Trump-Russia Probes Linked to New Jersey, Nevada Online Gambling Ancillary Companies
The multiple and expanding probes into links between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and administration and various Russian government-connected entities have taken an online-gambling twist in recent days. In a just-published feature on the Patribotics blog, evidence has been presented that Trump-connected entities in both New Jersey and Neavada, purportedly connected to online gambling services, have instead been used as money-laundering channels in connection with Russian efforts to influence the outcome of last fall’s U.S. General election.
The Patribotics blog, run primarily by investigative writers Louise Mensch and Claude Taylor, has been a go-to source for several months for information on the alleged illegal activities on numerous high-profile members of the Trump administration. Fed by acknowledged leaks from within the US intelligence community, Mensch and Taylor have scooped the mainstream media by weeks or months on several recent stories involving the expanding Trump-Russia probes.
Here, we’ll stay closer to home, focusing on online-gambling and online-poker related matters. The most recent Patribotics exposé contains two separate sets of curious allegations. In the first, a matter connected to both Nevada and New Jersey online gambling, the Patribotics blog reports on the very recent scrubbing of Ivanka Trump as a “key person” (usually a leading executive) for various Trump-related entities such as Poker Venture Managing Member Corp, Poker Venture LLC, TW Venture I LLC, Tihm Manager Corp (corporate office of Trump International Hotels Management LLC) and more.
All told, at least 11 such Trump-connected umbrella companies have been identified as having daughter Ivanka’s name removed from their official records in recent weeks.
According to Patribotics:
“Sources with links to the intelligence community and separate sources with links to the White House say that these companies were designed to disguise Russian payments and money-laundering. They further point, these sources say, to the fact that the Kelhios botnet – which was used in Russia’s hack on the American election – was run by a command and control server working from Trump Tower, with the full knowledge of Eric Trump.”
The above may be true for some of the corporate entities, though Poker Ventures and its associated entity Poker Venture Managing Member Corp, have actually been around since 2012. They were created back when Donald Trump was imagining ways to get back into the gambling business, and the freshly-opened online markets of Nevada and New Jersey seemed like an opportunity. The only problem with that, of course, was that Trump had largely worn out his welcome with the US casino industry.
Trump didn’t have any ownership in a Nevada or NJ casino by 2012, and the casinos in those states largely didn’t want to work with him. (The “Trump” on Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal was a relic of his prior ownership of that casino.) So the Poker Ventures entities existed but languished, and that’s why, reading between the lines, they were available as money-laundering conduits for the dirty Russian money allegedly used to alter the shape of last year’s US presidential election. There’s lots, lots more to this, but this is a gambling-news outlet, not a political outlet, so our readers can research from there, should they choose.
There’s still more from Patribotics’ latest that connects to online gambling, however, particularly in New Jersey. Poker Ventures LLC has been on New Jersey’s official list of ancillary companies for quite some time, though again, it’s not clear the company actually works with any of New Jersey’s licensed casino operators.
Yet there’s a larger list connected to New Jersey online gambling, and that’s the state’s list of Internet Gaming Related Vendor Registrants. Essentially anyone can sign up as a vendor registrant, for a modest fee; registrants undergo very minimal scrutiny and are then allowed to offer third-party services that support or are connected to New Jersey’s online-gambling market in some way.
Patribotics’ intelligence-community sources have pointed them toward three recent additions to the list, Novacorp Net Ltd, VidMob Inc, and Reblaze Technologies, suggesting that these are Russian-owned entities that have just been filed into New Jersey’s records as cover for some of the dark money that’s flowed from Russia into Trump’s coffers.
Well, maybe. The first of the three, NovaCorp Net Ltd, appears to be an affiliate operation based in Malta, now seeking access to the growing NJ market. There are other Malta-based affiliates among the several dozen such affiliate operations already within the NJ vendor list.
The other two, VidMob Inc. and Reblaze Technologies, are rather more suspect. As Patribotics notes, both companies have Russian ties and neither appears to other the types of services that easily relate to the New Jersey online gambling sphere. VidMob Inc. is a video company based in the States, but one of its developers is a Russian, Sergey Shpuntov, whose Samara, Russia-based firm Patribotics’ intel contacts appear to have linked to the alleged election-process hacking.
Then there’s Reblaze Technologies, an Israeli web-security firm with, according to Patribotics, plenty of Russian programming input. It’s not clear that Reblaze has anything to offer to the New Jersey online gambling market, though the company has published corporate blogs attacking the use of specialized online surveillance tools as used by (and stolen from) the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) in last year’s “Shadow Brokers” affair.
The sudden public exposure given to these recent New Jersey vendor applicants is likely to trigger a deeper review of VidMob, Reblaze Technologies, NovaCorp Net, and perhaps even Donald Trump’s own Poker Ventures LLC as well.