Rudy Giuliani has been keeping a low profile of late. The former New York City mayor turned media-apologist and lawyer for President Trump seemingly disappeared from the airwaves after a series of disastrously incoherent appearances on TV news outlets that may have created more problems for his presidential client than helped him.
Now Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnson at the DC Report has posited another reason as to why Giuliani may be keeping his head low right now, as global human rights organization Avaaz has called for a criminal investigation into a multi-billion dollar money laundering racket, claiming that Rudy Giuliani and his former law firm aided and abetted the scheme.
Avaaz has petitioned Dutch prosecutors to investigate the charges, which are primarily aimed at determining how much money embezzled from Kazakhstan ended up benefiting Giuliani’s client, Donald Trump, who is mentioned 16 times in the footnotes to the complaint the human rights organization filed.
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The charges are being pursued in Dutch courts because “some of these money flows ultimately ended up in the Netherlands” and because “Dutch service providers helped to cover up the money laundering acts,” in what they describe as “one of the biggest fraud cases ever.”
According to Avaaz’s complaint:
“The money laundering network started in Kazakhstan, where a figure of up to USD 10 billion was purportedly embezzled,” the complaint asserts. “This money was subsequently circulated by two Kazakh oligarch families via a worldwide network of shell companies. A number of these companies were established in the Netherlands. The money was subsequently invested in real estate projects in the United States and Europe, after which it was paid out as ‘profits’ via – once again – a network of shell companies.”
Giuliani’s connection to the scheme comes through the complaint’s accusations some of the stolen funds were funneled through Dutch shell corporations with the assistance of Rudy Giuliani’s former law firm, Bracewell & Giuliani, but Avaaz’s primary motivation in filing the complaint is as part of its “open call to prosecutors around the world to investigate ‘the giant web of corruption’ that it says propelled Trump’s rise.”
The ultimate aim of the legal challenge is to uncover the “full details of Russian money flowing to various Trump projects using so-called anonymous wealth companies,” shell companies created to conceal the identities of their owners.
It is well-known that the Trump Organization received a tremendous amount of money from shell companies connected to Russia and other parts of the former Soviet Union who invested heavily in Trump-branded properties in the U.S., so much so that the Trump family bragged about it.
The President has naturally denied any knowledge of money laundering, but with denial as his default response to any accusations of impropriety and lying as his standard mode of discourse, this new investigation may prove to be as damaging to Trump as the investigation into his tax avoidance schemes surrounding his inheritance and his shady real estate valuations now being investigated by New York tax authorities.
While Trump has long been linked to accusations of laundering money linked to Russian organized crime figures, this new complaint from Avaaz could be the first international legal proceeding to dig deeply into the details of exactly where some of the money used to finance his properties originated. With Giuliani, Trump’s own lawyer, now directly caught up in the investigation, a day of reckoning is drawing ever more closely.
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Original reporting by David Cay Johnston at DC Report.