Donald Trump Jr travelled to Dubai and met a billionaire business partner in the city-state, discussing “new ideas” as the Emirati's real estate firm still lists possible plans for future joint projects while Trump's father is in the White House.
The Trump Organization has said it won't make new foreign deals while Donald Trump serves as America's 45th president. That didn't affect the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai's opening in February, while a previously planned Trump-branded golf course designed by Tiger Woods is still being built nearby.
Both projects are being built by Dubai's DAMAC Properties, owned by Emirati billionaire Hussain Sajwani. His company has paid the Trump Organization's subsidiaries between $1 million to $5 million for the projects, according to a US Federal Election Committee report submitted in May 2016.
Sajwani's Instagram account posted a picture Tuesday night showing him with Trump, who now runs the Trump Organization with his brother Eric, at a table covered in a spread of Middle Eastern food and a plate of French fries.
“It was great having my dear friend and business partner Donald Trump Jr. over for lunch,” a caption with the photo read. “Discussing new ideas and innovation always make our meetings even more interesting.”
DAMAC did not respond to a request for comment about the meeting. However, recent regulatory filings made by the company suggest possible future plans with the Trump Organization.
DAMAC mentioned the Trump Organization in a prospectus for a sukuk, a type of Islamic bond, launched in April on the NASDAQ Dubai exchange. That filing noted DAMAC's “product expansion also includes branding arrangements with... the Trump Organization.” It also listed plans for a “luxury boutique hotel to be operated by the Trump Organization” at DAMAC Hills, a massive development of villas and apartment buildings in Dubai's desert that surrounds the newly opened Trump golf course.
Similar language had been included in previous regulatory filings by DAMAC, but its presence in documents after Trump's election suggests the real estate company is keeping its options open. Days before becoming president, Trump had told journalists that DAMAC had offered the Trump Organization $2 billion in deals after his election, something DAMAC also confirmed.
Meanwhile, a quarterly earnings filing Monday made by DAMAC's holding company listed a newly created subsidiary called Trump International Golf Club LLC, in which it described as holding a 100 percent legal and economic interest. The UAE-based entity lists its principal activity as being the “golf club,” without elaborating.
The Trump Organization has no new deals in the works in Dubai, company spokeswoman Amanda Miller said Wednesday. The company declined to answer other questions.
DAMAC's first-quarter net profits of $240 million were down 16 percent compared to last year's $285 million. The lower profits come as weak global oil prices squeeze Middle Eastern countries, whose citizens form about half of DAMAC's clientele.
DAMAC's managing director also resigned Thursday, the company said in a regulatory filing. It offered no reason for his departure.
Experts have raised concerns that existing Trump business abroad could run afoul of the so-called “emoluments clause” of the US Constitution. That clause bars public officials from accepting gifts or payments from foreign governments and companies controlled by them without the consent of Congress. Already, a liberal-funded watchdog group has filed a lawsuit citing the clause.
Others criticise Trump family members for travelling with Secret Service details while on private business trips, something afforded to them as direct relatives of the president.
While in Dubai, Trump also gave a commencement speech Sunday at the American University in Dubai, a private university founded in 1995 that has some 2,700 students. The university did not announce Trump would be making a commencement speech on its website ahead of time.
Donald Trump's first 100 days: in cartoons
Donald Trump's first 100 days: in cartoons
Donald Trump's first 100 days in office were marred by a string of scandals, many of which caught the eye of the Independent's cartoonists
Trump's first 100 days have seen him aggressively ramp up tensions with his nuclear rivals in North Korea
Mr Trump has warned of a "major, major conflict" with the pariah nation lead by Kim Jong Un
Mr Trump dropped the "mother of all bombs" on alleged ISIS-linked militants in Afghanistan, amid an escalation of US military intervention around the globe
Mr Trump has been accused of falling short of the standards set by his predecessors in the Oval Office, including Franklin D Roosevelt
The tycoon's ascension to the White House came at a time when the balance of power is shifting away from Western nations like those in the G7 group
Western politicians, including the British Conservative party, have been accused of falling in line behind Mr Trump's proposals
Brexit is seen to have weakened Britain, reducing still further any political will to resist American leadership
Mr Trump's leadership has been marked by sudden and unexpected shifts in global policy
Trump's controversial missile strike on Syria, which killed several citizens, was seen by some analysts as an attempt to distract from his policy elsewhere
The President has also spent a large majority of his weekends golfing, rather than attending to matters of state
Though free of gaffes, a visit from Chinese president Xi Jinping spotlighted trade tensions between the two states
One major and unexpected setback came when Mr Trump's Healthcare Bill was struck down by members of his own party
Mr Trump has been a figure of fun in the media, with his approval at record lows
A string of revelations about Mr Trump's financial indiscretions did not mar his surge to the White House
Outgoing President Barack Obama was accused of wiretapping Trump Tower by his successor in America's highest office
The alleged involvement of Russian intelligence operatives in securing Mr Trump the presidency prompted harsh criticism
The explosive resignation of Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who lied about his links to the Russian ambassador, was just one scandal to hit the President
Many scandals, such as the accusation Barack Obama was implicated in phone-hacking, first broke on Mr Trump's Twitter feed
Donald Trump's election provoked mass protests in the UK, with millions signing a petition to ban him from the country
Donald Trump cited a non-existent terror attack in Sweden during a campaign rally
Donald Trump stands accused of stoking regional tensions in Eastern Asia
North Korea has launched a number of failed nuclear tests since Mr Trump took power
Theresa May formally rejected the petition calling for Mr Trump to be banned from the UK
When Mr Trump's initial so-called Muslim ban was struck down by a federal justice, the President mocked the 69-year-old as a "ridiculous", "so-called judge"
A week after his inauguration, Theresa May met with Mr Trump at the White House
Donald Trump's first days in office were marked by a hasty attempt to follow through on many of his campaign promises, including the so-called Muslim ban
Donald Trump's decision to ban citizens of many majority-Muslim countries from the US sparked mass protests
Revelations about Donald Trump's sexual improprieties were not enough to keep him from being elected President
British PM Theresa May was criticised by many in the press for cosying up to the new President
One of Mr Trump's top aides, Kelly Anne Conway, was mocked for describing mistruths as "alternative facts"
British PM Theresa May was quick to demonstrate that her political aims did not hugely differ from Mr Trump's
Donald Trump's inauguration, on 20 January 2017, sparked protests both at home and abroad
“When I look back on what my father did in this past election, and the risk he took, to me I'm far more impressed with the fact that he tried than by the fact he actually won,” Trump said in the 14-minute speech. “For a billionaire to step away from an amazing life and spend $75 million to go up against an incredible Republican field and then go up against one of the great political machines ever assembled... to do that was amazing.”
“We believed in his message and not necessarily the contrived message that was put out there in the media,” he added.
The university did not answer repeated emails and telephone calls asking if Trump received any payment for his speech. Security guards turned away an Associated Press journalist at the university's gate Wednesday.
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