News & Politics

The Rumor About Donald Trump and Russian Prostitutes in a Hotel Room Can Be Traced to a Shady Belarus Real Estate Agent

Sergei Millian, the man behind the most explosive rumor in the Russian dossier, may or may not be trustworthy.

Photo Credit: Mike Maguire / Flickr

The infamous collection of reports about President Donald Trump’s alleged dealings with Russian businesses and government officials appears to be Sergei Millian, a Florida-based real estate agent who is known for what one former associate called “talking so much shit.”

In an extensive look at Millian published by The Washington Post on Thursday, we learn that the Belarusan-American businessman appears to have had some connections with Trump’s real estate empire but that he also is far from being the “close associate of Trump” he was alleged to be by Christopher Steele, the former British spy who wrote the dossier or a group of anti-Trump Democratic donors.

In the Steele document, Millian is identified as “Source D” and appears to be the original source of some of its most salacious allegations, including the claim that Trump had hired prostitutes in a Russian hotel and had them urinate on a bed.

Following up on earlier work by The Wall Street Journal which first identified Millian, the Post’s Rosalind Helderman and Tom Hamburger argued that he is “either a shrewd businessman with high-level access to both Trump’s inner circle and the Kremlin, or a bystander unwittingly caught up in a global controversy.”

They ultimately settle on believing some of both after recounting several notable claims:

1. Millian does appear to have met Trump at least once and had been photographed with him. He also attended at least one VIP reception for the president’s inauguration.

2. In Russian-language TV interviews, Millian has claimed he had been hired to sell condominiums at a real estate project in Florida to which Trump had licensed his name. The owner of the development told the Post he has no record of Millian ever being paid to do that.

3. Millian has also claimed to a Russian news agency that he was the “exclusive broker” of a deal to market Trump projects in Russia. “You can say that I was their exclusive broker,” he claimed.

4.Several people who work in South Florida’s high-end real estate world have no knowledge or records of his work in the luxury market there.

5. Last summer, Millian posted photos of himself with several top Russian government officials and business owners.

Millian was also one of about 100 people that Michael Cohen, Trump’s former top attorney followed on Twitter. Speaking to the Post, Cohen said he had never met Millian. He told the paper that he had a printed copy of an email that the real estate agent had sent to him which reads as follows:

“I met Mr. Trump once, long time ago, in 2008, pretty much for a photo opportunity and a brief talk as part of my marketing work for Trump Hollywood, after my brokering service was signed. Now, to say that I have substantial ties is total nonsense.”

Cohen told the Post he could not provide an electronic copy of the message for review since his access to the Trump Organization’s email server was revoked after he started working at the White House as the president’s personal attorney.

Millian is still on Twitter — @SergeiMillian — if you’re interested in what he has to say:

Here’s an excerpt from an opus he posted in February:

“Americans voted for President Trump and thus performed God’s will. . . . Your salvation is to pray for good health for the US President Trump and give your best efforts to help him make our country great again.”

Matthew Sheffield writes about politics, media, and technology for Salon. You can email him via [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018