Zucker, Shnaider's lawyer, told The Journal that Midland Resources "has never had any relationship with VEB" and "does not dictate where their purchasers borrow funds." He told Business Insider that the Journal " got their facts all wrong."
"Trump was never a partner," Zucker said. "He never had an equity interest. We licensed his name and there was a contract for him to manage the hotel."
The Trump Organization has distanced itself from the Toronto project, which faced financial difficulties last year. The organization "merely licensed its brand and manages the hotel and residences," it told The Journal in a statement.
The project was initially a joint venture between Trump and Shnaider, who approached Trump in 2004 asking to license the Trump name for the 65-story tower. Trump said at the time that he would "manage the hotel's operations," according to The Journal, while Shnaider and his business partner, Val Levitan, would focus on the development.
Additionally, Zucker claimed, "we had nothing to do with VEB... the infusion of cash [into the hotel] didn't come from the Russians -- Alex [Shnaider] borrowed $350 million from an Austrian bank and invested some of his own" into the project.
Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, met with the Vnesheconombank CEO Sergey Gorkov in December, The New York Times reported in late March. Putin appointed Gorkov in January 2016 as part of a restructuring of the bank's management team, according to Bloomberg.
At the time, Kushner was trying to find investors for an office building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, told The Times that Gorkov and Kushner didn't discuss the Kushner Tower project, and a White House official said in a statement that Kushner met with Gorkov as part of his role as "the official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials."
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