Court documents show Felix Sater, former Sands Point resident, provided intelligence on al-Qaida, North Korea

Court documents show Felix Sater, former Sands Point resident, provided intelligence on al-Qaida, North Korea
Felix Sater at an event in Port Washington in 2014. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Newly unsealed documents detail the breadth of Felix Sater’s decadelong relationship with the FBI as an informant, a position where he provided information on the whereabouts of terrorists, insight into North Korean nuclear programs and aided in the repurchase of Stinger missiles from Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance.

Sater, a former Port Washington resident and ex-associate of President Donald Trump, has frequently appeared in the media over the past year due to his involvement in attempting to broker a Trump Tower in Moscow while Trump was on the campaign trail.  

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), an assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York at the time, said in a sentencing letter submitted by the government on Sater’s behalf in 2009 that his cooperation was “extensive and greatly assisted the government’s efforts in fighting crimes in multiple arenas.” 

Late last month, a federal court in Brooklyn unsealed two letters, one from Sater’s attorney and another by the government, that asked the judge to consider Sater’s extensive cooperation with the government when determining his sentence. 

Sater became involved with the FBI in 1998 after he had heard that he was being investigated for a “pump-and-dump” stock scheme he had been involved with, according to an unsealed letter written by Sater’s attorneys. At the time, he was working in Russia as a consultant for AT&T. 

His attorney’s letter states that he began cooperating immediately upon the news he was being investigated and arranged to meet a “high-ranking U.S. military intelligence officer and former military attache” at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. 

His first mission as detailed in the letter was to help the U.S. purchase a “particular high-end anti-missile system from Russia,” for which Sater covertly entered a Russian military installation, located the missile and relayed the information back to the officer. 

Sater also aided CIA efforts to repurchase Stinger missiles from the Northern Alliance, in which he obtained the location and serial numbers of 10 missiles, according to court documents. 

After voluntarily flying from Russia to the United States to surrender to authorities in September 1998, the letter states, Sater provided the FBI with Osama Bin Laden’s satellite phone number, and he was later told by an FBI agent that the phone number was authentic. 

He then allegedly established a connection with a precious stones dealer who had connections with the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. Through Sater, the connection provided the FBI with information into Bin Laden’s whereabouts, Al Qaeda’s internal structuring and financial capabilities, Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s whereabouts, ground reports on who was killed by U.S. airstrikes, details of an assassination plot against former President George W. Bush and North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, Kaminsky’s letter stated.

Morgan Lewis’, the firm that represented Sater in the matter, said in a letter that Sater was more than “simply honest and forthcoming” over the course of his cooperation, but was proactive and “risked his life numerous times in ways not normally seen in the criminal justice system.” 

From 2004 through 2008, Sater aided the FBI in bringing down two  international money laundering and cyberfraud schemes that originated in Russia, according to court documents. 

A document stated that for over a year, he “received money transfers that had been siphoned from banking, brokerage and credit cards in the United States.” After establishing a relationship with the fraudsters, Sater traveled to Cyprus and arranged a meeting with the suspects. 

“Felix’s cover came dangerously close to being blown during the operation, when the Russian unexpectedly directed Felix to get in a car with them and drive to another area,” his attorney’s letter states. 

Sater also provided extensive background information into various subjects that were of use to the FBI, according to court documents. Specifically, he provided knowledge on modern stock manipulation schemes and the mafia’s involvement in the maintenance of those schemes; background used to shape the conviction of Philip Abramo, who was known in organized crime as the “King of Wall Street;” and information regarding the identities of organized crime leaders in Russia and the roles they occupied in the hierarchy of organized crime. 

Kaminsky said in his letter that Sater worked continuously with a number of FBI agents. 

“Without exception, every one of these agents has told the government that Sater was an exemplary cooperator who worked diligently to further the aims of the missions to which he was assigned,” he said. 

The court documents state that Sater’s FBI cooperation ended with a 2007 article in The New York Times that detailed his FBI involvement. 

Judge Leo Glasser ultimately imposed a $25,000 fine on Sater in 2009 for his involvement in the stock fraud scheme, an enterprise Sater became involved in after losing his stockbroker’s license for slashing a competitor in the face with a broken margarita glass in 1991. He was 25 years old. 

In 2003, Sater joined Bayrock Group LLC, a luxury mortgage firm whose home office was on the 24th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan, two floors below the office of Donald Trump, a real estate mogul at the time whom Sater had “successfully promoted and managed projects for,” court documents state.

He said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times that he “was building Trump Towers by day and hunting Bin Laden by night.” 

After recent testimony before the House intelligence committee, which was looking into the proposed Trump Tower in Moscow, Sater is said to have “failed to cooperate.” 

Sater sold his Sands Point home in February to relocate to waterfront property, local real estate agent Kathy Levinson said in a previous interview. He purchased the home in 2004 and moved from another property within Port Washington. 

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