Leicester Mercury

Trump ‘maintains China bank account’


US PRESIDENT Donald Trump spent a decade unsuccessf­ully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnershi­p with a major government-controlled company, the New York Times has reported.

China is one of only three foreign nations – the others being Britain and Ireland – where Mr Trump maintains a bank account, according to analysis by the newspaper of the president’s tax records.

The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr Trump’s public financial disclosure­s, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names.

The Chinese account is controlled by Trump Internatio­nal Hotels Management LLC, which the tax records show paid $188,561 (£145,629) in taxes in China while pursuing licensing deals there from 2013 to 2015.

In response to questions from the New York Times, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organisati­on,

said the company had “opened an account with a Chinese bank having offices in the United States in order to pay the local taxes” associated with efforts to do business there.

He said the company had opened the account after establishi­ng an office in China “to explore the potential for hotel deals in Asia”.

“No deals, transactio­ns or other business activities ever materialis­ed and, since 2015, the office has remained inactive,” Mr Garten said.

“Though the bank account remains open, it has never been used for any other purpose.”

Mr Garten would not identify the bank in China where the account is held.

China continues to be an issue in the 2020 presidenti­al campaign, from the president’s trade war to his barbs over the origin of the coronaviru­s pandemic.

His campaign has tried to portray former vice president Joe Biden as misreading the dangers posed by China’s growing power.

Mr Trump has also sought to tar his opponent with overblown or unsubstant­iated assertions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings there while his father was in office.

As for the former vice president, his public financial disclosure­s, along with the income tax returns he voluntaril­y released, show no income or business dealings of his own in China.

However, there is ample evidence of Mr Trump’s efforts to do business there. As with Russia, where he explored hotel and tower projects in Moscow without success, Mr Trump has long sought a licensing deal in China. His efforts go at least as far back as 2006, when he filed trademark applicatio­ns in Hong Kong and the mainland. Many Chinese government approvals came after he became president.

In 2008, Mr Trump pursued an office tower project in Guangzhou that never got off the ground.

But his efforts accelerate­d in 2012 with the opening of a Shanghai office, and tax records show that one of his China-related companies, THC China Developmen­t LLC, claimed $84,000 (£64,875) in deductions that year for travel costs, legal fees and office expenses.

The New York Times said Mr Trump’s tax records show that he has invested at least $192,000 (£148,285) in five small companies created specifical­ly to pursue projects in China over the years. Those companies claimed at least $97,400 (£75,224) in business expenses since 2010, the paper reported.

 ??  ?? Donald Trump also has bank accounts in Britain and Ireland
Donald Trump also has bank accounts in Britain and Ireland

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