Legal Defense Trust Fund To Face Judicial Scrutiny – Raniere’s Attorney Suggests There May Be Multiple Contributors

Is Carlos Salinas funding the Trust?

In an earlier post, we noted that yesterday’s Status Conference before Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis was very brief – and that it focused mostly on the Legal Defense Trust Fund that was reportedly set up by Seagram’s heiress Clare Bronfman just before she herself was indicted.

And we reported that Judge Garaufis has decided to look into the details of the trust in camera – which simply means that he’ll be doing his analysis in his chambers and not sharing whatever it is he decides to review with the prosecution.

As previously reported, one of the attorneys who represents the trustee for the Legal Defense Trust Fund refused to turn over a copy of the documentation concerning the establishment of the Trust to the prosecution.

Needless to say, if Judge Garaufis decides he needs to look at those documents, he’ll likely get to do just that.

The judge made it clear today that he’s going to look at all the details regarding the Legal Defense Trust Fund. That includes how the trust was set up, where the money came from that went into the Trust, and how those funds have been spent over the course of the last five months or so.

And as reported in The New York Post, Judge Garaufis’ scrutiny of the Trust may reveal that it has received funds from other people besides Clare Bronfman.

As the Post reported, when Raniere’s attorney, Marc Agnifilo, was asked about the Trust, he “…admitted that he didn’t know who all the contributors to the defense fund were”.

Let’s back up a bit – and parse through what Mr. Agnifilo was saying here.

Clearly, his response indicated two things: (1) that he knew the name of at least one of the contributors to the Trust; and (2) that there was more than one contributor.

Based on prior filings in this case – and various tidbits of information that have been shared with us by a variety of people – we originally concluded that the Legal Defense Trust Fund had been funded entirely by Clare Bronfman (We had also been told that Clare had originally put $10 million into the Trust).

But, based on Agnifilo’s response to one of Judge Garaufis’ questions in yesterday’s Status Conference, it now appears that there is at least one other contributor to the Trust – and maybe several such entities.

So the question now becomes: “Who might be willing to throw some money into the pot to provide top-flight defense attorneys to the Vanguard and some of his followers?

Let’s look at some of the possibilities:

Sara Bronfman Igtet: Well, she certainly has enough money to be a contributor. So, the question becomes whether she’d do this – and risk the chance that doing so might inspire the prosecution to indict her as well. Unfortunately for Sara, she got the looks but not the brains – which means it’s quite possible that she has put money into the Trust. Probability: 60%.


Laura Rosa Junco: She’s another one who has more than enough in financial resources to put some money into the Trust – but she reportedly fled to Mexico when the shit hit the fan back in March 2018. It’s doubtful – but still possible – that she’s put some money into the Legal Defense Trust Fund. Probability: 20%.


Keith Raniere: As was explained in a previous post, it’s quite possible that The Vanguard has squirreled away several million dollars over the years (Either that – or he ate a whole lot more of that vegetarian pizza than we originally thought). The problem, of course, is that he may not be able to get to the money now that he’s incarcerated at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY. Probability: 10%.


Emiliano Salinas and Alex Betancourt: There may be many good reasons for Emiliano, or his partner, Alejandro – two trust fund wastrels – to chip in. But since both of these children are dependent on allowances from their wealthy fathers, the amount they could donate is not large. Probability 10%.


Carlos Salinas: On the other hand, Emiliano’s father, the former president of Mexico, Carlos Salinas, could easily put money into the Trust. His true net worth is not known but is almost certainly exponentially larger than the Bronfman sisters put together.

Carlos is rumored to be the wealthiest man in the world. But you won’t find him on any Forbes’ list. A mere public servant until he was elected president in a notoriously rigged election, his wealth came from the billions he stole as president. During his presidency, it was widely believed he appointed the leaders of the drug cartels.

Today in Mexico, it is widely believed that he is in control of much, or all of Mexico’s illegal drug and arms trafficking trade – the boss of bosses. I doubt any one of the relatives of hundreds of assassinated journalists or assassinated political candidates would argue that he is the most dangerous man in Mexico. [One of the leading journalists in Mexico for one of the biggest news outlets personally told me he is in fear of assassination from Carlos at any time.]

Carlos Salinas could be putting money into the Trust to protect his son Emiliano – who has not yet been indicted. Emiliano ran NXIVM Mexico.

If Carlos put money in, however, it would not likely be directly from him – but through any number of agents  – including those of billionaire Carlos Slim [Forbes ranks Slim as the second richest man in the world at some $55 billion]. Slim is one of Carlos’ allies and many believe he is Salinas’ number two man.

Judge Garaufis may decide to trace the source of funds to determine who has been donating money to the Trust. If the donors turn out to be more than merely Clare and Sara – and the amount is considerable – look to Carlos Salinas.

Considering the fact that the chief behind-the-scenes attorney for Clare is Dennis Burke of Arizona – and taking into account the fact that Burke is strongly allied with the Salinas clan – he may have been the conduit. If money in the Trust came from Burke’s escrow account, then Salinas is likely the ultimate source.

Keep in mind that Lauren Salzman – who worked closely with Emiliano Salinas as the conduit between NXIVM USA and NXIVM Mexico  – has also retained Arizona lawyers – where Burke has his stronghold.

It is highly unusual to retain Arizona attorneys for a trial in New York City.

The judge may decide to try to find out if any defendants are in actual fear of their lives if they don’t cooperate with the NXIVM defense.

Speculation? Sure.

But if this fund has substantially more than what Bronfman put in it – it is likely Carlos Salinas. Probability 50%. 


There are, of course, lots of other possible donors. These might be smaller donors – members of NXIVM – who have been solicited and pressured to contribute. Such may be the case when, like Raniere, you’ve been able to require people to do what you want them to do.

The real question here is why Marc Agnifilo gave the answer that he did to Judge Garaufis’ question.

– Why did he apparently disclose that Clare Bronfman is not the only donor to the Legal Defense Trust Fund?

– Is he trying to provoke The Vanguard to fire him – and get him off of this crazy case?

– Is he trying to pass along useful information to the prosecution in the hopes that it might prompt Judge Garaufis to remove him from the case – and replace him with an assigned Public Defender?

– Was he trying to be forthright knowing that he could be held responsible for any improprieties with the Trust?

At the end of the day, using the Trust might be coercive – like collateral – it dangles above each defendant’s head. Nobody has to say anything to anyone. The attorneys do not need to be complicit.

I take the attorneys at their word – that they are not being managed directly by the trustee of the Trust.

The defendants, on the other hand, may feel they have to use the Trust to pay for their lawyers. They may know they are not allowed to take plea deals or to testify against Raniere or Bronfman. They may know what truths and what lies they are supposed to tell. 

There were four months between the time of Raniere’s arrest and the superseding indictment. This gave them time to plan their strategies.

They retained their attorneys – as commanded – shortly after Raniere’s arrest.

Is this actually a Bronfman Trust or a Salinas Trust?

Since Clare Bronfman retained Dennis Burke – a Salinas man – is she also following Salinas’ dictates? 

Are all the defendants following directions –  which is to go all the way to trial and testifying, or not, based on what is best for Salinas, Bronfman, and Raniere?  No plea deals allowed?

This, of course, is purely speculative and raises more questions than it answers. We may never know the answers to these questions.

If I were the judge and I had the power – I would find the source of the money first – and determine how much, if any, came from Salinas.


It’s encouraging that Judge Garaufis has decided to take a serious look at the Legal Defense Trust Fund – and see where it got its funding from and whether it’s fairly and equitably distributing funds to those that need help.

Let’s hope he shares whatever he finds out.

About the author

K.R. Claviger


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  • Would there be any benefit to Clare to have it appear she’s not the only donor? This is pure speculation, but if someone added 10.00 they would be a donor. Maybe there are no other substantial donors!
    I would think Salinas would want to be done with the dumbbell gang. They have brainwashed at least two of his children, drawn unwanted attention to his entire family. He may be behind the scenes but for different reasons than mentioned.
    Mr. Salinas does not need Nxivm. He may have thought they were an interesting diversion for his youngins. He may have even used them. But he surely can do better if he’s hiring.
    The fact that it’s so secretive is just drawing more and more attention and it will eventually get out. As Mr. Salinas could tell you two people can keep a secret- if one of them is dead.

    • I think this is more likely the case.
      I don’t read Agniflio saying that he doesn’t know who all the contributors are as there definitely being more than one contributor, and I think if there were more than one contributor, it would probably just be different trusts / entities that are all still Clare.
      I also think Carlos Salinas is smarter than to fund this in a way that would come back to him, but that is just a guess.

  • The untold irony is Emiliano Salinas as the savior to Mexico’s culture of corruption. Emiliano has, thus far, proved to be no different than his father and uncle. He failed to recognize his own corruption and Nexium’s.

    And, KAR simply replaced his father as a deceptive, untrustworthy authoritarian.

  • If Salinas is behind this, the world is in much worse shape than I thought!

    Or, it shows how little I know about larger forces at play!

  • To add another candidate to the mix don’t forget Carlos Salinas’ dear friend Carlos Slim,
    Slim owns Mexico’s phone system TelMex and a chunk of the New York Times.

    Carlos Slim’s estimated net worth:
    A Cool, 54 to 67 billion US Dollars.

    Carlos Slim could buy 50 of the Bronfman sisters and have money left over.

    Carlos Slim/Net worth
    54.5 billion USD

  • KAR had Impunity for decades. He got away with is everything deeds and needed a bigger and bigger fix to get his gratification.
    Finally he can be stopped. Hopefully the DOJ can send him away for the rest of his life.

  • Needless to say, it will be very telling if the Mexi-NXIANS such as Emiliano and Alex are somehow not indicted, especially if they’re somehow contributing to the Trust.

      • Usually skip your [deleted] posts, Johnson, which do not merit any responses. However for the benefit of others and this site, I was referring to the original Frank Report post on this topic or “news” that appeared a day before the NY Post’s story.

        BTW: Why does a Radar on-line report mistakenly appear to reference a comment you made the other day on Frank Report regarding your court conviction over cheating AMWAY, at the end of their latest Nexium update?

        Scott originally denied the cheating rumors on December 4.

        “Trolls working hard today,” he said.

  • Is it possible that some of the trust funding is coming from off shore accountsthat KAR/NXIVM hid away from all that CASH? Its possible some of the funding comes from companies KAR had set up to wash all that cash.
    If its where some of the funds came from, of course the defense would not want the DOJ to know about it.
    We’re hoping the Judge and his clerks do their homework on the funding. We know the DOJ is more informed on KAR/Clarebear playbook/players than the the Judge is at this point.

    • I feel the need to speak to sk’s warning here and since FR is monitoring, I’ll let Frank decide whether or not it’s too personal to post.

      The threat on Frank’s life is real.

      I know this because Frank was our honored houseguest for a time while we were living in Malibu not far from Catherine Oxenberg.

      There were already sure signs of Nx-trouble in our little world but once Frank arrived the flying monkeys that had been circling overhead and swooping in on special occasions, went absolute Apeshit! This was in early July this past summer, prior to the superseding indictments.

      The very day Frank arrived, I started getting texts that appeared to be from my young second cousin — from her number, under her name. “B” (my cuz) is from Clifton Park but now lives in LA. She’s in my phone contacts but we’ve rarely texted. “B” had visited us at home a few weeks prior to this incident.

      My first clue that the messages were not really from “B” was that they were written entirely in perfect Spanish. My second clue was that the messages were full of death threats and perjorative terms young “B” would never use with me even if she did speak fluent Spanish, which she does not. Plus, “B” does not want to kill me — her parents might — and she’d never heard of Frank Parlato. “B’s” since been ruled out as a “suspect.”

      Frank posted about this at the time without naming us as his hosts: Briefly, Frank had a live chat with the hackers — middle-aged Mexican males — swearing them off as I tried to translate. They were pretty shocked to hear from Frank himself, rather awkwardly asked for money and threatened “B’s” life in addition to mine and Frank’s. Authorities were notified, the texts stopped.

      Meanwhile, Frank was notified of a couple of other palpable threats on his life by Catherine’s very reliable sources. A Nx Vancouver assassin assemblage was purportedly descending on Malibu. Frank was also getting emails offering to provide details on these murder plots in exchange for bitcoin currency.

      There were many other oddities occurring at this time, as one might imagine in their worst nightmare from the lowest rung of hell. A jobseeker calling herself “Jezabel Lopez” — when I was waxing poetic under a suspiciously similar pseudonym for FR — kept not showing up for an interview but had many queries about our male guest who was answering our home phone. Officer “Franquez” from the San Bernardino PD also called our unlisted home number and asked Frank, who answered, to have me call him. A crime had occurred in a vehicle bearing a duplicate registration to mine and the suspect, a Mexican female, claimed she knew me and I’d sold her the registration among other things. Never heard of this person before, I swear. (And, man, was I glad I’d made a couple of police reports regarding suspicious identity theft activities weeks prior).

      There were rattlesnakes fresh and freshly FROZEN (in a heatwave) showing up everywhere, drone strikes, my cell phone became further “possessed” by degrees, I had young Mexican family-owned businessmen I’ve been acquainted with for decades — since they were teenagers — who never previously expressed any interest suddenly begging me for “a date” or failing that, “just some nude pics,” in my ripe, old age. Lol.

      Through all this and more, I have never seen anyone so focused, so calm, cool and collected under any circumstances, as Frank Parlato. The branding story was on fire and Frank was not to be deterred from stoking that flame every waking second in all the time he stayed with us. The only thing Frank seemed to fear was leaving his laptop unguarded lest someone slip some kiddie porn on it a la’ John Tighe.

      I thought perhaps Frank’s almost annoyingly casual, often even cheerful, attitude was overly cavalier, in sharp contrast to my own panic level at these very tangible threats. But Frank’s nonchalance began to rub off on me. Frank convinced me that the only proper response that could ever protect us, that anyone would ever respect enough to leave us be, was “strength and courage.”

      I’ve since adopted that attitude, made it my new motto in life, and it seems to be working against further harassment so far. Except on the Frank Report itself. JK.

      Still I worry about Frank’s “bravado,” that he naturally has so much of it he might be caught off guard.

      Sometimes paranoia IS a safe place. We ended up moving out rather hurriedly from that beautifully idyllic, prized “Malibu” locale I never wanted to leave. Frank helped with the move out negotiations. We settled into our new spot that isn’t nestled in nature, doesn’t have an ocean view or a prestigious address surrounded by mansions and movie stars. (It does have a killer security system.)

      Weeks later, our former address doesn’t exist anymore. Nearly our entire old neighborhood and surrounding, verdant hillsides was engulfed in the recent Malibu fires. The once abundant foilage is not much beyond charred sticks, the mansions reduced to cinderblocks and cinders.

      But thanks mostly to NX’s flying monkeys and the fear they engendered, we landed safe and happy in our new home so far.

      Sometimes, a little paranoia is a safe place. Yes, please be very careful Frank.

  • 50% is a fair, even generous appraisal of the probable involvement of Salinas. The appearance of Burke and the Arizona connection in the nxivm narrative certainly seems to give the game away. Lets hope the US legal system proves to be more powerful than the criminal, third party billionaire forces currently arraigned against it.

    Or, as God is my witness, maybe that’s unfair, and really the coffers swelled with many small contributions from all those nxivm saved, a whip-round in the violent slums of mexico for example, or legions of tourette’s sufferers, or grateful parents of brilliant multi-lingual children, or fully realized, totally designed (old)girls, or… whatever, I expect judge Garaufis will uncover even more examples of nxivm’s executive success, so, Viva! to that.

  • “In court Thursday, Raniere’s lawyer Marc Agniflio said “there’s no mystery here,” but admitted he didn’t know who all the contributors to the defense fund were.” New York Post, December 6, 2018. “Judge suspicious of Seagram heiress paying for Nxivm pals’ defense” by By Emily Saul.

About the Author

Frank Parlato is an investigative journalist.

His work has been cited in hundreds of news outlets, like The New York Times, The Daily Mail, VICE News, CBS News, Fox News, New York Post, New York Daily News, Oxygen, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Sun, The Times of London, CBS Inside Edition, among many others in all five continents.

His work to expose and take down NXIVM is featured in books like “Captive” by Catherine Oxenberg, “Scarred” by Sarah Edmonson, “The Program” by Toni Natalie, and “NXIVM. La Secta Que Sedujo al Poder en México” by Juan Alberto Vasquez.

Parlato has been prominently featured on HBO’s docuseries “The Vow” and was the lead investigator and coordinating producer for Investigation Discovery’s “The Lost Women of NXIVM.” Parlato was also credited in the Starz docuseries "Seduced" for saving 'slave' women from being branded and escaping the sex-slave cult known as DOS.

Additionally, Parlato’s coverage of the group OneTaste, starting in 2018, helped spark an FBI investigation, which led to indictments of two of its leaders in 2023.

Parlato appeared on the Nancy Grace Show, Beyond the Headlines with Gretchen Carlson, Dr. Oz, American Greed, Dateline NBC, and NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, where Parlato conducted the first-ever interview with Keith Raniere after his arrest. This was ironic, as many credit Parlato as one of the primary architects of his arrest and the cratering of the cult he founded.

Parlato is a consulting producer and appears in TNT's The Heiress and the Sex Cult, which premiered on May 22, 2022. Most recently, he consulted and appeared on Tubi's "Branded and Brainwashed: Inside NXIVM," which aired January, 2023.

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