January 29, 2023

DISAPPEARING ACT: How many more mysteriously vanishing $20M foreign Trump debts are there?

DISAPPEARING ACT: How many more mysteriously vanishing $20M foreign Trump debts are there?

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Donald Trump failed to disclose owing $19.8 million to a North Korean-linked company when running for office in 2016 —a  debt that suddenly disappeared nearly six months after the former President took office in 2017.

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Documents revealed in the New York Attorney General’s trial of the Trump Organization that the company held nearly $20 million in liability from the company listed as “L/P Daewoo.”

A joint licensing deal between the South Korean conglomerate and not yet-President Trump outlined an arrangement that would see the two split fees related to a project intended near the United Nation’s New York City headquarters – Trump World Tower.

While it may not have “technically” been illegal, it does raise questions about a potential conflict of interest.

Officials are required to list personal loans on financial disclosures, but not the financial liabilities of their companies  — unless the debts are personally guaranteed. And any personal guarantee is something not disclosed in the documents turned over to the Attorney General’s office.

The 1997 deal spurred the use of the Trump name on six South Korean properties between 1999 and 2007.

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According to Forbes, from 2011 to 2016, the debt didn’t budge but began dropping approximately five months after Trump took office before being eliminated altogether by July 5, 2017. Documents confirm the debt was bought out, but don’t mention exactly by whom.

“Paperwork capturing Trump’s financial picture as of June 30, 2017, five months into his presidency, appears to show that the balance had dropped to $4.3 million, $15.5 million less than it had been a year earlier,” Forbes reported.

“At some point—it’s not clear exactly when or how—Daewoo also became Trump’s creditor. The debt reflected on the Trump Organization’s documents appears to have started with a principal of $25 million. Records indicate that the liability was connected to Trump ventures in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Brazil, Florida, Arizona, Canada, and Chicago,” Forbes says.

Daewoo, most widely known as a failed auto manufacturer, was the only company allowed to do business in South Korea’s northern communist-ruled neighbor. And though filing bankruptcy in 1999, the company also operated the companies Daewoo Logistics, and Daewoo Shipbuilding which built South Korean warships.

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Three months after Trump’s debt was eliminated, Daewoo Shipbuilding was the victim of a North Korean cyber attack resulting in the hacking of company blueprints.

Reuters spoke with a member of the opposition Liberty Korea Party, Kyung Dae-soo, who told the media outlet, “We are almost 100 percent certain that North Korean hackers were behind the hacking and stole the company’s sensitive documents.”

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The civil and criminal investigation into Trump’s company’s nefarious financial wheeling and dealing continue to tell a tale of corruption and foreign investment that could be perceived as a national security threat if the failed businessman manages to worm his way back into the Oval Office.

The ex-President’s taking of highly classified government documents, only adds fuel to the fire.

For now, following the money appears to be the best chance of finally seeing Trump held accountable for his crimes – hopefully, the most recent revelation will help accelerate that.

Original reporting by Dan Alexander at Forbes.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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