Felix Sater

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Felix Sater
Born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky[1][2]
(1966-03-02) March 2, 1966 (age 52)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, USSR
Residence New York City, New York
Other names
Education Pace University
Occupation Real estate developer
Years active 1989–present
Spouse(s) Viktoria Sater
Website www.felixsater.com

Felix Henry Sater (born Felix Mikhailovich Sheferovsky; Russian: Феликс Михайлович Шеферовский; March 2, 1966) is an American former mobster,[6] real estate developer and former managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate conglomerate based out of New York City, New York. Sater has been an advisor to many corporations, including The Trump Organization[7], Rixos Hotels and Resorts, Sembol Construction, Potok (formerly the Mirax Group), and TxOil.

In 1998, Sater pleaded guilty to his involvement in a $40 million stock fraud scheme orchestrated by the Russian Mafia,[8][9] and became an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutors, assisting with organized crime investigations. In 2017, Sater agreed to cooperate with investigators into international money laundering schemes.[10]

Early life and family[edit]

Sater was born in Moscow into a Russian Jewish family, the son of Mikhail Sheferovsky and Rachel Sheferovskaya. He has a sister, Regina. The family emigrated to Israel when Felix was 8 years old to avoid religious persecution in the Soviet Union, and eventually came to the United States, living in Baltimore, Maryland before settling in Brighton Beach, New York in 1974.[4] Felix and his sister adopted the surname Sater. Mikhail Sheferovsky (also known as Michael Sheferofsky) states that the family name was Saterov at some point (Сатаров).[11] According to the FBI, Mikhail Sheferovsky was an underboss for Russian Mafia "boss of bosses" Semion Mogilevich and convicted of extorting money from local restaurants, grocery stores, and a medical clinic.[12]

Felix Sater is reportedly a childhood friend of Michael Cohen.[13]

Business and advisory career[edit]

Sater attended Pace University, dropping out at the age of 18[4][14] to work on Wall Street, initially as a cold-caller at Bear Stearns.[15][16][17] He subsequently worked at brokerages Ladenburg Thalmann, Broadchild Securities, Rooney Pace, Shearson, Moseley Securities, Gruntal & Co., and Lehman Brothers.[15][18][17] In 1991 he assaulted a commodities broker in a bar[4][19] and was convicted of first-degree assault in 1993;[20] he spent 15 months in prison[21] and was barred thenceforth by the National Association of Securities Dealers from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm.[4][18]

A few years later, Sater changed paths to real estate, and eventually became a senior advisor for several corporations and industries in fields including real estate, hospitality, investing, and oil.[citation needed]

Sater served as the senior advisor to Chairman Fettah Tamince of Rixos Otelleri, a Turkish hotel and resort company, starting in 2005.[citation needed] In 2007, he spent time as the senior advisor of Sembol Construction, a privately-held construction company based in Istanbul, Turkey.[citation needed]

In January 2008, Sater joined the Russian real estate company Mirax Group as a senior advisor to Sergei Polonsky, and stayed with the company through the integration of Mirax into the holding company Potok in 2011.[citation needed] In 2009, he became a managing director at Global Habitat Solutions, a New York City housing, energy, and infrastructure conglomerate. Since September 2011, Sater has been a senior advisor at TxOil, a Turkmenistan-based oil company.[citation needed]

Work with the Bayrock Group[edit]

Sater joined Bayrock Group as a senior advisor in 2003 at the behest of the company's owner and founder, Tevfik Arif. As a senior advisor, he assisted with several projects, including executive decisions in the Trump SoHo project.[22]

Trump SoHo[edit]

Felix Sater was a managing director of Bayrock Group LLC, as well as a senior advisor to Donald Trump and The Trump Organization when construction of the Trump SoHo began in 2006.[19]

He played a major role throughout the process of the building's construction, and remained managing director of Bayrock Group when the Trump SoHo project was completed in 2010. The building is a $450 million, 46-story, 391-unit hotel condominium located at 246 Spring Street in SoHo, New York City. The project was a collaboration between The Trump Organization, Bayrock Group LLC and Tamir Sapir.

In December 2017, the Trump SoHo was renamed to The Dominick.

Other projects[edit]

Sater has been an advisor, investor, or developer in notable real estate projects including the Trump International Hotel & Residence in Phoenix, Arizona, the Conrad Fort Lauderdale and Midtown Miami in Florida, and Cornwall Terrace and 1 Blackfriars in London.[23][24]

In addition to real estate development endeavors, Sater also has started businesses in the fields of philanthropy, investment, retail, and energy.[25]

In late January 2017, Sater met with Ukrainian politician Andrey Artemenko and Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, at the Loews Regency in Manhattan to discuss a plan to lift sanctions against Russia. The proposed plan would require that Russian forces withdraw from eastern Ukraine and that Ukraine hold a referendum on whether Crimea should be "leased" to Russia for 50 or 100 years. Sater gave Cohen a written proposal in a sealed envelope that was delivered to then-National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn in early February.[26] On 20 February 2017, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov rejected Russia "leasing" Crimea from Ukraine claiming "we cannot rent from ourselves".[27]

Criminal convictions and federal cooperation[edit]

Felix Sater has been described as a career criminal due to his links to organized crime.[28][29][30][31][32] In 1991, Sater got into an argument with a commodities broker at the El Rio Grande restaurant and bar in Midtown Manhattan. He stabbed the man's cheek and neck with the stem of a cocktail glass, breaking his jaw, lacerating his face, and severing nerves, creating a wound that would require 110 stitches to treat. Sater was convicted of first degree assault, and spent 15 months in minimum security Edgecombe Correctional Facility in New York City before being paroled.[33][4][21] In 1998, Sater was convicted of fraud in connection to a $40 million penny stock pump and dump scheme conducted by the Russian Mafia[8][9] involving his company White Rock Partners. In return for a guilty plea, Sater agreed to assist the FBI and federal prosecutors as an informant in organized crime. In 2009, he was sentenced to pay a $25,000 fine and served no prison time. As a result of his assistance, Sater's court records were sealed for 10 years by Loretta Lynch, then the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Lynch's decision to seal his records was discussed at her 2015 Congressional confirmation hearings to become attorney general; she stated that Sater provided "information crucial to national security and the conviction of over 20 individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud and members of La Cosa Nostra."[34][35][36][37]

Articles about Russia's potential interference with the 2016 election of Donald Trump report that Felix Sater played a role in trying to assist Russia.[38][39] According to the New York Times and other sources, Felix Sater wrote and sent to his Russian contact(s) (probably Dmitry Peskov, Putin's personal assistant) an email stating, "I will get Putin on this program and we will get Donald elected" and "If he says it we own this election."[39][40][41] In July 2017, The Financial Times, citing five sources with knowledge of the matter, reported that Sater had agreed to cooperate with investigators looking into an international money laundering scheme involving Viktor Khrapunov, a former government minister in Kazakhstan. Khrapunov, who now lives in Switzerland, has been accused by the Kazakhstani government of embezzling millions of dollars and is wanted by Interpol.[10]

Sater received multiple subpoenas to produce documents and be deposed in the case against Mukhtar Ablyazov who is alleged to have defrauded BTA Bank of up to $5 billion as chairman.[42] Ablyazov's alleged fraud is one of the biggest cases of financial fraud in history.[43]

Personal life[edit]

Sater resides in Port Washington, New York. He has three daughters.[44][45] Felix Sater is an active member of the Chabad of Port Washington and was named their Man of the Year in 2010 and 2014.[46][47] In November 2017, Sater put his home in Sands Point, New York on the market for $2.5 million.[48]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Babushkin, Yevgeny (15 November 2016). "Феликс Сатер: Как я советовал Трампу и охотился на Бен Ладена". snob.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 21 August 2017. Бывший москвич Феликс Сатер, урожденный Шеферовский — человек редкой судьбы. (Former Muscovite Felix Sater, born Sheferovsky, is a man of rare fate.) 
  2. ^ Bratersky, Alexander (30 March 2017). Сенат США сделал устный доклад о России [US Senate held hearing on Russia]. Gazeta.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 21 August 2017. Среди персон, попавших в поле зрения сенаторов, — бывший москвич Феликс Сатер, урожденный Феликс Шерефовский. (Among the people the senators have in their sites is the former Muscovite Felix Sater, born Felix Sherefovsky (sic).) 
  3. ^ Kozlovasky, Vladimir (17 July 2017). "Феликс Сейтер: жизнь между Трампом, ФБР и русской мафией" [Felix Sater: Lfe among Trump, the FBI and the Russian mafia]. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Bagli, Charles V. (December 17, 2007). "Real Estate Executive With Hand in Trump Projects Rose From Tangled Past". The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hall, Kevin (28 July 2017). "Meet the ex-con who ties himself to Trump". McClatchy. Retrieved 18 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Wood, Paul (23 May 2018). "Trump lawyer 'paid by Ukraine' to arrange White House talks". BBC. Retrieved 23 May 2018. 
  7. ^ Matt Apuzzo and Maggie Haberman (28 August 2017). "Felix Sater, Trump Associate, Boasted That Moscow Business Deal 'Will Get Donald Elected'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  8. ^ a b "Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump". Washington Post. 17 May 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Trump, the Russian Lawyer and the Pop Star: President's Links to Azerbaijan Oligarch Come Under Scrutiny". Newsweek. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  10. ^ a b Burgis, Tom (6 July 2017). "Russia-born dealmaker linked to Trump assists laundering probe". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 August 2017. 
  11. ^ Kozlovsky, Vladimir (13 June 2016). Советник с большой дороги [Adviser on the big road]. The New Times. Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "Trump's Russian Laundromat". The New Republic. 13 July 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  13. ^ "Active Measures director says Trump's Russian mob ties are his biggest legal vulnerability - CBC Radio". 
  14. ^ O'Brien, Timothy L. (June 21, 2017). "Trump, Russia and a Shadowy Business Partnership". Bloomberg. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  15. ^ a b Hettena, Seth. "Felix Sater's Wall Street Days". Trump/Russia. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  16. ^ Rice, Andrew (August 3, 2017). "The Original Russia Connection". New York. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  17. ^ a b "Joshua Bernstein vs. Bayrock Group LLC: Felix H. Sater" (deposition). New York Southern District Court. March 9, 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  18. ^ a b "Felix Henry Sater". BrokerCheck.FINRA.org. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  19. ^ a b Mosk, Matthew; Ross, Brian (December 10, 2015). "Memory Lapse? Trump Seeks Distance From 'Advisor' With Past Ties to Mafia". ABC News. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  20. ^ Gitlin, Todd (June 21, 2016). "The Donald Trump Story You're Not Hearing About". BillMoyers.com. Retrieved June 6, 2018. 
  21. ^ a b "Felix Sater: The Crook Behind the Trump-Russia 'Peace' Plan". The Daily Beast. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 28 August 2017. 
  22. ^ Silverman, Gary (14 August 2016). "US election: Trump's Russian riddle". Financial Times. 
  23. ^ "Felix Sater Project Portfolio", Retrieved on 28 February 2016.
  24. ^ "Felix Sater - Behance.Net Profile", Retrieved on 13 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Felix Sater - The Trump SoHo and Other Projects: Felixsater.net", Retrieved on 12 March 2016.
  26. ^ Twohey, Megan; Shane, Scott (19 February 2017). "A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates". The New York Times. 
  27. ^ Russia can't rent Crimea from Russia, FM Lavrov says, Pravda.Ru (20 February 2017)
  28. ^ "Felix Sater Is a Lean, Mean Trump-Russia Machine". 29 August 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com. 
  29. ^ "Russiagate's Second Smoking Gun". 
  30. ^ "Who is Felix Sater? Meet the shady Russian investor who may be a centerpiece of the investigation". 23 June 2017. 
  31. ^ "Trumps Can Never Really Check Out of SoHo Hotel". 22 November 2017 – via www.bloomberg.com. 
  32. ^ "On MSNBC Steven Harper Talks About the Moscow Tower Deal That 'Will Get Donald Elected'". 
  33. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S.; Hamburger, Tom (May 17, 2016). "Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump". The Washington Post. 
  34. ^ Tanfani, Joseph; Cloud, David S. (March 2, 2017). "Trump business associate led double life as FBI informant — and more, he says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 14, 2017. 
  35. ^ Kennedy, Marlene. "Convictions Won't Keep Civil RICO Suit Alive" Archived 2016-03-15 at the Wayback Machine., Courthouse News Service, New York City, 24 March 2014. Retrieved on 14 March 2016.
  36. ^ Horwitz, Jeff (March 21, 2016). "Judge asks US to defend secrecy of Trump associate's history". San Diego Tribune. Associated Press. 
  37. ^ Helderman, Rosalind S.; Hamburger, Tom (May 17, 2016). "Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump". Washington Post. 
  38. ^ "Quote of the Day: "I Will Get Putin on This Program and We Will Get Donald Elected"". 
  39. ^ a b "Trump Associate Boasted That Moscow Business Deal 'Will Get Donald Elected'". 28 August 2017 – via NYTimes.com. 
  40. ^ "'Our boy can become president . . . and we can engineer it,' Trump ally said of Russia deal - The Boston Globe". 
  41. ^ Tracy, Abigail. "Trump Associate Bragged About Using Deal with Putin to "Engineer" Election". 
  42. ^ "Trump Crony Felix Sater Now Cooperating in New York in Kazakh/BTA Bank Trial". dailykos. 
  43. ^ "Arrest warrant for Kazakh billionaire accused of one of world's biggest frauds". The Guardian. 
  44. ^ Wylie, Melissa (May 12, 2017). "Why grocers scooped up Viki's Granola". American City Business Journals. Retrieved May 12, 2017. 
  45. ^ "5 Questions with Woman of Influence, Viki's Granola's Viki Sater". Project Eve. January 20, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Dinner 2010: Felix Sater". Retrieved on 29 February 2016. Archived 2 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  47. ^ "Felix Sater - Man Of The Year: Chabad of Port Washington". Retrieved on 29 February 2016.
  48. ^ "Trump Associate Felix Sater Selling His $2.5M Long Island Manse". realtor.com News. Retrieved 16 March 2018.