Damac confirms Trump turned down Dh7.3bn of new deals

Company confirms it sought to extend deals, but was rebuffed by a Trump Organization that is curtailing overseas projects

The US president-elect Donald Trump announced that his business interests would be held in a trust run by his sons Don and Eric. Damac confirmed that Mr Trump had rebuffed its recent business proposals. Evan Vucci / AP Photo
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Dubai-based developer Damac has confirmed that it had a US$2 billion offer to extend its working relationship with The Trump Organization rebuffed by US president-elect Donald Trump.

A spokesman for Damac confirmed that “discussions took place as stated in the media briefing [given by Mr Trump on Wednesday] but the proposals were declined by the Trump Organization”.

“These proposals were for a variety of different properties deals,” the spokesman added.

In his first press briefing for 167 days ahead of his inauguration ceremony next week, Mr Trump announced that his business interests would be held in a trust run by his sons Don and Eric, and added there would be no new foreign deals for the duration of his presidency.

Mr Trump said that he understood the dangers of a conflict of interest and had rejected a potential deal with Hussein Sajwani, the Damac chairman, whom he described as a good friend.

“Over the weekend, I was offered $2bn to do a deal in Dubai ... a number of deals. And I turned it down,” he said.

Mr Trump also sought to place distance between his organisation and Russia, stating that he had “no dealings … no deals … and I have no loans with Russia.

“I thought that was important to point out,” said Mr Trump. “We could make deals in Russia very easily, if we wanted to, I just don’t want to because I think that would be a conflict.”

Mr Trump has agreed several licensing deals with Damac over the past few years, and had previously agreed a joint venture with Nakheel for a tower on Palm Jumeirah that was never built.

Damac announced its first deal with the Trump Organization in May 2013, when Mr Trump and his daughter Ivanka attended a launch event in Dubai to announce a Trump International Golf Club would be built at the 28 million square feet Akoya by Damac masterplanned community. Work on the course is almost complete and it is set to open in February.

Subsequent extensions have involved Trump-branded villas also being built at Akoya by Damac, and in December 2014 a second Trump World Golf Club venture was agreed at the 55 million Akoya Oxygen development, featuring a course designed by Tiger Woods.

The partnership became slightly more controversial during Mr Trump’s run for the presidency, when in December 2015 he gave an interview with Fox News stating that he would consider closing down mosques in the wake of terrorist attacks in France a month earlier. In the same week, he also threatened a “total and complete shutdown” of US borders on security grounds to Muslims attempting to enter the country.

However, even at the height of the controversy, Trump-branded signs were reinstated 24 hours after being taken down and Damac chairman Mr Sajwani has remained on good terms with the president-elect, earning praise from Mr Trump at a private New Year’s Eve function held at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida two weeks ago.


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