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The Trump Organisation and the India connection

Last updated on: September 15, 2016 12:16 IST
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If Donald Trump moves into the White House and his family continues to receive any benefit from the company, during or even after his presidency, almost every foreign policy decision he makes will raise serious conflicts of interest and ethical quagmires, reports Newsweek.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's overseas investments in real estate, including in Pune and Gurgaon, could have implications on the United States foreign policy if the Republican presidential nominee wins the November general elections, a major US weekly has said.

In its cover story on Trump's investments in properties overseas, the popular Newsweek said as the Republican National Convention was about to get underway in July, the Trump Organisation declared it was planning a massive expansion in India.

‘A close examination by Newsweek of the Trump Organization, including confidential interviews with business executives and some of its international partners, reveals an enterprise with deep ties to global financiers, foreign politicians and even criminals, although there is no evidence the Trump Organization has engaged in any illegal activities,’ says the expose (external link) into the Trump Organisation.

"That is a chilling example of the many looming conflicts of interest in a Trump presidency," the weekly noted.

"If he plays tough with India, will the government assume it has to clear the way for projects in that 'aggressive pipeline' and kill the investigations involving Trump's Pune partners?

"And if Trump takes a hard line with Pakistan, will it be for America's strategic interests or to appease Indian government officials who might jeopardise his profits from Trump Towers Pune?" the weekly asked.

According to the weekly, several Indian political leaders and major political parties have established close relationship with the Trump family as a result of its real estate investments in Pune and Gurgaon.

In India, the conflicts between the interests of the Trump Organisation and American foreign policy are starker, Newsweek said.

Trump signed an agreement in 2011 with an Indian property developer that wanted to construct a 65-story building with his name on it.

Leading the talks was a director of the company who would later become the exclusive representative of Trump's businesses in India, the weekly said.

However, government regulatory hurdles soon impeded the project, the cover story said, adding that Donald Trump Jr flew to India to plead with authorities asking them to remove the hurdles.

But state authorities in Maharashtra refused to make an exception for the Trump Organisation, the report said.

"It would be extremely difficult for a foreign politician to make that call if he were speaking to the son of the President of the United States," Newsweek said.

"Last month, scandal erupted over the development, called Trump Towers Pune, after the state government and local police started looking into discrepancies in the land records suggesting that the land on which the building was constructed may not have been legally obtained," the weekly said.

The Indian company says no rules or laws were broken, but if government officials conclude otherwise, the project's future will be in jeopardy -- and create a problem that Indian politicians eager to please an American President might have to resolve, Newsweek observed.

Image: A comic-book character in a Spider-Man spin-off story by Marvel Comics depicts an "amorphous, villainous" avatar of the Republican presidential candidate.

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