London – “Al-Quds Al-Arabi”:
The New York Times published a report prepared by Eric Libton and Maggie Habermann, in which they spoke about the business activities of former President Donald Trump’s family in the Gulf region, raising questions about conflicts of interest at a time when Trump his candidacy for the next presidential race in 2024.
And the report said the former president briefly returned to his office in Trump Tower in New York last week, where he was joined by his son Eric Trump and a senior executive director of a Saudi real estate company , and they signed an agreement that could create conflict-of-interest issues for him after he announced his entry into the next presidential race. The deal includes building a Trump hotel, villas and golf course as part of a $4 billion property deal in Oman. The transaction represents a continuation of the traditions in which the family continued to work until his election as president, a tradition based on the sale of the rights to the brand to projects abroad in exchange for generous sums of the license.
The paper says that what makes this project unusual, and will certainly raise questions about its contracts, is that by partnering with a Saudi company, Trump will be part of a project supported by the Omani government itself. The deal leaves Trump, the former president who hopes to return to the White House, a de facto partner with a government that has a complex relationship with the United States, including its efforts to end the Yemen war and other elements of US foreign policy.
The contract signed by Trump will be implemented by Dar Al-Arkan, a Saudi-based company in cooperation with the Omani government that owns the land. This is the second agreement signed between Trump and his family directly related to a government in the Middle East. The Trump Organization hosted the “Leaf” golf tournament, which was supported by Saudi Arabia, at two clubs owned by the Trump family in New Jersey and Florida. Lev’s efforts were financed by the Saudi Public Investment Authority, which owns $620 billion, and subsequently paid for golf clubs such as the Trump Doral National in Miami and the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, to host two tournaments this year. The Trump administration, including Jared Kushner, the former president’s son-in-law, has forged ties with Saudi Arabia. Kushner received financial support from the Saudi government, estimated at two billion dollars, to invest in the new private equity firm, Avanti Partners.
Before his election as president, Trump and his family signed agreements to sell the rights to his brand in countries such as Indonesia, Turkey, the Philippines, the Emirates (Dubai), India, Panama, Canada and his golf resorts in Scotland and Ireland. A skyscraper was announced in Dubai in 2005 with state-owned Nakheel, but the project was later abandoned. Eight months before Trump entered the 2015 presidential race, the family announced plans to offer a license in their name for a 33-story hotel in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. Her partner there was the son of a government minister, and the project was later abandoned.
Elsewhere abroad, the Trump Organization deals did not directly involve foreign governments, and there was at least no indication of a government role in financing them or making a significant contribution in terms of providing land, according to A New York Times investigation of the contracts. During Trump’s presidency, the Trump International Hotel in Washington became a destination for foreign government officials, as well as delegations from the city to meet with Trump. The governments of Malaysia, Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and China spent money at the hotel, according to documents presented to Congress by his former accounting firm. The hotel received more than $3.75 million from foreign governments between 2017-2020, as estimated by the House of Representatives investigation. The Trump Organization has confirmed that it paid all profits from these hotel stays to the Treasury Department via voluntary payment.
But the latest deal could see the Trump Organization benefit from land or money provided by a foreign government, raising the potential for a conflict of interest at a time when Trump juggles his dual roles as White House candidate and CEO continues, say the lawyers. “This is another example of Trump obtaining personal benefits in exchange for past and future power,” said Catherine Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. Trump is president again. This is a deal that will cement their status with Trump.”
He plans to build the Aida project 20 minutes away from the capital, Muscat, on a ridge overlooking the Arabian Sea and on land controlled by the Oman Development and Tourism Company, a tourism company run by the Omani- government owned. It will include 3,500 luxury villas, two hotels with 450 rooms, a golf course, as well as shops and restaurants. The project is part of a plan the Omani government calls Vision 2040 and an effort to diversify the country’s economy by building new hotels, golf courses and other tourist attractions. On Sunday, Omani officials did not respond to questions from the newspaper, nor did Dar Arkan, one of the largest real estate companies in Saudi Arabia.
Oman’s relationship with the United States has not been as warm during Trump’s term as with Saudi Arabia. Oman has refused to sign an agreement to normalize relations with Israel. The directors of Dar Arkan sent a statement confirming the signing of the contract with the Trump Organization, which will be implemented in Amman, along with photos of Trump, Eric Trump and managers of Dar Al Rukn. This is the first time since his election that Trump has been shown to play a role in the family organization’s business.
The organization stopped signing international contracts after his election as president. This is the first contract he signs with a Saudi company in Amman after leaving the White House. Ziad Al Shaar, CEO of Dar Al Arkan Global, who attended the signing ceremony, previously worked for Damac Properties, Trump’s partner in Dubai, where the family licensed his name to a series of international golf courses and Trump properties in Damac Hills, a gated community bordering the waterways. “We are confident that Gamal Aida will strengthen relations with Trump and bring investors from around the world looking for an exceptional project,” Al-Shaar said in a statement on Sunday.
Eric Trump said he does not believe the new contract represents a conflict of interest because since his father’s arrival in the White House, the organization has avoided signing conflicting contracts. Former Trump campaign manager Stephen Cheung responded to the Oman project with a statement attacking the Biden administration.
The deal was announced at a time when Trump was preparing to announce his campaign for the presidency, and he, along with his organization and its chief financial officer, Alan Weiselberg, are facing civil suits, including fraud. And if a ruling is issued against it, it will be a blow to the organization, as lenders and investors will avoid dealing with a “fraud”. It could also represent a new political challenge for Trump. But the maximum penalty for tax fraud is $1.62 million, which is a small amount for a company like this. In his last financial report, which he prepared at the beginning of 2021, and upon his departure from the White House, his wealth was stated to be $1.3 billion.