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Journalists Identify Three More Foreign Donors to Trump’s Inaugural Committee

**From Jon Swaine in *The Guardian*:**

[Trump inauguration took money from shell companies tied to foreigners: Creators of firms that donated revealed by Guardian as Indian financier, lobbyist with links to Taiwan and Israeli real estate developer](https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/08/trump-inauguration-money-shell-companies-revealed)

>The Guardian has identified the creators of three obscure firms that contributed money to Trump’s inaugural committee, which collected a record $107m as he entered the White House in 2017.

>The three companies each gave $25,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. At least one of the contributions was made for a foreign national who appears ineligible to make political donations in the US.

**The Indian Financier:**

A $25,000 contribution to Trump’s inaugural fund came from a shell company tied to **Cyrus Vandrevala**, a Mumbai-born financier based in London. Vandrevala’s father-in-law, Niranjan Hiranandani, is one of the wealthiest figures in Indian real estate. He currently serves as president of an influential real estate industry lobby group in the country.

* The contribution appears to have paid for **two VIP tickets** to Trump’s inauguration. He and his wife, Priya, attended the event in Washington and also enjoyed a **“private breakfast” with Trump**.

* Vandrevala’s US investment company, **Intrepid Capital Partners**, has an office at the same complex in Wayne.

* Intrepid Capital Partners has a property arm, **ICP Real Estate**, which was created to finance developments in India. It claimed to be amassing a $7bn investment fund for building homes and has targeted the cities of Mumbai and Pune, both of which are home to Trump-branded towers.

* Donald Trump Jr, the president’s eldest son, has described India as “the biggest push for our organisation”. The Trump company lists four Indian developments in its portfolio. A visit to the country last year by Trump Jr incurred almost $98,000 in publicly funded security costs.

* The $25,000 payment came from an LLC calling itself **Sierra Vista**. Its stated address is a suburban office park in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

* An LLC named **Sierra Vista 1** has also cited the office park as its address in business records. Sierra Vista 1 is an investment vehicle funded with Vandrevala’s money.

* Sierra Vista 1 was set up in 2014 was **John Teaford**, a businessman who has worked on several Vandrevala ventures since the 1990s. Asked whether he handled Sierra Vista’s payment to the inauguration for Vandrevala, Teaford said: “I probably did.”

**The Taiwanese Lobbyist:**

Another $25,000 came from **Pong Hsiang a/k/a “David Sean”**, a Taiwanese-American businessman based in southern California. One of Hsiang’s daughters was given an internship at the Trump White House last year.

* Two months before election day in 2016, Hsiang formed **Jan Castle LLC** in Georgia. Hsiang’s wife, **Joann**, said that Hsiang created Jan Castle for **three Chinese investors**. The company’s original filing to Georgia identified someone named **Jianning He** as its “organizer”.

* Shortly before Christmas in 2016, Jan Castle LLC contributed $25,000 to Trump’s inauguration fund.

* Reached for comment, Hsiang, who describes himself as an enthusiastic Trump supporter, provided copies of complaint letters he said he had sent to the FBI, the CIA, the FEC and the IRS, requesting that each agency investigate the author of the *Guardian* article:

>I refuse to collude with Chinese communists and insist [on] investment with no condition attached. My company objective is to take back stolen trillion dollar from communist China and put into manufacturing sector in United States. And I will work hard to achieve this mission objective til the day I am perished from the earth.

* In prior lobbying disclosures, Hsiang registered jointly with an associate named **Lu Zhongying a/k/a “Johnny Lu”**, who is an “international trade consultant” and adviser to Taiwan’s overseas community affairs council.

**The Israeli Developer:**

Another $25,000 came into Trump’s inaugural fund three days before the president’s swearing-in from a company named **New York State Property Management Corporation**.

* A company with that name is registered with New York authorities at a small office building elsewhere in the region. The Guardian traced the firm back to **Elon Lebouvich a/k/a “Allen Lebo”**, an Israeli businessman in his mid-40s, who is involved in New York real estate.

* Lebouvich has served as a representative for a family of wealthy Moroccan investors in US legal disputes.

* Lebouvich is currently developing a $5m retail property in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. The building is owned by an LLC controlled by the 74-year-old mother of Lebouvich’s attorney.

* Lebouvich said his $25,000 contribution paid for **two tickets to the inauguration for “me and somebody else”.** He would not say who used the second ticket. When asked if he was entitled to contribute, he said: “I don’t have the time to talk about it” and ended the call.

* In a subsequent email, Lebouvich said he had held permanent US residency for about five years, which would mean he was entitled to contribute. He declined to discuss the contribution and threatened legal action.

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One thought on “Journalists Identify Three More Foreign Donors to Trump’s Inaugural Committee

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