Giuliani denies Trump knew of plan to give $50M Trump Tower penthouse to Vladimir Putin
The Trump Organization reportedly planned to give Russian President Vladimir Putin a US$50 million penthouse in Trump Tower in Moscow, before the project fell through, reports said Thursday.
Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani recently denied that the president had any knowledge of the deal to both CNN and USA Today.
WATCH: Rudy Giuliani dismisses report Trump knew about Trump Tower meeting in advance, calls Cohen a ‘liar’
Giuliani told CNN’s Dana Bash that Trump had never heard about the proposition. “The story is a story. The president never heard of this and the concept never got anywhere beyond an unfunded letter of intent.”
Giuliani’s remarks referred to a letter of intent, reportedly signed by Trump on Oct. 28. 2015, to move forward on the Trump Tower Moscow plan.
To USA Today, Giuliani maintained that the idea was “unknown to the president,” but dismissed the entire project as “too premature for anything like that” and called the prospect of giving Putin a suite “crazy.”
WATCH: U.S. President Donald Trump says the situation with Russia and Ukraine prompted him to cancel his meeting with Vladimir Putin.
Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen discussed the prospect with Putin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, the sources told the news outlet.
The report stated that the deal was negotiated during the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign.
And it represented one of a handful of propositions when considering the development of a Trump Tower in Moscow, it added.
BuzzFeed also cited texts between Cohen and Felix Sater, a real estate developer who worked on the project with Trump’s former fixer.
Cohen told an associate who matches Sater’s description that he was willing to travel to Moscow to push the project forward ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July 2016, the documents said.
Trump, Cohen said, would be able to make a trip to Moscow after the convention “once he becomes the nominee” of the Republican Party, the documents added.
Cohen talked about the project with an assistant to Putin’s press secretary in January 2016.
He requested help to secure land and financing, the documents said.
Sater said he and Cohen talked about giving Putin a $50 million penthouse in order to justify raising the prices of other units by another $250 million.
Sater’s words confirmed a discussion first reported by BuzzFeed News.
“I figured that if Vladimir Putin lived in the tower every oligarch in Russia would want to buy an apartment there,” Sater said. “This wasn’t an official proposal or anything. It was a chat with Cohen about how do we get top dollar.”
WATCH: Michael Cohen guilty plea ‘a lesson’ for others: Susan Collins
While plans for a Trump Tower in Moscow never came to fruition, the project plays a role in Cohen pleading guilty in a federal court on Thursday to charges laid by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Cohen pleaded guilty on Thursday to knowing more about the plans for Trump Tower in Moscow than he previously admitted to Congress.
Court documents also said that Cohen 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.”
Trump defended the project Thursday, telling reporters that “there was a good chance I wouldn’t have won [the election], in which case I would have gotten back into business, and why should I lose lots of opportunities?” he asked.
–With files from Reuters.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.