Business

Trump not yet able to close foundation

WASHINGTON: US President-elect Donald Trump said on Saturday he intends to dissolve his controversial philanthropic foundation to avoid conflicts of interest, but the move was quickly complicated by an ongoing legal probe.

Mr Trump's portfolio of US and overseas business interests and holdings, as well as his Donald J. Trump Foundation, have come under increased scrutiny in the weeks since his election. The shuttering of his charity would be his first big step to avoid a brewing storm of potential conflicts of interest.

His private foundation has been at the centre of several controversies. It is now under investigation by the New York attorney general.

In a statement to US media, the attorney general's office said Mr Trump could not yet close the foundation.

STEPS

Mr Trump's transition team said he had directed his counsel to take the necessary steps to close the foundation.

A Washington Post investigation in June said Mr Trump gave just a fraction of the money he had promised to charity, and it was only after public pressure that he made good on a $1 million pledge.

His children, too, have come under the spotlight for their charitable enterprises.

Mr Trump's transition team denied a report that his sons were seeking donations of up to $1 million in exchange for possible post-inauguration access.

The Center for Public Integrity, a group that addresses ethics, said a non-profit foundation was set up, making discreet potential pay-for-play possible.

Mr Trump's daughter was forced to scrap a charity auction for coffee with her after experts said it appeared bidders could pay for special access to the family.

Critics said Mr Trump will run into conflicts unless he fully divests himself of all his business and charitable interests. - AFP

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