Over the years, the Turkish-Kazakh entrepreneur and property developer Tevfik Arif has been subject to several conspiracy theories and myths. All of them take their starting points in Tevfik Arif's connection with the president of the United States, Donald Trump, and the fact that very little is known about the Turkish-Kazakh businessman.
One conspiracy theory, for instance, seeks to link Tevfik Arif, Donald Trump and Russian figures, but no evidence of an actual connection has ever been presented.
The same goes for other claims that all seem to be fabricated to attack the president and tarnish Arif's reputation.
Tevfik Arif: Caught in a web of conspiracy
While Tevfik Arif has business investments and operations all over the world, most Americans are familiar with him because of his company, Bayrock Group, and its partnership with The Trump Organization on the Trump SoHo luxury condo-hotel in New York City.
Some people have suggested that that project was used by Russia to hold financial leverage over Donald Trump, but no one has been able to prove this claim. Additionally, the project was completed before Trump revealed his political ambitions.
That Tevfik Arif was involved in such a plan has also been fabricated, as neither his nor his company's name is mentioned in the publicly released report of Robert Mueller's investigation.
Another important factor is that the timing and scope of the Trump SoHo project and the investigation do not coincide.
The condo-hotel was completed in 2008, which is seven years before Donald Trump started his presidential campaign. Furthermore, the Mueller investigation primarily focuses on activity in 2016.
Though The Trump Organization was involved in the management of the building, they were not the primary owners of the Trump SoHo project.
Bayrock Group has eventually stepped out of the venture and has remained dormant in the United States since around 2011.
Bayrock Group's business with Trump
Tevfik Arif's relationship with Donald Trump was always centered on business. While Bayrock Group and the Sapir Organization were the owners and developers of the condo-hotel project, The Trump Organization agreed to license the use of the Trump brand in exchange for 18% equity in the building.
Donald Trump did not invest any money in the Trump SoHo venture.
The parties discussed two new projects on the same terms in Florida and Arizona, but those plans were shattered because of the market collapse of the American real estate industry in 2008.
Tevfik Arif's experience from government, work and studies
Before Tevfik Arif started doing business around the world, he had a career in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic, where he was born and grew up.
Back then, his native country was part of the Soviet Union, and here, Tevfik Arif landed a job at a government office. The position was a very common and prestigious career choice for college graduates at that time.
Tevfik Arif's first job was at the Soviet Union's Ministry of Commerce and Trade, and later, he went on to serve as a chief economist and as the deputy head of the Ministry's Hotel Management Department.
After 17 years of working in the government, he left for the private sector during a time of privatization that followed the fall of the Soviet Union in the 1990s.
Tevfik Arif's years in the government offices combined with his degree in international relations from the Moscow Trade and Economic Institute gave him a unique understanding of real estate markets and property development.
That knowledge came in handy for him, as his businesses were mainly concentrated in luxury property development, the natural resources industry, and import and export trade.
Before entering the real estate market in the United States, Tevfik Arif's companies operated in Kazakhstan, Turkey and other countries in Central Asia and Europe.
Today, Tevfik Arif has retired from the daily operations of the international company he has built. He remains a trusted and key strategic advisor to the next generation of leadership in his family's business. Since taking leave from the business sector, Arif has dedicated more time to charitable causes that support strong communities and promote public health.