Back in May 2016, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) acquired a massive trove of leaked documents and published them as the Panama Papers. The cache of 11.5 million files covers 40 years of data and names more than 360,000 people linked to Mossack Fonseca, a law firm that provided offshore financial services for über-wealthy people like Donald Trump.
When the ICIJ published the papers, the director and co-founder of the UK-based Tax Justice Network, John Christensen, said:
It’s the biggest leak we’ve ever seen of this kind. While many people don’t know it, this affects the global economy, the way our governments work, all of us every single working day of our lives.
Enter Jake Bernstein, an investigative journalist, author — and a senior reporter on the ICIJ team. Bernstein has been poring over the Panama Papers and has pinpointed Trump's first mention in the files.
In 1991, Process Consultans, Inc. bought a unit in the newly constructed Trump Palace on 200 East 69 Street in Manhattan. The 54-story skyscraper was the tallest building above 60thStreet.
The Trump Palace was open for business for foreign buyers and sellers, some of them hiding behind anonymous shell companies.
The person or persons behind Process Consultans decided to sell his condo in 1994. Trump Corporation was the exclusive broker.
BREAKING: Donald Trump Appears in the Panama Papers...— Brian Krassenstein🐬 (@krassenstein) November 25, 2017
The deal involved a mysterious Panamanian company called Process Consultants, Inc., which bought a 16th floor condo at the Trump skyscraper in 1991.
This is a red flag for laundering money, Right? Must be part of Mueller's investigation - we hope! This feels like we've elected a mafia boss to be President. Must be a way to put him in jail. We can do better than this!— Verona (@veronafonte) November 26, 2017
Fake News! Trump doesn't own any skyscrapers. Well yes he does but no condos in them. Well there's condos but none were sold to Process Consultants. Well yes some were sold to them but not in 1991. Maybe in 1991 but it wasn't condos. Trump doesn't own skyscrapers. Fake news!— Etienne Fortin (@ebfortin) November 26, 2017
Donald Trump's name came up 3,450 times in Panama Papers, but our vile Potus is worried about his orange face not being splattered on the Time Magazine in order to satisfied his narcissistic state of being. Since Flynn flipped & talking to Mueller, Trump's taxes will be exposed.— JoJo (@DomajorReminor) November 25, 2017
Bernstein authored the book Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite. His findings could spell more trouble for Trump should Congress decide to investigate further.