According to news outlet Business Insider, news has broken that a New York court in Manhattan has dismissed a quarter of a billion dollar tax evasion case against former trump affiliate Felix Sater.
This court case dismissed against Sater who, noteworthy enough, is a Russian-born businessman who co-founded the real-estate company Bayrock, had a qui tam civil court case filed against him. This, in basic terms, means that a private individual who assists a prosecution can receive all or part of any penalty imposed. Put even simpler, this type of court case allows any informant to file on the behalf of the state.
Claiming to be an informant for Felix Sater, in this case, was a lawyer named Fred Oberlander. This situation gets more interesting when you look into the fact that Fred Oberlander was once a representative of Sater’s once upon a time business partner Jody Kriss in a money-laundering case against the company Bayrock.
On Wednesday, Oberlander confirmed that he had filed his qui tam grievance on accounts that had been removed by judges from Jody Kriss’ first complaint. This news was broken by an attorney who was present at the hearing.
The same attorney goes on to add in a statement that “the argument did not go well for Oberlander, and it seemed likely that the complaint would be dismissed based on Oberlander’s use of information that the federal judges had previously ordered removed from the federal complaint as confidential.”
Soon after, Sater and his lawyer Robert Wolf, acknowledged that in fact the case had been dismissed by the Manhatten court.
When given the opportunity the previous year, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s party decided not to get involved with the case. This is in part due to a misunderstanding and misleading press release issued by Oberlander that claimed Schneiderman had given a “green light” on the case. As a result of this confusion, Schneiderman had to give a letter in 2016 to notify the New York Supreme Court of the misunderstanding.
In addition, Schneiderman’s office said it would continue to keep an eye on the case for the near future as a way to “protect the states rights and interest.”
As for Sater’s lawyer Robert Wolf, he went on to say that the case was exempted “on the merits,” as opposed to official grounds. He went on to make note of the fact that Oberlander and Richard Lerner, the latter of which was another lawyer involved in the court case against Sater, have twice been given over to the DOJ for criminal contempt for their “misconduct” in the legal actions taken against Sater.
In addition, on his own behalf, Richard Lerner told outlets that his immediate plans are to appeal the decision made in the qui tam case.
In regards to the original lawsuit brought against Sater and the Tevfik Arif‘s company back in 2010 by Jody Kriss, he gave a tirade that stated “for most of its existence, Bayrock was substantially and covertly mob-owned and operated,” engaging “in a pattern of continuous, related crimes, including mail, wire, and bank fraud; tax evasion; money laundering; conspiracy; bribery; extortion; and embezzlement.”
Jody Kriss’ tirade continued in the form of an accusation of Sater and, worth mentioning, Bayrock’s founder Tevfik Arif, in which Kriss accused them of swindling him out of millions via fraud, laundering, and other such activities.
Adding to that complaint, Kriss also alleged that Sater and Arif began dealing with Donald Trump’s organization as far back as 2003 in order to market specific projects under Trump’s name brand but did not inform trump about Sater’s criminal background.
On their behalf, and as a way of clearing their names, Trump said back in 2007 that his organization would never have agreed to associate with Arif’s company, knowing about Sater’s criminal past. In the same 2007 deposition, Trump went as far as to say that he would or could not even identify Sater if they were in the room.
In another noteworthy fact, Arif’s company office was once only a few floors below trump’s in Trump Tower. Also, by the accounts of an individual who chose anonymity for fear of retaliation by Sater or his accomplices, told news outlets that both Sater and Trump would even have all too common meetings each week. Sater later confirmed this fact in his own deposition that he would meet with Trump on a regular basis.