A Russian real estate investor currently in the U.S. who stands accused by Russian authorities of involvement in a multimillion dollar tax fraud scheme turned up at a charity benefit at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club last year, according to Newsweek.
Sergey Danilochkin attended the event — held on behalf of Young Adventurers, which reportedly is a favorite charity of the president’s sister, Elizabeth Trump-Grau — and reported on the gala for his YouTube news channel called Russian America TV.
“The most interesting thing,” Danilochkin said in a video from the event, “is that we met a lot of people here who speak Russian.”
The Russian government issued an Interpol warrant for Danilochkin’s arrest, alleging he set up “shell companies that claimed some 5 billion rubles (about $170 million at the time) in fraudulent tax refunds in 2009 and 2010,” according to Newsweek.
Originally fleeing to the U.S. on a tourist visa, Danilochkin is currently seeking asylum, claiming he could be killed if he returns to Russia.
He told The Washington Post last year: “By the will of fate, I was in the path of an octopus of corruption; very powerful people on their way to their dirty goals. I never did anything illegal. But I still found myself under the press of the system, just by chance. Whoever has lived in Russia understands how it happens.”
Trump did not attend the Mar-a-Lago charity event, according to news reports, nor did the first lady, Melania Trump.
Incidentally, Li “Cindy” Yang — the massage parlor founder recently revealed to be offering Chinese clients access to the Trump family and other high-profile Republicans — was also in attendance at the gala.