12 December 2016

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump shut down some of his companies, including four linked to potential business deals in Saudi Arabia, shortly after his election victory on November 8, according to the Associated Press.

The four companies, whose names all contain the word Jeddah, were registered in the U.S. state of Delaware in August 2015, but were dissolved days after Trump’s victory in the presidential election, the Associated Press reported at the weekend. Jeddah is a Saudi port city on the Red Sea.

Trump is expected to outline his plans to separate business interests from his role as president of the United States in order to avoid any potential conflict of interest when he takes office on January 20 next month.

Trump Organization’s general counsel, Alan Garten, told the Associated Press that the closing of the Saudi-linked companies was part of a routine “housecleaning” initiative and that there was no existing business venture in the kingdom. “I’m not aware of any deal in Saudi Arabia,” Garten was quoted as saying. “I’ll go further: there is no deal in Saudi Arabia.”

Saudi Arabia has been on the Trump Organization’s radar for some time. Ivanka Trump, Trump’s daughter and executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organisation, said in a May 2015 interview with Hotelier Middle East magazine that the company was looking at “multiple opportunities” in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi emirate in the United Arab Emirates and in Qatar.

Trump has a number of business interests in the Middle East, including a range of branded consumer goods in retail outlets. He also has a partnership with Dubai-based private real estate developer Damac Properties to develop and operate two Trump-branded golf courses in the emirate.

Last month, Damac announced the launch of a new series of villas overlooking one of the Trump golf courses, just days after the developer’s chairman told CNN he expects a boost in the project’s sales as a result of Trump’s election victory.

Read more: Dubai's Damac launches new villas at Trump-branded golf course project

(Writing by Shane McGinley)

© Zawya 2016