President Donald Trump has been very critical of the regime of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in recent months, as that nation has slipped into tumult during a coup campaign against him.
But according to a recent report from the Miami Herald, Trump, who has cast partial blame for the current situation in Venezuela on past U.S. presidential administrations, may in fact have some business ties to the Maduro regime as well, due to a property sale involving the Trump Organization that was made to a Costa Rican shell company in 2015.
An ocean-view property located in the Dominican Republic was sold by the Trump Organization in April 2015 to that shell company two months before Trump announced his run for president.
The shell company, though based in Costa Rica, was reportedly managed in part by a Venezuelan woman who in turn has links to a man named Diosdado Cabello Rondon, a politician and a member of Venezuela’s National Assembly, and a close ally to Maduro. Cabello is also the vice head of the nation’s Socialist Party.
The Trump Organization sold a luxury ocean-view property in the Dominican Republic to a shell company that appears to be tied to figures from Venezuela's Maduro regime, the Miami Herald reports. https://t.co/1PnTFkGyvi
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 7, 2019
There’s no indication that Trump or his company did anything illegal or even improper, but the sale puts into question just how serious the former business mogul was in making criticisms against other presidents for not doing anything prior to Venezuela’s descent into chaos.
“Past administrations allowed this to happen,” Trump said in March, referring to the tumultuous situation in the South American country.
Yet U.S. court records indicate that the Trump Organization and Trump family members themselves were aware that their dealings in the Dominican Republic relied on Venezuelan investments, the Miami Herald reported.
Cabello was slapped with sanctions by the Trump administration in May of 2018, according to a press release from the Treasury Department. Cabello was targeted because he is a “current or former official of the Government of Venezuela” who had engaged in corrupt activities.
“The Venezuelan people suffer under corrupt politicians who tighten their grip on power while lining their own pockets,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the press release. “We are imposing costs on figures like Diosdado Cabello who exploit their official positions to engage in narcotics trafficking, money laundering, embezzlement of state funds, and other corrupt activities.”
When asked by the Herald, the Trump Organization refused to provide comment for the controversial business deal.