Trump Family’s Newest Partners: Middle Eastern Governments

Eight months before Mr. Trump entered the presidential race in 2015, the family company announced plans to license its name for a 33-story hotel in Baku, Azerbaijan, and the partner there was the son of a government minister. That project was also ultimately abandoned.

But elsewhere, the Trump Organization’s foreign deals generally did not directly involve a financial role by a foreign government, or at least any public acknowledgment of direct foreign government financing or a major land contribution, according to an examination of the transactions by The New York Times.

During Mr. Trump’s time in the White House, the Trump International Hotel in Washington was frequently a destination for foreign government officials, including delegations in town for planned meetings with Mr. Trump. The governments of Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and China each spent money at the hotel, according to documents that his former accounting firm turned over to Congress. The hotel received more than $3.75 million from foreign governments from 2017 to 2020, the House investigators estimated.

The Trump Organization has asserted that it paid all profits from these hotel stays to the Treasury Department through annual voluntary payments.

But this new deal — in which the Trump Organization benefits from land or financial capital provided by foreign governments — only elevates the potential for a conflict of interest to emerge, as Mr. Trump continues his dual roles as a White House candidate and business executive, ethics lawyers said.

“This is yet another example of Trump getting a personal financial benefit in exchange for past or future political power,” said Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis. “The Saudis and Oman government may believe that giving Trump this licensing deal will benefit them in the future, should Trump become president again. This deal could be a way to ensure that they will be in Trump’s good graces.”

The Aida project in Oman is slated to be built 20 minutes outside the capital city of Muscat, on an series of hills overlooking the Arabian Sea on land controlled by the Omani Company for Development and Tourism, a Oman-government-owned tourism agency. It will include 3,500 luxury villas, two hotels with a total of 450 rooms and a golf course, as well as various restaurants and stores.

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