-world poker venture in Trump Tower.
And please: Next time you feel tempted to accuse a perceived adversary of being a Russian spy, bite your tongue until it bleeds. A little more caution in your rhetoric will help you in the long run.
If these words have proven intriguing or enlightening to you, please consider dinging that PayPal account. It's already infernally muggy in here -- several degrees hotter than the temps outside. I feel like I'm melting.