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  World   Americas  20 Jan 2017  Resort plan sparks conflict of interest row

Resort plan sparks conflict of interest row

Published : Jan 20, 2017, 1:40 am IST
Updated : Jan 20, 2017, 7:25 am IST

The Trump Organisation has several other uncompleted international projects.

Richard Painter
 Richard Painter

New York: Donald Trump has vowed his company will do “no new foreign deals” while he is the President. But he’s left “new” and “deals” open to interpretation. Now, those words are drawing scrutiny as his company confirms plans to expand its golf resort near Aberdeen, Scotland, raising concerns about conflicts of interest.

A spokeswoman for the resort says the expansion is not a new deal, but just another construction phase that was included in the broad plan approved by the local government in 2008. Some lawyers who specialise in government ethics aren’t convinced. Richard Painter, who served as chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, said that  there are so many pending issues before local governments at each stage of a real estate project, it’s like a new deal every time.

“Each phase requires building permits, each phase requires financing, each phase poses additional conflicts of interest,” said Mr Painter, a relentless Mr Trump critic who has urged him to sell his company. “Americans don’t want their President or any other high-ranking official dependent on a foreign government for a building permit,” he said.

The Scottish expansion is especially worrisome, Mr Painter said, because the US will need to negotiate a trade deal with the UK now that it has voted to leave the European Union. “In that context, who is going to deny a permit to the president of the United States?” Painter said.

In addition to its Scottish resort, the Trump Organisation has several other uncompleted international projects, including a hotel in Vancouver, British Columbia, a golf course in Dubai and two resorts in Indonesia.

Tags: donald trump, george w. bush, richard painter
Location: United States, New York