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28 Mar, 2023 16:31

FBI releases file on Trump’s first wife

The agency spent two years looking into Ivana Trump’s connections in her home country of Czechoslovakia
FBI releases file on Trump’s first wife

The FBI spent two years investigating former US president Donald Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, over alleged ties to questionable elements in her native Czechoslovakia, according to records released by the agency and published by Bloomberg on Monday. 

The FBI released 176 pages of Trump’s file, having reviewed 365 pages, according to a cover letter accompanying the documents on Friday. The agency reportedly told Bloomberg it had found nearly 900 pages of “potentially responsive documents” in total, warning it would take up to five years to deliver them all, but promised to release the rest next month after Bloomberg sued them. 

A heavily redacted document from February 1989 stamped “secret” and later declassified recommends the opening of a preliminary inquiry on Trump, born Ivana Zelnickova and previously known as Ivana Winklmayr, based on information from a confidential source.

However, another “secret” document acknowledges that the “allegations” made against her could potentially “stem from jealousies of her wealth and fame.”  

The file initially describes Trump as a former Olympic skier who met Donald Trump in 1975 “on a ski trip” and married him two years later. A later revision claims the pair met in 1976 “at the Montreal Summer Olympics,” while a third version describes her as the “alternate for the Czech Olympic ski team” who moved to Montreal to model before marrying the real estate mogul.

Later, more details are filled in – she moved to Vienna to work as a model after graduating from university in Prague, married an Austrian whose name is redacted (presumably Winklmayr) and obtained Austrian citizenship, then moved to Montreal. There, “conflicting information” indicates she was either a model or ski instructor and made frequent visits to the US before obtaining permanent residency there in 1978 – a year after marrying Trump.

The documents inquire into the circumstances of her moves from then-Communist Czechoslovakia to Austria and from Austria to Canada, her marriages, employment, travel, and associations with redacted entities. A rare unredacted document states that a “highly confidential and reliable source” reported Trump received an autographed book from Czechoslovakian President Vaclav Havel during a visit to the country in 1990 and would likely be visiting again that year. 

By the end of 1990, however, “no outstanding leads remain,” and the investigation was closed.

Ivana Trump died aged 73 from a fall in her home last year, eliminating the confidentiality rights protecting her file while she was alive.

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