Donald Trump's history doing business in the Middle East

Donald Trump's history doing business in the Middle East

Donald Trump's history doing business in the Middle East

Updated 20 May 2017, 5:10 AEST

Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner may be relatively new to the world of diplomacy in the Middle East, but they both have extensive histories of doing business in the region.

In total, 30 companies in Mr Trump's Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings bear the name of Middle Eastern countries or cities, though four of those have since been dissolved and four do not relate to relevant business holdings in the county they share a name with.

Some of those are in Saudi Arabia, the first destination of Mr Trump's tour of the region.

"Saudi Arabia, I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me," Mr Trump said during his campaign.

He also once declared that the country "blew up the World Trade Centre".

Mr Trump's FEC filings list him as president and owner of THC Jeddah Hotel Advisor and another seven firms that also bear the name of Saudi Arabia's second-largest city, though four of them have since been dissolved.

His daughter Ivanka has said the Trump Organisation plans to build hotels in Saudi Arabia as well as Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, where one of his hotel projects collapsed in 2008 amidst a corruption scandal with his local partner Nakheel in 2008.

Just this year, Donald Trump Jr opened the Trump International Golf Course in the same city, built with Nakheel's archrival Damac Properties.

Looking further afield, the FEC filings also reveal two Trump companies bearing the name Egypt in their monikers, Trump Marks Egypt and Trump Marks Egypt LLC.

Kushner's deep Israel business ties

In contrast to this wide spread, the interests of his real estate mogul son-in-law — who has been tasked with devising a Middle East peace plan — are quite concentrated.

Mr Kushner's family real estate company has longstanding and ongoing deals with major financial institutions from Israel, the second Middle Eastern destination on the tour.

Kushner Companies share investments with Israeli firm Harel Insurance Investments & Financial Services, and two major Israeli banks that have been investigated by US authorities for allegedly helping wealthy clients evade US taxes.

Bloomberg and The New York Times have also reported that Mr Kushner has business ties totalling tens of millions of dollars with the Steinmetz family, one of the richest families in Israel, which made most of its fortune in the diamond industry in recent decades.

The Kushners stressed their ties were to Raz Steinmetz, and not his uncle Beny, who is currently under police investigation for allegedly bribing officials in Guinea in order to advance his mining business.

Mr Trump's own business interests in Israel collapsed spectacularly in 2008 when his plan to lease his name to a 70-storey Trump Tower in Tel Aviv fell apart, leading to a court battle with a local developer that he lost, according to local newspaper Haaretz.

He has been much more successful in Turkey, where the twin towers of an almost 40-storey building in Istanbul proudly brandish his name.

"I have a little conflict of interest 'cause I have a major, major building in Istanbul," Mr Trump said in a December 2015 interview with Breitbart News.

ABC/Reuters