Tevfik Arif’s business relationship with Donald Trump has unfairly made him a target of speculation and conspiracy plots against the US president.
Tevfik Arif is an entrepreneur and property developer with business investments and operations around the world. In the United States, Arif is most well-known for his company, Bayrock Group’s, partnership with The Trump Organization on the Trump SoHo luxury hotel and condominium project in New York City.
Due to his connections with the president of the United States and the fact that little is known about who he is, Tevfik Arif has become the subject of numerous conspiracy theories and myths involving Donald Trump. Exploring these claims, it is clear that many are baseless or have been distorted to attack the president.
Tevfik Arif was a Soviet official.
Tevfik Arif was born in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and grew up in the country while it was still part of the Soviet Union. At one time, he did work as an employee of a government office within the Soviet Union, a career choice that was very common and prestigious for college graduates at that time. He began his career working in the Soviet Union’s Ministry of Commerce and Trade. During his 17 years in public service, he served as a chief economist and as the deputy head of the Ministry’s Hotel Management Department. His experience in these roles and his degree in international relations from the Moscow Trade and Economic Institute gave Arif a unique understanding of real estate markets and property development.
Arif left his position in the government for the private sector during the period of privatization that followed the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s. His businesses were primarily concentrated in the natural resources industry, import and export trade, and luxury property development. Before entering the United States real estate market, Arif’s businesses operated in Kazakhstan, Turkey and other countries in Central Asia and Europe.
Tevfik Arif’s Relationship with Donald Trump
Arif’s relationship with Donald Trump was a business relationship. Arif’s company, Bayrock Group, worked with The Trump Organization on the Trump SoHo project in New York City. Bayrock Group and the Sapir Organization were the owners and developers of the project. A licensing agreement was signed with the Trump Organization to use the Trump brand in exchange for 18% equity in the building. Donald Trump did not invest any capital in the project.
The companies were in talks to develop additional projects based on similar terms in Florida and Arizona. However, the market collapse of the US real estate industry in 2008 obstructed the further development of these projects. They never progressed beyond the initial planning phase or were never completed.
Tevfik Arif served as a connection between Donald Trump and Russian officials.
Tevfik Arif’s business dealings with Donald Trump ended long before Trump announced his candidacy for president in 2015. Conspiracy theorists have attempted to weave a story that connects Arif, Donald Trump and Russian figures, however, no evidence to support these claims exists. These are false, weak attempts to attack the president using his past business deals to make outrageous accusations that are slanderous.
Both men are international entrepreneurs and businessmen. Arif was a legitimate business partner whose company worked with Donald Trump’s company on luxury real estate development projects.
Bayrock Group was a target of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.
Some have suggested that the Trump SoHo project was used by Russia to hold financial leverage over Donald Trump. However, this is no more than false speculation, and there is no evidence to support these claims. There is no mention of Tevfik Arif or Bayrock Group in the publicly released report of Robert Mueller’s investigation. In addition, the timing and scope of the Trump SoHo project and the investigation do not coincide.
Trump SoHo was completed in 2008, Donald Trump began his presidential campaign in 2015, and the Mueller investigation centered on activity that occurred primarily in 2016. As for the financial claims, the Trump Organization was involved in the management of the building, but they were not the primary owners of the project. After exiting the Trump SoHo project, Bayrock Group has remained dormant in the United States since around 2011.