From October until last week, U.S. President #Donald Trump continues to insist that he has no financial links to Russia. But the billionaire admitted having sold a house to a wealthy Russian several years ago and holding the Miss Universe pageant in #Russia.

In 2012, a Russian billionaire visited the Miss USA pageant in Las Vegas on the invitation of the Miss Universe franchise holder then, real estate mogul Donald Trump. Aras Agalarov, the Russian billionaire, signed an agreement with Trump and paid him about $7 million in licensing fees to host the Miss Universe 2013 in one of their properties, the Crocus City Hall in Krasnogorsk, a Moscow suburb.

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Licensing partnership with Trump Organization

Forbes reported that Agalarov wanted a business relationship beyond the beauty pageant. It would begin with a planned construction of a Trump Tower beside an Agalarov Tower, according to Emin Agalarov, son of Aras.

The two billionaires picked a parcel of land and inked a letter of intent. However, the planned towers and a licensing partnership with the Trump Organization, which the Agaralovs were eyeing, were set aside because Trump decided to run for president as the Republican candidate.

Had the plans pushed through, Emin estimates the Trump Tower in Russia would be in the construction phase now. Nevertheless, he says the two families maintained the friendship with the rich Russians. They congratulated him on his poll victory in November and Trump sent them a handwritten note to thank the Agaralovs.

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Trump Organization calls fascination of press with story fabricated and misleading

However, since a lot of the communication between the Trumps and the Agaralovs were private, a spokesperson for the Trump Organization dismissed the narrative of Emin as fabricated and misleading. She insisted the organization owns no properties in Russia.

Forbes said based on its investigation, the Trumps never closed a deal in Russia, but Emin’s account is in contrast to what the president is insisting that he has no Russian ties. However, according to Forbes, after the Miss Universe 2013, Emin kept the friendship with the reality star by performing for “The Apprentice” host at one of his golf courses.

Before Trump announced he would run for president, Emin spent time in the New York headquarters of Trump. In 2014, on the younger Agalarov’s 35th birthday, the billionaire sent the young Russian a personal video recording telling Emin he is a winner, champ, and great at real estate.

Trump’s ties with Russians are not just with fellow real estate billionaires. Felix Sater is a former senior advisor to Trump and partner to the real estate giant with the Trump SoHo hotel condominium in the Big Apple. Sater, born in Russia, was jailed for one year for using a margarita glass to stab a man in the face in a bar fight. He had also pleaded guilty to racketeering as part of stock fraud but managed to escape imprisonment by turning into a government informant, according to Forbes. #Agaralov