It looks like President Donald Trump was right: Trump Tower was wiretapped.
However, he and his presidential campaign were not the targets, nor was the wiretap ordered by his predecessor Barack Obama.
Acting on a court-approved warrant, the FBI listened in on a Russian organized crime ring that operated out of unit 63A — just three stories below Trump’s penthouse home — in the Fifth Avenue high-rise.
More than 30 people were indicted by a federal grand jury because of the FBI’s two-year investigation, which ran from 2011 to 2013.
One of those indicted in April 2013, noted Russian mafia boss Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, has been a fugitive ever since, though he was spotted near future President Trump in Moscow at the Miss Universe pageant later that year.
Tokhtakhounov is suspected of heading a ring that, among other things, laundered more than $50 million into the U.S. from Russia, Ukraine and other countries via banks and shell companies based in Cyprus, FBI agent Mike Gaeta told ABC News.
Trump was not implicated in the FBI’s investigation, but his namesake skyscraper was under heavy scrutiny due to the activities in 63A, which was the residence of Vadim Trincher.Considered a key figure in the reported crime ring, Trincher pleaded guilty to racketeering and was given a five-year prison sentence. He’s slated for release this summer.
In a bombshell tweet earlier this month, Trump accused Obama of tapping “my phones during the very sacred election process.” He likened the alleged situation to former President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal and McCarthyism.
Obama quickly denied the claims, as did intelligence officials. The FBI on Monday said it had no evidence to substantiate Trump’s claims.
“With respect to the president’s tweets about alleged wiretapping directed at him by the prior administration, I have no information that supports those tweets,” FBI Director James Comey said.