Ex-Trump associate Felix Sater depicts himself as US superspy, who helped hunt Bin Laden and thwarted assassinations
The Russian-born felon claims to have worked with US intelligence for decades
Felix Sater, a felon and one-time business associate of President Donald Trump, claims he worked as a confidential source for the US government for two decades, providing “crucial intelligence” including Osama bin Laden’s satellite phone numbers and assembling a team of mercenaries to kill the terrorist.
Sater, who was born in Moscow and raised in Brooklyn, laid out an astoundingly wide-ranging list of intelligence he says he provided to the US government. In a three-page statement released Monday, he says he flagged potential assassination attempts against former President George W. Bush and former Secretary of State Colin Powell and offered tips on a North Korean military operative purchasing equipment to build that country’s nuclear weapons programme.
Questions have swirled about whether Sater, who worked on a Manhattan hotel and condominium project known as Trump Soho and a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, has been cooperating with US special counsel Robert Mueller. The revelations suggest he may be helpful to prosecutors investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and business dealings in the US.
Though the US has confirmed some of Sater’s work as an informant, many of his activities for the government have remained under court seal. Many of the claims in his recent statement couldn’t be independently verified. BuzzFeed News, which earlier reported on Sater’s years as a US intelligence asset, said it had corroborated many of Sater’s claims with government officials and others.
Court documents unsealed last week show that after the September 11 terror attacks, Sater travelled at the direction of the FBI to the Middle East to gather information on al-Qaeda and affiliated groups.
Sater said he released the document to counter negative publicity stemming from his business ties to Trump.
“For too long the narrative around Felix Sater has been completely inaccurate,” said Ronn Torossian, a spokesperson for Sater. “He is rightfully now being acknowledged for the role he’s played to help American security. He is thankful and in time will have more to say.”
Sater served time in prison for stabbing a man in the face with a margarita glass in a bar fight and later pleaded guilty to taking part in stock swindles with Russian organised crime figures. To stay out of prison, he worked as an informant to US prosecutors investigating the mob’s role on Wall Street.
Sater continues to be a valued asset for the government and has spoken to Mueller’s team of investigators, according to the BuzzFeed article.
Bayrock Group, in which Sater was a principal, worked with Trump and his two eldest children, Donald Jnr and Ivanka, on a series of real estate deals between 2002 and about 2011, the most prominent being the troubled Trump Soho hotel and condominium.
Sater was also involved in an unsuccessful effort in late 2015 and early 2016 to build a Trump hotel in Moscow.