‘ Donald Trump still closely tied to his empire’

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Published: February 4, 2017 2:47:33 PM

The New York Times on Friday reported that new records have emerged that show two people close to him are the trustees and have broad legal authority over his assets

Donald Trump, United States, The Trump Organisation, ProPublica,  Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust,  Allen H. Weisselberg, US President,  Donald Jr US President Donald Trump is still closely tied to the empire he built despite of his announcement of putting his vast business holdings in a trust, a leading daily has said.(Reuters)

US President Donald Trump is still closely tied to the empire he built despite of his announcement of putting his vast business holdings in a trust, a leading daily has said.

The New York Times on Friday reported that new records have emerged that show two people close to him are the trustees and have broad legal authority over his assets: his eldest son Donald Jr and Allen H. Weisselberg, the Trump Organisation’s chief financial officer.

Trump, who will receive reports on any profit, or loss, on his company as a whole, can revoke their authority at any time despite of his claims that he has walked away from the day-to-day operations of his business, said the report. It further says that the purpose of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust is to hold assets for the “exclusive benefit” of the President.

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This trust remains under Trump’s Social Security number, at least as far as federal taxes are concerned.

Since his election, there have been widespread calls for Trump to sell his assets and put the proceeds in a blind trust. He has resisted those calls, stressing that the President has no legal obligation to do so.

While the trust structure, outlined in documents made public through a Freedom of Information Act request by ProPublica, may give the President the appearance of distance from his business, it drew sharp criticism from experts in government ethics.

“I don’t see how this in the slightest bit avoids a conflict of interest,” said Frederick J. Tansill, a trust and estates lawyer from Virginia who examined the documents.

“First it is revocable at any time, and it is his son and his chief financial officer who are running it,” the New York Times quoted him as saying.

The Trump Organisation declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper.

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