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Trump says he does no business in Russia, but he omits Russian partners and investors

Kevin G. Hall, Peter Stone and Anita Kumar, McClatchy Washington Bureau on

Published in Political News

NEW YORK -- Donald Trump's assertion Wednesday that he does no business in Russia looks past extensive business dealings with Russians who have partnered with him and bought his properties.

His relations with Russia drew greater scrutiny with the release Tuesday by news website BuzzFeed of an intelligence dossier that, without substantiation, alleged that the Kremlin had pursued ties with him for more than five years and held compromising information on him. Trump labeled the report "fake news" and on Wednesday denied doing business in Russia.

"I have no deals. I have no loans (from Russian lenders). I have no dealings," Trump said at a news conference Wednesday.

However, he and his family have had many dealings in Russia and with Russian emigres elsewhere.

Donald Trump Jr., for example, was a keynote speaker at a Moscow real estate conference in 2008.

"Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets," Trump Jr. said during his speech, according to reports from the time. "We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."

The younger Trump was a paid speaker at the invitation of a conference group that is part of Trinity Events Group in London.

"We routinely select the best possible speakers for our events," said Jane Gelfand, managing director of Adam Smith Conferences, adding that former President Bill Clinton had spoken at the group's October 2005 International Leadership Summit in Moscow. "We can confirm that we have no relationship with any government, Russian or other."

One high-profile past tie was when Trump's former company put on the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. The report circulated by BuzzFeed alleged that Azerbaijan business associate Aras Agalarov had knowledge of compromising information about Trump. Agalarov helped cover the costs of putting on the pageant in Moscow, and at the time of the pageant he and Trump appeared in numerous photos together.

The Washington Post last June quoted Agalarov's son Emin as saying they'd discussed with Trump the possibility of adjacent buildings in Moscow. The Post report also cited 2013 comments from the elder Agalarov that he'd struck a deal with Trump to build in Moscow.

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