The Trump Organisation planned to give a $50 million penthouse in the planned Trump Tower Moscow to President Vladimir Putin while the company was in negotiations in 2016.
Buzzfeed News reported this on Thursday quoting four persons familiar with revelations made by Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen.
Cohen, also Trump’s fixer, discussed the idea with Putin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, two U.S. law enforcement officials told Buzzfeed.
Trump Tower Moscow is at the centre of a plea deal Cohen reached Thursday with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to congressional panels about Trump’s Moscow property plans, including his plans to travel to Russia, contacts with Russian officials in connection with the project and how long the property plans were discussed within the Trump Organization.
Court documents unsealed Thursday say Cohen “well knew” his statements to Congress about Trump Tower Moscow were “false and misleading,” stating that he told the lies in order to “minimize links between the Moscow Project and Individual 1,” an apparent reference to Trump.
Cohen also tried to “give the false impression that the Moscow Project ended before ‘the Iowa caucus and … the very first primary,’ in hopes of limiting the ongoing Russia investigations.”
However, it was revealed that the discussions surrounding the project extended well into 2016 and Cohen regularly informed Trump about the negotiations.
It is unclear if Trump was specifically aware of the deal to give Putin the penthouse.
Trump defended the project Thursday, telling reporters, “There was a good chance that I wouldn’t have won [the presidential election], in which case I would have gotten back into the business, and why should I lose lots of opportunities?”
Trump’s relationship with Putin has been under close scrutiny since the campaign, during which U.S. intelligence agencies say the Kremlin meddled in the presidential contest.