• Ivanka Trump, husband benefitting from business empire

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    WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner have held onto real estate and business investments valued in the hundreds of millions while working government jobs, according to ethics filings released late Friday by the White House.

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    The disclosures came in a mass document release showing the wealth and financial assets of scores of senior White House staff members at the time they began government work.

    Ivanka Trump’s stake in the Trump International Hotel, located blocks from the White House, is one source of income that could represent a conflict of interest.

    Critics have noted that interest groups or foreign governments could stay at the luxury hotel to get in the administration’s good graces.

    The White House documents show that Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, who are both officially close advisers to the president, are still getting income from holdings valued at between $240 million and $740 million.

    Ivanka Trump—who just days ago announced she would officially enter a federal role as an unpaid adviser to the US president—will hang on to her stake in the Trump International Hotel.

    According to her husband’s disclosure the hotel stake is worth between $5 million and $25 million. Between January 2016 and March 2017 she made between $1 million and $5 million in rent or royalties from the hotel, the documents showed.

    Kushner was recently tapped by his Republican father-in-law to lead a new White House office that aims to use business ideas to help streamline the government, according to the Washington Post.

    The 36-year-old is a senior adviser to Trump with far-reaching influence over domestic and foreign policy.

    Kushner left high-level positions at more than 200 entities related to his family’s real estate business, according to the documents, but will continue to reap benefits from many holdings related to the business empire he ran with his father.

    Bannon, Cohn assets
    The White House disclosures included information on the assets of Gary Cohn—the former president of Goldman Sachs who heads the White House National Economic Council—and Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist.

    Cohn reported assets of between $253 and $611 million, and income in 2016 of up to $77 million.

    Bannon’s most important asset is his private consulting firm, valued at between $5 million and $25 million. He also had rental real estate valued at up to $10.5 million, and up to $2.25 million in the bank.

    Bannon reported $191,000 in consulting fees earned from the conservative outlet Breitbart News Network, which he formerly headed, as well as more than $125,000 for work at the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for the Trump campaign, and more than $61,000 in salary for a conservative nonprofit group.

    The Trump administration is considered one of the wealthiest in US history—Bloomberg estimates his cabinet and senior staff are worth some $12 billion.

    No Trump divestment
    Since being elected president, Donald Trump’s vast business empire has been scrutinized by ethics experts who say it poses major conflicts of interest.

    Before taking office in January Trump said he would formally hand “complete and total” control of his business empire to his adult sons, Don Jr and Eric, in a bid to avoid conflicts of interest—but he would not divest from his business holdings.

    The Trump Organization, whose network of hotels, golf clubs and luxury residential towers stretches across 20 countries, is not listed on the stock market, and thus releases no public statistics.

    Trump has thus far refused to release his tax returns, meaning little is known about the extent of its interests.

    Don Jr., 38, and Eric, 32, are Trump’s eldest sons from his first marriage. They are currently executive vice presidents in the Trump Organization.

    Trump’s personal lawyer Sheri Dillon promised that the new president would “build in protections” to show that his actions “are for their benefit and not to support his financial interests.”

    AFP

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