Bayrock Group
(Photo : Bayrock Group)

In next to no time, Bayrock Group went from being a newcomer to a successful real estate development company doing business with the industry's biggest players.

Over the years, the relationship between the New York City-based luxury real estate development firm Bayrock Group and Donald Trump has been the target of many conspiracy theories that have all turned out to be untrue.

According to some of the allegations, Donald Trump connected to Russia through Bayrock Group's founder, Tevfik Arif, who worked for the government of Soviet Kazakhstan for 17 years and is a former Soviet citizen.

Others claim that the business relations between Donald Trump and Bayrock Group's founder developed into a personal relationship, but no evidence has ever been found to support either of these conspiracy theories.

The relationship between Tevfik Arif and Donald Trump was merely business-related and began in 2001.

In that year, the Turkish-Kazakhstani businessman Tevfik Arif moved to the United States to be closer to the American branch of his family, but he also had business in mind.

He settled in New York City and established the luxury real estate development company Bayrock Group.

One of the first projects that the newly founded firm landed was renovating the mall Loehmann's Seaport Plaza in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn.

After several more successful real estate development project, Bayrock Group decided that it was time for a change.

The company endeavored to take on increasingly large projects and also moved its headquarters to the 24th floor of the Trump Tower on the world-renowned Fifth Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

This is where Donald Trump came into the picture. His organization had offices in the same building, and the two companies started to plan a condo-hotel in SoHo in New York City.

Bayrock Group was already working on the construction with the Sapir Organization before meeting with the Trump Organization, but the new partner added great value to the project.

The three parties agreed to grant the Trump Organization 18% equity in the building in exchange for using the Trump name in the project's title.

Tevfik Arif was certain that the Trump name would add prestige and recognition to the project.

Bayrock Group ensures luxury inside and out

Bayrock Group, the Trump Organization and the Sapir Organization named the building Trump SoHo and kicked off the construction on Spring Street in SoHo, New York City in 2006.

Just two years later, a 46-story impressive building with floor-to-ceiling windows stood ready, offering incredible views of the Big Apple.

Apart from apartments and hotel rooms, Trump SoHo boasted premium restaurants and bars, a spa, a banquet hall, event halls and an outdoor pool.

Handel Architects, the company behind the September 11th National Memorial in New York City and the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C., was chosen to design the exterior of the building.

The firm has experience from around the world and is known as a leader in the field of design and architecture.

To make the interior just as exquisite as the exterior, Bayrock Group hired Rockwell Group to furnish the condo-hotel with items from the Italian brand Fendi Casa.

Bayrock-Trump projects in Florida and Arizona

Following the success of Trump SoHo, Bayrock Group and the Trump Organization planned additional luxury real estate development projects under the same licensing terms in Florida and Arizona.

However, the 2008 financial crisis, which heavily impacted the American real estate market, put a stop to the plans.

Because of a change in the American market, Tevfik Arif decided to return to Europe and Central Asia, where his career had started years earlier.

While active in the United States, Bayrock Group invested in real estate assets worth more than $2.5 million, however, the company has not pursued new American ventures in recent years.

Exposed: How Bayrock Group Made Its Way to Trump
Tevfik Arif was in charge of several companies in Europe and Central Asia before he went to New York City and established Bayrock Group in 2001.

Tevfik Arif makes it to America

Before founding Bayrock Group in 2001, Tevfik Arif operated in Kazakhstan and Turkey among other countries.

He grew up in Soviet Kazakhstan to parents of Turkish descent and pursued a degree in International Relations from the Moscow Trade and Economic Institute.

After graduating, Tevfik Arif accepted a job in the Soviet Ministry of Commerce and Trade, where he rose to the position of deputy head of the Ministry's Hotel Management Department.

With 17 years of experience from the government offices, Tevfik Arif chose to leave the public sector and start his own businesses. This happened at a time of industry privatization that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Tevfik Arif's new businesses dealt with luxury real estate development, hotels, imports and exports, automobiles, food, natural resources and minerals.

In 1993, he moved to Turkey where he made put to good use his knowledge of the hotel and real estate industries, as he opened the Labada luxury hotel in Antalya.

The hotel was an all-inclusive resort, and Tevfik Arif became one of the pioneering forces behind the concept in Turkey.

Until 2001, where he established Bayrock Group, Tevfik Arif expanded his operations to Europe.

Today, he has retired from most of the day-to-day work in Bayrock Group, but he is still a trusted and valued advisor to the firm.