The Bayrock Group was founded in 2001 by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan who became an international businessman. He founded Bayrock after he moved some of his businesses to the United States. Arif hired Russian businessman Felix Sater as managing director of Bayrock in 2003. Sater became Bayrock’s Chief Operating Officer, and assisted with several projects, including management of the Trump SoHo project.
Sater left Bayrock in 2008 after a New York Times article revealed his criminal past. In 1998, Sater had pled guilty to stock racketeering and fraud as part of a US and Russian mafia-connected $40 million stock pump and dump scheme. He worked with the CIA and the FBI, allegedly offering information on a black market for Stinger missiles. Sater later worked as a senior advisor to Trump.
According to Forbes Magazine, Bayrock is “a series of commonly controlled, but not wholly owned, limited liability companies.” Bayrock Group is arranged in tiers, with Bayrock Group LLC having a majority or plurality interest in around 12 subsidiary holding companies. The holding companies in turn have majority interests in companies on lower tiers. The lower tier subsidiaries correspond to individual real estate projects, with Bayrock Spring Street corresponding to Trump SoHo, Bayrock Camelback to the Phoenix hotel project, and Bayrock Merrimac to the Trump Fort Lauderdale hotel. Other Bayrock subsidiaries include Bayrock Whitestone and Bayrock Ocean Club.