Donald Trump will enter the White House with a network of unorthodox foreign contacts — some of them high-living risk-takers, some with past trouble with the law — who have done business with him in nations from Latin America to the Middle East to Asia.
Several of Trump’s foreign business partners have been investigated for financial improprieties, and some of them were required to pay large fines or settlements. Others were relatively inexperienced local developers who had major economic problems with their risky, Trump-branded mega-projects. Trump has also worked with businessmen with close connections to authoritarian governments.
Ethics lawyers have raised concerns about whether some of the Trump family’s overseas alliances could raise conflicts of interest for the incoming president or tie the White House to questionable characters.
“A businessman can deal with these types of businesspeople and hopefully be smart enough not to get sucked in or be taken advantage of,” said Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under President George W. Bush and a vocal critic of Trump. “But when you move into public service as president of the United States, these are exactly the types of business entanglements you have to dispose of.”
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