In 2012, the Trump Organization signed onto a number of contracts with developers of an Azerbaijani family. The agreement between the family, which U.S. officials have labeled as unethical, and the Trump Organization laid out plans to develop a hotel described as an “ultra-luxury property.”
According to the New Yorker, what would be the Trump Tower Baku would have been considered upscale yet any restaurants or shops in the surrounding area would be lacking.
“Why would someone put a luxury hotel there? Nobody who can afford to stay there would want to be in that neighborhood,” said a former top official in Azerbaijan Ministry of Tourism.
The main concern with the Trump Organization’s involvement in Azerbaijan is that it is considered one of the most corrupt nations in the world.
[T]he Mammadov family, in addition to its reputation for corruption, has a troubling connection that any proper risk assessment should have unearthed: for years, it has been financially entangled with an Iranian family tied to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideologically driven military force.
Specifically, a close relative of those involved in the deals is the Transportation Minister, Ziya Mammadov. Mammadov came into power when the regime in power began to receive profits for oil reserves in the Caspian Sea. The chief legal officer of the Trump Organization claimed that the deals for the hotel project were ethical for Donald Trump when he became a presidential candidate in 2015. Most revealing is that the senior official involved in the Baku project was Ivanka Trump.
“Ivanka has overseen the development of Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku since its inception, and she recently returned from a trip to the fascinating city in Azerbaijan to check in on the project’s progress.” -caption from Ivanka Trump’s website
Reuters recently reported that the Trump Administration was poised to officially condemn the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization.
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