How a shopping mall transformed into a magnet of wealthy, powerful people.
The Westgate Mall, a $100bn shopping centre that opened in 2005, has been dubbed “The Place for the Rich and Powerful”.
In 2016, Forbes ranked it number nine on its list of the world’s 50 most valuable private companies.
It has a wealth of properties ranging from luxury hotels to luxury apartments, including a $1bn luxury hotel that opened last year.
The shopping centre has become the focus of a corruption scandal.
In February this year, an investigation by The New York Times found that the US Attorney’s Office was investigating whether a group of high-ranking officials from the US government and its allies had used the mall as a meeting place for senior US officials and their family members.
In a report to the Senate committee investigating the 2016 corruption scandal, the DOJ stated that the Trump administration had a direct and indirect interest in the corruption.US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement: “The Trump administration has repeatedly and aggressively pursued a broad range of corruption cases in connection with the 2016 and 2017 election campaigns and has made significant progress in many of them.
However, the corruption of US politics has taken on a new dimension with the release of the Panama Papers, which has revealed a vast and potentially criminal conspiracy that involves members of the Trump family, associates and associates of the President and his family.”
The investigation was revealed as part of a joint probe by the Senate Committee on Government Reform, which is probing the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the DOJ said: “We have consistently and aggressively prosecuted cases involving alleged corruption at the highest levels of government and we continue to investigate.”
“The investigation is ongoing, and we are confident that we will identify and bring to justice those responsible for this type of corruption,” the spokesperson added.
“We have a dedicated team of prosecutors and investigators who are dedicated to the pursuit of the highest ethical standards.
We will continue to cooperate fully with our US counterparts.”
In 2016 the New York Attorney General said that the number of people with ties to the Trump Administration had risen to “at least 10,000”.
In the same year, The New Yorker magazine reported that one of the members of President Trump’s inner circle, Michael Cohen, and his son, Michael Gove, were close associates of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
The Times also said that Michael Cohen had been a director of the Moscow-based investment bank Sberbank and that his son Michael Govt, who had previously worked for Trump’s campaign, had been on the board of the bank for a period of at least three years.
The investigation by the House committee and the US attorney general’s office began shortly after Trump took office in January 2017.
The report found that “there is evidence that a significant number of high level senior officials of the US Government and its intelligence community may have been aware of and benefited from the misuse of the Westfield Shopping Centre by foreign officials”.
“The Trump Administration’s actions at the time did not take into account the seriousness of the evidence, or its potential impact on the ability of the United States Government to conduct a credible foreign policy,” it added.
“Instead, the President’s actions led directly to the destruction of a vital public asset, and he did so without a proper investigation or due process.”
The report stated that “an extensive investigation into the Westgates misuse of US property, and its use by senior officials at the Department of Justice, the Department, and at the State Department, has yet to be completed”.
The inquiry found that in 2016, the department of the president’s homeland security, Robert Hormats, “did not have sufficient information to establish that Westgate was in fact a US Government property and that it was subject to the control of the Russian Federation”.
It said there was “substantial doubt” about the Trump White House’s knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the use of the shopping centre by Russian officials.
“Based on the information available to us, we believe there is significant doubt as to whether Westgate is a US property,” the report said.
Earlier this year the Senate Judiciary Committee released a report into the Trump Tower Russia scandal that found evidence that Russian officials had “directed” the Trump Organisation to invest in the property.
“We are confident the Trump team and Russian officials did not intend to conceal the true nature of the investment,” said Rep John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the committee.
“But, to their credit, they chose to conceal this information from the American people and their Congress.”
The US government has said it is cooperating with the investigation, but “there are many unanswered questions” about its conduct.
Last year, the US Senate Committee issued a report accusing Trump of “serious misconduct” and “repeated breaches of his duty of loyalty” in the matter.
The report concluded