November 27, 2022

PAYBACK? Trump’s Saudi pals reward him with billion dollar licensing deal

PAYBACK? Trump's Saudi pals reward him with billion dollar licensing deal

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The Trump Organization, currently on trial for criminal tax fraud, has sealed a real-estate deal with a Saudi Arabian company in what could be considered a conflict of interest as ex-president Donald Trump is reportedly announcing a third presidential run on Tuesday.

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According to The New York Times, the Trump Organization has partnered with one of Saudi Arabia’s largest real estate developers to license the Trump name.

The $1.6 billion project, to be built in Oman, will include a golf complex, luxury housing, and hotel rooms – with the Trump Organization getting a cut and comes at a time when both the Trump Organization and its owners are under multiple investigations for civil and criminal machinations. The accusations of the Saudi Arabian ruling monarchy’s human and civil rights abuses failed to damper the organization’s enthusiasm over the deal.

“It is an honor to work with Dar Al Arkan, who share our vision for superior quality and excellence,” the Trump Organization said in the statement. “This will be a truly magnificent project that integrates luxury living and world-class hospitality at the highest levels.”

The fact that the deal was struck prior to Trump officially announcing his 2024 presidential ambitions is reminiscent of his 2016 campaign. Billionaire Tom Barrack – chair of Trump’s inaugural fund – was recently found innocent of acting as a foreign agent on behalf of the United Arab Emirates and lobbying on their behalf in exchange for lucrative investments, but the trial revealed his extensive interactions with Emirati officials.

Emails between Barrack, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were very telling.

“Wow, I’m just stunned by how bad this is,” Barrack wrote in an email to Manafort in May, 2016, upon receiving a new draft of the proposed energy speech that did not include his earlier additions praising the UAE. “We better figure out a way to get one paragraph to balance foreign policy concerns for energy dependent allies in the gulf.”

“Send me an insert that will work for our friends. I will push to get it included,” replied Manafort. This is easier than fighting to get the speech back to where it was.”

The Trump administration’s “cushy” relationship with the Saudis was an open secret, particularly between former White House advisor Jared Kushner and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The ex-president’s son-in-law was instrumental in solidifying a $110 billion arms sale to the Saudis and reportedly influenced Trump’s refusal to hold MBS accountable for the gruesome murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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Six months after Trump left office, Kushner received a $2 billion investment from the Saudi sovereign wealth fund into his failing private equity firm.

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The 10-year project with Dar Al Arkan is expected to include 3,500 luxury condominiums and over 400 hotel rooms. New York Attorney General Letitia James was successful in halting the Trump Organization’s attempt to move assets to a newly founded corporation – Trump Organization II – making the deal even more suspect, a fact not lost on those reading the fine print.

“The Trump corruption complex is back in business,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a liberal government watchdog group. “It is a remarkable revelation on the expected eve of his presidential candidacy announcement. Even without that, it would be stunning as another in a series of sweetheart deals from the Saudi government to the Trump family.”

Former President Donald Trump has been waist-deep in corruption and collusion, playing foreign asset footsie under the international table with our enemies and frenemies. The Department of Justice’s investigation into whether the insurrectionist in chief violated the Espionage Act just gets more plausible by the day.

Original reporting by Eric Lipton, Maggie Haberman, and Ben Protess at The New York Times

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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