Recently a Manhattan court had dismissed a civil tax fraud case for $250 million. This was against Felix Sater, who is a Russian-American businessman. Besides, he had been an associate of President Donald Trump earlier.
Sater is the co-founder of the real-estate company, Bayrock. This case was filed under the qui tam law of New York State. This would give the authority to the attorney general to assign the claims of the state to those whistleblowers who had filed the complaints initially.
In this case, the whistleblower was a lawyer, Fred Oberlander. He is the attorney who had represented Jody Kriss at one time, against a money-laundering case that had been filed against this real-estate company.
Fred Oberlander further stated that his qui tam complaint had been filed based on certain information that was a part of the original complaint. But this information had been stricken by the federal judges from the original complaint of Jody Kriss. All this was disclosed by an attorney who had attended that hearing in the court.
This attorney further stated that it was not good for Fred Oberlander. It appeared that this complaint will get dismissed as Fred Oberlander had used information that had been removed by the federal judges terming it as confidential. Later on, this news was confirmed by Felix Sater and his lawyer.
Eric Schneiderman is the Attorney General. He had refused to intervene in this case last year itself. Also, he had clarified the same by sending a letter in February 2016 to the New York Supreme Court. This referred to a press release by Fred Oberlander that claimed that Schneiderman had been responsible for green-lighting this particular case. The reality was that the State had declined to intervene in this case.
Due to this reason, the attorney general’s office will be monitoring this case in order to ensure that the state’s rights along with interests are protected.
Another fact presented by the attorney who was present for these hearings was that the Attorney General’s office could file this case again as it had been dismissed on the basis of procedural grounds. The merits of the case were never in question. But the office of Eric Schneiderman has not responded to this comment. Another fact is that another lawyer, namely, Richard Lerner, who had brought this case against Sater with Fred Oberlander, plans to appeal this decision by the Manhattan Court.
It was in 2010 that an initial lawsuit was filed against Sater along with Bayrock. This was by its ex-Finance Director, namely, Jody Kriss. He was not involved in this qui tam case that had been brought in by Fred Oberlander later in. Kriss has alleged that this company has been substantially owned and operated by mob in a covert manner. Due to this reason, it has been engaged in several continuous crimes that are related to each other. These include mail and wire, as well as bank fraud. Other criminal activities include tax evasion; besides money laundering; and conspiracy; along with bribery; extortion; as well as embezzlement.
The founder of Bayrock is Tevfik Arif. Kriss has alleged that Sater and Arif have cheated him of millions of dollars through all this fraud, and money laundering, besides racketeering, and such other misconduct. A New York judge has ruled that this lawsuit would now be considered as a case of racketeering.
Kriss has further alleged that Sater and Tevrik Arif had been negotiating with the Trump Organization. This was in 2003 when they wanted to market certain projects that would be under the Trump brand name. But, Trump was not informed about the criminal past of Sater in this case.