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Silk Road Group executive refutes New Yorker article about Trump deal

  • The New Yorker's article regarding Trump's business with the Silk Road Group is completely untrue, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, the group's U.S. executive, tells CNBC.
  • "The BTA Bank-Silk Road relationship ended in 2008. … The deal with Mr. Trump and Trump Organization was signed in 2011," he says.

The New Yorker's article regarding Trump's business with the Silk Road Group is completely untrue, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, the group's U.S. executive, told CNBC on Friday.

The New Yorker stands by its reporting.

The article, published in August, details President Donald Trump's deal with The Silk Road Group to build luxurious condominiums in the seaside town of Batumi, Georgia. The article details suspected ties between Silk Road Group and BTA Bank, which is mired in allegations of fraud and money-laundering.

Although a licensing agreement for the building was reached (and Trump reportedly received $1 million for it), the deal ended in 2017 when Trump became president.

The New Yorker article quoted Rtskhiladze several times.

"It was a new reality. Mr. Trump became president. It was a different situation, and we amicably agreed to stop this contract," George Ramishvili, the group's CEO, told CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Real estate developer Donald Trump, left, and George Ramishvili, Chairman of Silk Road Group, talk following a news conference in New York, Thursday, March 10, 2011.
Mark Lennihan | AP
Real estate developer Donald Trump, left, and George Ramishvili, Chairman of Silk Road Group, talk following a news conference in New York, Thursday, March 10, 2011.

Asked on "Power Lunch" about the allegations in the New Yorker article, Rtskhiladze said, "First of all, I hope less people read the New Yorker article because it's just untrue. … When reporting something, it would really help to be honest about facts, and the article has really neglected the facts."

"The BTA Bank-Silk Road relationship ended in 2008. … The deal with Mr. Trump and Trump Organization was signed in 2011," he continued.

Rtskhiladze said that the company has "not heard from anybody" — referring to special counsel Robert Mueller or other investigative bodies in the U.S. — who may want the company to testify against the president in the Russian probe.

Although Trump is no longer involved, the company announced it is moving forward with plans for the tower which will maintain the same architectural concept Trump approved of.

Ramishvili says he would be "happy" to team up with the president again in the future.

CORRECTION: A New Yorker article details suspected ties between Silk Road Group and BTA Bank, which is mired in allegations of fraud and money-laundering. The summation of that work was misstated in an earlier version of this article.