In 1987, just three years after he attended the closing with Trump, Bogatin pleaded guilty to taking part in a massive gasoline-bootlegging scheme with Russian mobsters. After he fled the country, the government seized his five condos at Trump Tower, saying that he had purchased them to “launder money, to shelter and hide assets.” A Senate investigation into organized crime later revealed that Bogatin was a leading figure in the Russian mob in New York. His family ties, in fact, led straight to the top: His brother ran a $150 million stock scam with none other than Semion Mogilevich, whom the FBI considers the “boss of bosses” of the Russian mafia. At the time, Mogilevich—feared even by his fellow gangsters as “the most powerful mobster in the world”—was expanding his multibillion-dollar international criminal syndicate into America.
I have spent the last twenty years of my life working on money laundering cases and carrying out international financial investigations. I had never heard of Semion Mogilevich. Unger’s claim piqued my interest. So I started digging.
My first stop was PACER (it is a database of federal cases that encompasses everything from bankruptcies to felonies). I figured that someone of Mogilevich’s alleged status as “boss of bosses” would have earned him several criminal indictments at the Federal level. Wrong.
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