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The Trump Organization’s announcement that it’s ending licensing deals for projects in Brazil and Azerbaijan suggests it is moving to fend off wide concerns about conflicts of interest in advance of Inauguration Day.
Alan Garten, the organization’s executive vice president and general counsel, said Thursday that said the moves are “housecleaning,” and the organization is “assessing the future of various transactions.”
President-Elect Donald Trump had promised to hold a news conference on Thursday to announce a full plan for separating himself from his businesses but delayed it until January.
Any of Trump’s properties across more than 20 countries, if they remain in his family’s control, could be seen to influence his policies toward those countries. They also could cause embarrassment. In Brazil, for example, Trump’s name was removed from a beachfront hotel in Rio de Janeiro following the opening of a criminal probe into investments in the hotel.
But in few places are the links between his partners and the government as direct and deep as in Azerbaijan, a strategically situated oil-producing nation on the Caspian Sea dominated by Shiite Muslims. The nature of the potential conflict is especially stark. Trump Tower looms large over Baku, the capital of the oil-rich former Soviet republic sandwiched between Russia and Iran. Sail-shaped and 33 stories, the skyscraper was built last year but has never opened, a victim of the country’s troubled economy.
An official close to Trump’s business partner in Baku said this week that the project is two-thirds finished and would open soon, while a security guard at the tower said it probably will be ready by February. Trump continued to receive money from the branding deal -- nearly $3 million since mid-2014, according to his financial disclosures -- though the project disappeared from his website last year.
2016.12.16 / 17:48