Russian-born businessman Felix Sater says he proposed giving a $50 million penthouse to Russian President Vladimir Putin to entice other buyers in the proposed Trump Tower Moscow project, CBS News' Andres Triay has confirmed.
Sater told BuzzFeed News that he and former longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen — whoto lying to Congress over the proposed Moscow deal — thought giving the penthouse to Putin would encourage other Russian buyers to purchase their own units in the building. Sater told BuzzFeed the Putin penthouse was his idea. An attorney for Sater confirmed to CBS News Sater was quoted accurately.
"My idea was to give a $50 million penthouse to Putin and charge $250 million more for the rest of the units. All the oligarchs would line up to live in the same building as Putin," Felix told BuzzFeed.
The Trump Organization and the White House have not returned CBS News' requests for comment.
Sater, a real estate developer with past American mob ties, is one of the unnamed individuals in Cohen's guilty plea, CBS News confirmed. Cohen claimed to Congress that he primarily communicated with a Moscow-based development company through Sater, listed as "Individual 2."
Sater was the managing director of the Bayrock Group, a real estate conglomerate, when the Trump SoHo building in Manhattan was under construction. He was also an FBI informant, and went to prison for a year for stabbing a man in a face with a broken margarita glass during a bar fight.
News of the proposed Putin penthouse came hours after Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about the Moscow proposal. Cohen had claimed conversations about the possible project ended in January 2016 — instead, they extended well into Mr. Trump's presidential bid, into June 2016, after Mr. Trump had enough delegates to clinch the GOP nomination.
Cohen claimed he misled Congress, "to be consistent with Individual 1's political messaging and out of loyalty to Individual 1."