US President-elect Donald Trump says declined $2 billion business deal in Dubai

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New York | Published: January 12, 2017 1:00:13 AM

US President-elect Donald Trump said that he declined a business deal worth $2 billion in Dubai even though he is not obliged to do so as president.

Trump announced through his attorney that he is turning over his business to his two sons - Don and Eric. (AP)Trump announced through his attorney that he is turning over his business to his two sons – Don and Eric. (AP)

Less than 10 days before entering the White House, US President-elect Donald Trump, who has built a massive real estate empire, today said that he declined a business deal worth USD 2 billion in Dubai even though he is not obliged to do so as president.

“Over the weekend, I was offered USD 2 billion to do a deal in Dubai with a very, very, very amazing man, a great, great developer from the Middle East, Hussein Damack, a friend of mine, great guy,” Trump said here.

Trump announced through his attorney that he is turning over his business to his two sons – Don and Eric.

Trump asserted that he is doing all this even though under current law, he can run his business and be president as well.

“I didn’t have to turn it down, because as you know, I have a no conflict situation because I’m president. I didn’t know about that until about three months ago, but it’s a nice thing to have,” he said, adding that he does not want to take advantage of something.

“I have something that others don’t have, Vice President Pence also has it. I don’t think he’ll need it, I have a feeling he’s not going to need it. But I have no conflict of interest provision as president,” Trump said.

Trump said he does not like the way that looks, but he would be able to do that if he wanted to.

“I would be the only one to be able to do that. You can’t do that in any other capacity. But as president, I could run the Trump organization, great, great company, and the country. I’d do a very good job, but I don’t want to do that,” he said.

Responding to questions, Trump refused to release his tax returns as they are under audit.

“I’m not releasing the tax returns because as you know, they’re under audit. The only one that cares about my tax returns are the reporters, OK? They’re the only ones who ask,” he told the reporter who asked the question.

In the news conference, Trump’s lawyer Sheri Dillon also briefed reporters on details of how Trump’s businesses would be handled during his term as president.

“President-elect Trump wants the American public to rest assured that all of his efforts are directed to pursuing the people’s business and not his own,” she said.

Dillon said Trump’s investments and business assets commonly known as the Trump Organisation, comprising hundreds of entities, have all been or will be conveyed to a trust prior to January 20.

Through the trust agreement, Trump has relinquished leadership and management of the Trump Organisation to his sons Don and Eric and a longtime Trump executive, Allen Weisselberg, who will have the authority to manage the Organisation and will make decisions for the duration of the presidency without any involvement whatsoever by the president-elect, Dillon said.

Further, at Trump’s direction an ethics adviser will be appointed to the management team.

“The written approval of the ethics adviser will be required for new deals, actions, and transactions that could potentially raise ethics or conflicts of interest concerns,” she said, adding that Trump will resign from all offices and other positions he holds with the Trump Organisation entities.

Also his daughter Ivanka will have no further involvement with or management authority whatsoever with the Trump Organisation.

Ivanka and her husband, who has been appointed senior advisor to the President, have moved to Washington.

Trump has also already disposed of all of his investments in publicly traded or easily liquidated investments.

Dillon announced that through instructions in the trust agreement, Trump first ordered that all pending deals be terminated. This impacted more than 30 deals, many of which were set to close by the end of 2016, she said.

This caused an immediate financial loss of millions of dollars, not just for the President-elect but also for Don, Ivanka and Eric, she added.

The trust agreement as directed by Trump imposes severe restrictions on new deals.

“No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency. New domestic deals will be allowed, but they will go through a vigorous vetting process,” the attorney said.

Trump, she said, will have no role in deciding whether the Trump Organisation engages in any new deal and he will only know of a deal if he reads it in the paper or sees it on TV.

Dillon said Trump has decided that he will voluntarily donate all profits from foreign government payments made to his hotel to the US Treasury.

“This way, it is the American people who will profit,” she said.

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