Foreign Real Estate

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Antigua

1989: Donald Trump entered negotiations to buy a government-constructed hotel in Antigua from the politically influential son of the island's ailing dictator. "It sounds like the scenario for a television miniseries or a prime-time soap opera. It is actually the true story of the struggle for power being played out today in Antigua, one of the most enticing micro-states of the Leeward Islands, 250 miles east of Puerto Rico. [...] The supporting cast includes two sure-fire box-office names: Donald Trump, said to be close to a deal with one of the brothers to acquire the newest of Antigua's posh, government-owned tourist hotels. [...] Lester Bird, 51, also a British-trained lawyer, appears to be more powerful than his older brother. Since 1976 he has led the Labor Party and served as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, economic development, trade, tourism and energy, and he is responsible for many of the government's financial dealings. He is currently conducting what he described in an interview as "warm" negotiations with American real estate billionaire Trump for the sale of the new Royal Antiguan Hotel, built by the Bird government with a $75-million commercial loan." (Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1999)

The brother Trump was dealing with, Lester Bird, had previously awarded a mining permit to a company he controlled that allowed him to obtain pay $1 per cubic yard for a resource he could resell for $23 per cubic yard. "Until recently, Lester Bird and two other Cabinet officers owned three-fourths of a company that mines fine construction sand, under exclusive government permit, from neighboring Barbuda. This enterprise could not exist had they not arranged the government permit, charges Dr. Ivor Heath, a 62-year-old surgeon who heads the opposition United National Democratic Party. The group pays Barbuda a little more than a dollar per cubic yard and resells the sand throughout the Caribbean for as much as $23 per cubic yard, according to Hilbourne Frank, newly elected Barbuda representative to the Antigua Parliament, who has filed a lawsuit to stop the project. "They're making millions," Frank said, "and we (Barbudans) are getting ripped off." According to Heath, Lester recently sold his shares for the sake of appearances -- but to a company in which he holds a substantial interest, thus preserving his interest secondhand." (Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1999)

Recommended Reading:

"Millionaire Sons Maneuver to Rule : Now Playing in Antigua: Real-Life Dynasty Drama," (Los Angeles Times, April 19, 1999)

Argentina

Buenos Aires - Trump Tower

Azerbaijan

Baku - Trump Tower

Trump secretly signed a contract in 2012 to license his name to a condo/hotel tower that would be developed in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic that borders Iran. Trump's business partners in the deal - the Mammadov family - were deeply entwined with the country's corrupt regime. The Mammadov's are also believed to be money launderers for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.

  • Trump's partner in the Azerbaijan deal, Anar Mammadov, became rich by procuring government contracts from an agency controlled by his father. "Trump has partnered with a young billionaire, Anar Mammadov, 35, whose family is part of a longtime ruling regime that the U.S. State Department and others say is plagued by endemic corruption and human rights abuses. Much of Mammadov's fortune has come from construction contracts awarded through the Transportation Ministry run by his father, according to journalists who have investigated him." (Washington Post, May 31, 2016)
  • Mammadov's family enjoys close ties to the ruling Aliyev dynasty, which has been compared by American diplomatic officials to the Corleone crime family from the Godfather movies. "President Ilham Aliyev, 54, has ruled since 2003, when he took over from his father, Heydar Aliyev. [...] A 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable disclosed by WikiLeaks and reported by Foreign Policy magazine compared President Aliyev's administration to the Corleones, the Mafia family from the "Godfather" movies. [...] Anar Mammadov's father, Ziya Mammadov, is not just the country's longtime transportation minister but also a confidant of Aliyev." (Washington Post, May 31, 2016)
  • Contracts related to the building were not signed by Anar Mammadov, but by his uncle Elton, a member of the Azerbaijani Parliament who claimed the identities of the real owners behind Trump Tower Baku was a "commercial secret." "Trump’s company had made the deal not just with Anar Mammadov but also with Ziya’s brother Elton—an influential member of the Azerbaijani parliament. Elton signed the contracts, and in an interview he confirmed that he founded Baku XXI Century, the company that owns the Trump Tower Baku. When he was asked who owns Baku XXI Century, he called it a “commercial secret” but added that he “controlled all its operations” until 2015, when he cut ties to the company. Elton denied having used his political position for profit." (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • Mammadov's father was later discovered to have been a money launderer for the Iranian regime. "Six months before he entered the presidential race, Donald Trump announced a new real estate project in Baku, Azerbaijan. His partner was the son of a government minister suspected by U.S. diplomats of laundering money for Iran's military and described as "notoriously corrupt." [... Trump's general counsel, Alan] Garten subsequently said he was confident the minister alleged to be laundering Iranian funds, Ziya Mammadov, had no involvement in his son's holding company, even though some of the son's major businesses regularly partnered with the transportation ministry and were founded while the son was in college overseas." (San Diego Union Tribune, June 6, 2016)
  • The Mammadov family has deep financial ties to an Iranian family connected to activities carried out by Iran's criminal Revolutionary Guard. "The 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. In 2008, the year that the tower was announced, Ziya Mammadov, in his role as Transportation Minister, awarded a series of multimillion-dollar contracts to Azarpassillo, an Iranian construction company. Keyumars Darvishi, its chairman, fought in the Iran-Iraq War. After the war, he became the head of Raman, an Iranian construction firm that is controlled by the Revolutionary Guard. The U.S. government has regularly accused the Guard of criminal activity, including drug trafficking, sponsoring terrorism abroad, and money laundering. Reuters recently reported that the Trump Administration was poised to officially condemn the Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization." (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • Trump signed a secret contract with Mammadov in 2012 that was not announced until two years later. "The licensing agreement between Trump and Mammadov's company, Garant Holding, was signed on May 25, 2012, Garten said. The project would not be publicly announced for two years." (Washington Post, May 31, 2016)
  • Trump has received documented payments of at least $5.3 million related to the building, but has refused to reveal his total compensation from the deal. "It’s not clear how much money Trump made from the licensing agreement, although in his limited public filings he has reported receiving $2.8 million. (The Trump Organization shared documents that showed an additional payment of two and a half million dollars, in 2012, but declined to disclose any other payments.)" (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • Mammadov continued paying Trump despite abandoning the tower. "The only key player who has not lost money on the project is Trump. Trump's deal is not being renegotiated and his fees will not be reduced, said Karimli and Garten, neither of whom would disclose how much Trump was being paid." (Washington Post, May 31, 2016)
  • The building was abandoned immediately after construction was finished. "The Baku hotel went up on the Trump website. The 2015 opening was promised. Then, nothing. In December, the hotel disappeared from the Trump site. The general manager hired by Trump left for a job in Prague. Construction crews were sent home, and the hotel was locked up tight. Today, a couple of security guards and a sleepy caretaker keep an eye on the place, which is overgrown with weeds. A huge globe that says "TRUMP" sits in a fountain filled with sand and litter, near the locked-up front entrance." (Washington Post, May 31, 2016)
  • Following the election, Trump's business announced that it would cancel its licensing deal in Azerbaijan. "The Trump International Hotel and Tower Baku, a 33-floor sail-shaped hotel and condominium building near the shores of the Caspian Sea, was heralded by the Trump Hotels Collection as “the next generation of luxury hospitality” that would “set a new standard for excellence in the region,” according to a 2014 press release. But a representative for the Trump Organization told ABC News in a statement that the branding deal is off, citing delays in the development." (ABC News, January 10, 2017)
  • The building was originally slated to cost $195 million to develop, but experienced substantial cost overruns. "The Trump Tower Baku originally had a construction budget of a hundred and ninety-five million dollars, but it went through multiple revisions, and the cost ended up being much higher. [...] By the time the Trump team officially joined the project, in May, 2012, many condominium residences had already been completed; at the insistence of Trump Organization staffers, most of the building’s interior was gutted and rebuilt, and several elevators were added." (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • Expatriate construction contractors have claimed that they were paid for their work on the building with bags full of cash. "Frank McDonald, an Englishman who has had a long career doing construction jobs in developing countries, performed extensive work on the building’s interior. He told me that his firm was always paid in cash, and that he witnessed other contractors being paid in the same way. At the offices of Anar Mammadov’s company, he said, “they would give us a giant pile of cash,” adding, “I got a hundred and eighty thousand dollars one time, which I fit into my laptop bag, and two hundred thousand dollars another time.” Once, a colleague of his picked up a payment of two million dollars. “He needed to bring a big duffelbag,” McDonald recalled. The Azerbaijani lawyer confirmed that some contractors on the Baku tower were paid in cash." (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • Trump's attorney has admitted that Trump Tower Baku was corrupt, but argued that the Trump Organization could not have been involved in illegal bribery because "the flow of funds is in the wrong direction," with the Trumps only taking payments from the Mammadovs, not paying them. "Alan Garten, the Trump Organization lawyer, did not deny that there was corruption involved in the project. “I’m not going to sit here and defend the Mammadovs,” he said. But, from a legal standpoint, he argued, the Trump Organization was blameless. In his opinion, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act doesn’t apply to the Baku deal, even if corruption occurred. “We didn’t own it,” he said of the hotel. “We had no equity. We didn’t control the project. The flow of funds is in the wrong direction.” He added, “We did not pay any money to anyone. Therefore, it could not be a violation of the F.C.P.A.”" (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • Donald Trump denounced American anti-bribery laws on television the same month that he closed his deal in Azerbaijan. "In May, 2012, the month the Baku deal was finalized, the F.C.P.A. was evidently on Donald Trump’s mind. In a phone-in appearance on CNBC, he expressed frustration with the law. “Every other country goes into these places and they do what they have to do,” he said. “It’s a horrible law and it should be changed.” If American companies refused to give bribes, he said, “you’ll do business nowhere.” He continued, “There is one answer—go to your room, close the door, go to sleep, and don’t do any deals, because that’s the only way. The only way you’re going to do it is the other way.”" (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • The Mammadov family has seen its fortunes falling in the past two years, with Elton losing his Parliament seat and Anar going into seclusion in London. "In Azerbaijan, the power and the influence of the Mammadovs has declined sharply. Elton lost his seat in parliament in 2015. In February, Ziya was abruptly removed from his ministry. Anar has settled in London, an associate of his told me, and is living on a fraction of his former wealth. Meanwhile, in Iran, government officials are likely facing additional sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. If the Mammadovs or powerful Iranians have evidence that the Trump Organization broke laws, they might be tempted to exploit it." (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)
  • Mammadov disappeared from public view shortly after Trump Tower Baku was abandoned. "At about the same time that the Trump hotel project in Baku came to an abrupt halt, Mammadov virtually disappeared. He stopped paying his bills. The Azerbaijan America Alliance did not hold its annual gala in Washington last fall. [...] Mammadov now lives much of the time in London, according to people who know him. "He just went off the radar," said his friend who asked not to be identified. "Totally off the radar."" (Washington Post, May 31, 2016)
  • Thirty families were evicted from their homes to clear land for Trump Tower Baku, with some of them complaining that they were unfairly compensated. "Much of the land occupied by the Trump Tower Baku complex was once packed with houses. In 2011, residents received letters from the local government authority informing them that their homes were to be demolished to make way for a project of crucial government significance. Thirty families were evicted. One resident, Minaye Azizova, told me that the government gave her eighteen thousand dollars in compensation for a home that, by her estimation, was worth five times as much. After she discovered that her home had been condemned so that Baku XXI Century could build a luxury tower, she sued the government." (New Yorker, March 13, 2017)

Recommended Reading:

("Donald Trump's Worst Deal," New Yorker, March 13, 2017)

("For a President Trump, global real estate deals present unprecedented gray areas," Washington Post, May 31, 2016)

("The Trump Organization Says It’s Vetting Deals for Conflicts—But Refuses to Say How," Mother Jones, March 21, 2017)

("Donald Trump Is Doing Business With a Controversial Azerbaijani Oligarch," Mother Jones, July 29, 2015)

("The Corleones of the Caspian," Foreign Policy, June 10, 2014)

("Hotel Project in Muslim Country Mysteriously Vanishes From Donald Trump’s Website", Mother Jones, December 10, 2015)

("Donald Trump May Have Done a Lot More Than Just Take a Photo With the President of Azerbaijan," Mother Jones, September 29, 2017)

Brazil

4/10/89: Trump gave a press conference in Brazil and declared an intention to develop a tower in Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo. "New York real estate magnate Donald J. Trump said he wanted to construct a Trump Tower-style building in Brazil. "What I enjoy most is building great buildings. I think my most likely investment in Brazil would be building a Trump Tower-type building ... a glamorous, super-quality building," Trump told a weekend news conference in Sao Paulo. He said the tower would be built there or in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil's biggest cities. [...] Trump, in Brazil to make a donation to a hospital, said, "It is very likely I will make an investment here."" (Los Angeles Times, April 10, 1989)

Rio de Janeiro - Trump Hotel

Rio de Janeiro - Trump Towers

Sao Paulo

Bermuda

Canada

Toronto

Vancouver

China

Cuba

Dominican Republic

February, 2007: Trump announced that he will partner with a foreign company named "Cap Cana SA" to develop a $2 billion luxury resort to be called "Trump at Cap Cana." "Real estate developer Donald Trump said Friday that he is teaming with Cap Cana SA to create a luxury resort on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic. The $2 billion project, named Trump at Cap Cana, will include a condominium hotel, golf course, golf villas, beach club and luxury homes. [...] A gated community of 68 luxury homes called Trump Farallon Estates at Cap Cana will be the first portion of the project to be developed. The homes, which will each sit on at least 1.5 acres, will be located on a bluff 60 feet above sea level. [...] Cap Cana SA is part of diverse holding company The Abrisa Group." (Associated Press, February 16, 2007)

Trump's development in the Dominican Republic was featured in the season finale of the Spring 2007 season of The Apprentice. "Nearly 8 million viewers tuned in for the season finale of "The Apprentice," according to Nielsen Media Research. [...] In the finale, star Donald Trump crowned Stefani Schaeffer the latest "Apprentice." She is the second woman to win the competition and the $250,000-a-year job that goes with the job title. Schaeffer will oversee construction of the Trump at Cap Cana resort in the Dominican Republic." (New York Daily News, April 24, 2007)

May, 2007: The Trump Organization issued a press release boasting it had sold $350 million of real estate at Cap Cana in a single sales meeting. "Cap Cana, one of the world's most exclusive tourism and real estate destinations, reached a new sales record, selling US $350 million gross and more than 95% of inventory in the first four hours of the Trump Farallon Estates at Cap Cana sales launch. Trump Farallon Estates constitutes the first product launched by the joint venture deal recently signed between Donald J. Trump and Cap Cana, S.A. [...] Mr. Trump arrived at Cap Cana for the sales launch, meeting with Dr. Ricardo Hazoury, Cap Cana's Board President, as well as the distinguished owners of this unique product." (PR Newswire US, May 23, 2007)

Thanks in part to credibility loaned by Donald Trump, the Cap Cana development issued a $250 million bond managed by Bear Stearns that was described as "unprecedented" in it's "complexity and sophistication." "Any doubts as to the power of the Dominican Republic's tourism industry are laid to rest by Cap Cana, the largest and most ambitious leisure project in the Caribbean. The complex covers an area of 122 square kilometres (it is twice the size of Manhattan), with 5.6 kilometres of beachfront. Last year, Cap Cana launched the largest corporate bond in the country's history, a $250m, seven-year issue at 9.62%. This was the first time that a Dominican company has been financed in the international market at a rate below 10.87%, and Cap Cana is the only Dominican corporate issuer to be assigned a B rating by Fitch Ratings and B3 by Moody's Investors Services. This bond issue enables Cap Cana to fully liquidate its $62.3m obligations with domestic banks. The remaining net funds will be used to accelerate the project's development. This was in many ways a benchmark transaction. Cap Cana, along with its adviser and sole bookrunner Bear Sterns, developed an innovative financing structure with a level of complexity and sophistication that the issuers claim is unprecedented in international markets. [...] The success and low cost of the bond issue reflect the perception of reduced risk among foreign investors and widespread international interest in the project. This perception was enhanced with the recent visit of US entrepreneur Donald Trump to the Dominican Republic to launch the Trump Farallon Estates at Cap Cana." (The Banker, September 1, 2007)

Egypt

France

St. Martin - Chateau de Palmiers - Excel Venture

Georgia- Batumi and Tbilisi

Trump took money from Georgian business partners to put his name on towers that were never built: Donald Trump signed a licensing deal with the President of Georgia in March of 2011 that would put his name on two proposed towers – the Trump Riviera Batumi and Trump Tower Tbilisi.[1] Development of the $300 million deal was led by Giorgi Ramishvili, a Georgian businessman whose Silk Road Group was one of the largest companies in the region.[2] Trump made no promises to invest his own money in the project, but stood to earn a licensing fee for the use of his name and would have managed the buildings if they ever opened.[3] Neither building was ever completed.[4]

Trump and Georgia's President showered each other with praise in New York, while Georgian media falsely reported that Trump would bring badly needed foreign investment: Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili attended the signing of the deal with Trump in New York City, apparently hoping that the agreement would create an illusion of confidence in Georgia among Western investors.[5] For his part, Trump used the ceremony to boast of his foreign policy experience, claiming he was “dealing with one of the great leaders of the world.” [6] Local television stations back in Georgia apparently misreported the nature of the deal, wrongly claiming that Trump had agreed to invest in the former Soviet Republic.[7] Georgian economic development officials portrayed the Trump deal as a significant public relations achievement, despite local criticism that it required no personal investment from Trump.[8] At the time Trump's deal was signed, Georgia was in dire need of foreign investment, which had been sharply plummeting in the wake of Russia’s 2008 invasion and a global financial collapse.[9] Georgia’s average per capita income in 2009 was a mere $2,455.[10] Under Saakashvili, Georgia had a flat income tax rate of 20% for all payers and lacked worker protections such as labor laws, unions, or a minimum wage.[11]

Trump received an undisclosed sum for allowing his Georgian partners to use his name: It is not presently known how much money Trump was paid to put his name on the Georgian real estate projects. Giorgi Ramishvili claimed in 2016 that Trump had been paid when the agreement was first signed.[12] Trump’s lawyer refused to explain how much Trump had received, telling a reporter that “the terms of the agreement are propriety and confidential.” [13] Trump’s financial disclosures reveal that he owns and controls two companies that may have been set up to receive licensing fees from Georgia. The two companies – Trump Marks Batumi LLC and Trump Marks Batumi Member Corp – have no disclosed income, assets or value.

Trump personally traveled to Georgia in April of 2012, nearly two years after he began negotiating his deal there: Trump first began exploring the possibility of a deal in Georgia in early 2010.[14] Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, traveled to Georgia for two weeks, reportedly to scout out possible sites for the Trump-branded developments.[15] Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili first announced that an agreement had been reached in September of 2010.[16] Trump personally traveled to Georgia in April of 2012, where he was awarded the local “Order of Lights” award.[17] Local officials touted Trump’s brief visit as evidence that Georgia had received the “green light” for foreign investment.[18] Following his visit, Trump claimed he was “considering” investing $100 million of his own money in Georgia.[19] In the same interview he explained the Silk Road Group would be responsible for fundraising on the project. We have found no evidence that Trump ever invested his own money in the Georgia developments.

Domestic opponents of Georgia's president derided the Trump deal as a "complete lie:" Saakashvili’s dealings with Trump were the object of domestic criticism by Georgians who questioned their President’s priorities. Trump Riviera Batumi was one of several high-profile projects pursued by Saakashvili while core domestic infrastructure investments were neglected. [20] Saakashvili’s election rival, billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, singled out the deal with Trump for criticism. Speaking of Trump’s reported investment in Georgia, Ivanishvili told an American reporter “Two months they have been circulating this on TV. Not a single cent has been invested by Trump. It's a complete lie.”[21] Saakashvili was defeated in the 2012 election by a margin of 15 points. At a press conference following his victory, Ivanishvili again criticized his predecessor’s deal with Trump.[22] Trump’s Georgian business partner, Giorgi Ramishvili, had been a financial supporter of Saakashvili’s candidacy.[23]

Trump's deal was canceled after his business partners went down in electoral defeat: Local reports claimed that Trump’s project had been canceled after the election, but Trump’s business partner denied them.[24] The project nevertheless languished. A scheduled ground-breaking in 2013 never happened. Following Trump’s win of the 2016 US Presidential Election, the Silk Road Group announced construction of Trump Riviera Batumi would resume.[25] The Trump Organization and Silk Road Group canceled the development in January of 2017, shortly before Trump’s inauguration.[26]

Georgia relaxed travel restrictions against Russians shortly before Trump's visit: Georgia unilaterally waived visa restrictions on Russian citizens in February of 2012. The move was described as an effort by Saakashvili to attract more foreign investment.[27] The announcement was made two months before Trump’s trip to Georgia, which – as discussed earlier – was also portrayed as an effort to attract more foreign investment. To the best of our current knowledge, this is merely an interesting coincidence.

India

Mumbai

Pune

Indonesia

Israel

Tel Aviv - Elite Chocolate Factory

Kazakhstan

("Trump dreamed of his name on towers across former Soviet Union", McClatcy DC Bureau, June 26, 2017)

Mexico

Baja - Trump Ocean Resorts

This development spawned a series of fraud lawsuits against Donald Trump. Investors paid $35 million for deposits on condominium units in two luxury towers that would have been built in Tijuana. The funds were paid into an escrow account. The developers, a group called Irongate, withdrew all the deposits, paying a share of them to Trump as "licensing fees" and "sales commissions." Construction on the tower was never started. The lawsuit was ultimately settled without an admission of wrongdoing on the part of Trump. Recommended Reading: (Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2016)

Netherlands

Philippines

Qatar

Saudi Arabia

South Korea

Switzerland

St. Moritz - Condominium Development

St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Taiwan

Turkey

Uruguay

Footnotes and Citations

  1. In a ceremony with caviar and wine at Trump Tower in Manhattan on Thursday, Mr. Trump signed a deal to develop the two tallest towers in the republic of Georgia, the former Soviet state at the nexus of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Giving his blessing to the deal was Mikheil Saakashvili, the flamboyant, English-speaking president of Georgia. (‘’New York Times’’, March 11, 2011)
  2. Any actual construction, if it begins as scheduled in 2013, would be overseen by Giorgi Ramishvili, chairman of the Silk Road Group, one of the largest private investment companies in the south Caucasus region. The deal, which the partners estimate at $300 million, calls for two projects. The Trump Tower Tbilisi would go up on Rose Revolution Square in Georgia's capital. The Trump Riviera would be part of a planned Silk Road complex that includes a casino, an exhibition hall and a marina, in the resort city of Batumi on the Black Sea, near Turkey. (New York Times, March 11, 2011)
  3. In Georgia, Mr. Trump will license his name, and his company will manage the two properties. He will also work with Silk Road to line up financing for the projects and market the towers. Mr. Trump said that so far he had no plans to put his own cash into the deal. (New York Times, March 11, 2011)
  4. Donald Trump’s company pulled out of a proposed $250-million tower project in the Georgian Black Sea resort town of Batumi, the latest effort by the U.S. president-elect to defuse charges that his global businesses will cause conflicts of interest once he enters the White House. […] The Trump Tower in Batumi was widely assumed to have been shelved when Saakashvili lost power in 2013 and was later stripped of his Georgian citizenship. But Giorgi Ramishvili, Silk Road’s founder, said a month ago that it was still on track. (‘’Bloomberg News’’, January 4, 2017)
  5. For Georgia's president, it was a chance to show that his country, the former Soviet republic, is grand enough to attract the world's best-known real estate developer. And for that developer, Donald J. Trump, it was yet another opportunity to demonstrate that he is world class. [...] Mr. Saakashvili has been eager to draw celebrity foreign investors to show Georgia is again open for business, after the global recession and a war with Russia in 2008 dried up the foreign direct investment that had been propelling the economy. (New York Times, March 11, 2011)
  6. Trump even touted his meeting with Saakashvili, where the developer signed an investment deal for Georgia's Black Sea resort of Batumi, as proof of his made-for-the-presidency foreign policy credentials. "Of course. I am dealing with one of the great leaders of the world," Trump said, looking over at Saakashvili. (Agence France Presse, March 10, 2011)
  7. US businessman Donald Trump "plans to invest 250 million dollars in Georgia" and will "certainly" visit Georgia in the near future, the privately owned Rustavi-2 channel reported on 11 March. [...] While all three main national TV channel's presented the move as Trump investing money in Georgia, reports in international media suggest that Trump's will be managing the project and that the starting capital of 250m dollars is being put up by Georgian company Silk Road Group. (‘’BBC Monitoring Trans Caucusus Unit’’, March 11, 2011)
  8. Local critics were quick to note that although Trump signed a deal to allow the proposed luxury towers to be branded with his name and help raise financing for construction, he didn't actually commit any of his own funds to the estimated $250 million (180 million euro) project. But despite this, the government is optimistic that the US tycoon's celebrity allure could act as an advertisement. "When someone like Trump decides that Georgia is the right place to put his brand name, a lot of other companies will feel comfortable following in his footsteps," said economy minister Kobalia. (‘’Agence France Presse’’, March 20, 2011)
  9. The deal was a PR boost for the ex-Soviet state which is struggling to lure back foreign investors following its war with Russia in 2008 and the global financial crisis. But statistics published the day after the agreement suggested that Georgia needs more help than the flamboyantly-coiffured US magnate has to offer. Foreign direct investment decreased by 16 percent in 2010 to $553 million (397 million euros), following an even more dramatic fall of 58 percent the previous year, according to preliminary figures from the state statistics office. […] The Georgian economy was propped up by $4.5 billion (3.23 billion euros) of US and EU aid and loans after the 2008 conflict, which maintained stability during the global crisis and enabled a post-war return to growth. (‘’Agence France Presse,’’ March 20, 2011)
  10. Mr. Saakashvili has been eager to draw celebrity foreign investors to show Georgia is again open for business, after the global recession and a war with Russia in 2008 dried up the foreign direct investment that had been propelling the economy. Georgians remain poor. The average income, in a country of about 4.3 million people, was $2,455 in 2009. (New York Times, March 11, 2011)
  11. The current president, Mikheil Saakashvili, now 44, was first elected when he was 36. The relative tenderness of their age is accompanied by an almost utopian ambition to create a super-capitalist free-market society. There are almost no labor laws, no trade unions and no minimum wage. Taxes are low and uniform - wage-earners pay 20 percent income tax regardless of how much they earn (compared to as much as 48% in Israel). The corporate rate is 15%, compared to 25% in Israel. "We believe that the main role for government is in building infrastructure," says Gvindadze. (‘’Jerusalem Post’’, June 8, 2012)
  12. Trump's business ambitions have extended throughout the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc. [...] He spent three days in Georgia in 2011 to announce another project in the Black Sea resort town of Batumi. It has not been built, but a project official, Giorgi Rtskhiladze, told The Post that Trump was paid a fee for the use of his name when the agreement was signed. (‘’Washington Post’’, June 17, 2016)
  13. Cohen would not elaborate on the nature of the relationship between Silk Road and the Trump Organization. When asked if Trump had invested any of his own money in the Batumi high rise, he responded that "The terms of the agreement are propriety and confidential." (‘’The Atlantic’’, August 28, 2012)
  14. Maia Lomadze, public relations manager of the Silk Road Group, told RFE/RL on June 25 that the Trump Organization will jointly work with the Silk Road Group to invest in business projects in Tbilisi and the Georgian port city of Batumi. [...] Trump reportedly discussed the possibility of investing in Georgia in April during a meeting with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in New York City, where the Trump Organization is headquartered. (Radio Free Europe, June 26, 2010)
  15. Entrepreneur and real estate mogul Donald Trump is considering real estate investments including casinos and golf courses in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. He has sent Michael Cohen, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, to the country to sound out possibilities after being impressed by the country's president Mikheil Saakashvili on a recent trip to New York. [...] Cohen visited 13 potential development sites and said he was impressed by the Black Sea coastal town of Batumi. It is largely an unknown destination outside central Europe but is a popular destination for tourists from Central Asia due to a temperate climate and proximity to the Turkish border. (Realty Plus, July 16, 2010)
  16. Trump signed an agreement with Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili in New York to build the tower, the presidential administration said in a statement. It provided no financial details of the agreement and said a decision had not yet been made on where the building would be located. [...] Saakashvili was in New York for the UN General Assembly session and for meetings with potential investors as he seeks to revive Georgia's struggling economy. (‘’Agence France Presse’’, September 22, 2010)
  17. The President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili awarded American billionaire and media tycoon Donald Trump with "Order of Lights". The ceremony took place on Saturday evening at the presidential palace in Tbilisi. […] Trump arrived in Tbilisi today and tomorrow he will attend a presentation of "Trump Tower" project in Batumi. (Trend Daily News Azerbaijan, April 21, 2012)
  18. Georgian Economy Minister Vera Kobalia has reiterated that US businessman [Donald Trump's] visit to Georgia is a sign of the green light for investors across the world. "Trump spent only two days in Georgia [on 21-22 April], but this fact has already triggered unprecedented interest of investors and the international media," Kobalia said. [...] "Trump['s visit] is a real sign of 'green light' for Georgia in terms of attracting new investments.” (‘’BBC Trans Caucasus Monitoring Unit’’, April 23, 2012)
  19. US property mogul Donald Trump is considering investing more than $100 million in a residential high rise on the Black Sea coast of Georgia as he considers projects in other former Soviet Union countries. "I'll be putting something in, but that has not been determined yet. For the job itself, it will be more than $100 million," he said during a visit to the capital city Tbilisi. Trump, who travelled to Georgia after a visit to Istanbul, unveiled the 47 story Trump Tower Batumi project with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and partner Silk Road Group, one of the country's biggest private investment companies. "Batumi is becoming quite a place, it's the best location, the Monte Carlo of the region," Trump said. Silk Road will be responsible for fundraising, he added. [...] "As Georgia becomes a player in the global economy, what's extremely important for Georgia is to have a brand like Trump coming to Georgia and showing the world that like Western development Georgia is coming to the market as well," Michael Cohen, the Trump Organisation's executive vice president, told Reuters. (‘’Realty Plus’’, May 8, 2012)
  20. Saakashvili’s critics tens of thousands of whom rallied in Tbilisi on Sunday call these plans the vanity projects of a megalomaniac. They are baffled as to who would live in the enormous Trump Tower, they have no idea where Lazika’s 500,000 putative residents would come from; and they see political machinations behind the transfer of parliament from Tbilisi. They also complain that Georgia’s existing infrastructure needs urgent renewal, as evinced by the collapse of dilapidated houses and the death of five people during flash floods in Tbilisi this month. (‘’Irish Times’’, May 29, 2012)
  21. ‘’’Q:’’’ So, in your mind, the idea of there being a foreign investment economy in Georgia is a fiction? ‘’’A:’’’ Absolute fiction. They cannot name a single investor. They brought in [U.S. real estate mogul Donald] Trump. You can research this yourself. Trump did not put any investments. He was actually paid from us. You can double-check this with this Donald Trump example. The government was saying, promoting in the States as well as in Georgia, that Trump is going to invest in Georgia.Well, no investment came from Trump. Two months they have been circulating this on TV. Not a single cent has been invested by Trump. It's a complete lie. Quite the contrary: Trump wanted to sell his brand, and we don't know what actually happened. One thing is evident: when the government controls business totally, not a single investment goes to that country. (Atlantic Online, August 28, 2012)
  22. President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia conceded defeat in parliamentary elections on Tuesday and declared himself an opposition politician, an extraordinary event in a country whose other post-Soviet leaders have left office under pressure from chanting crowds and the threat of civil war. [...] A coalition of opposition groups, called Georgian Dream, won the vote on Monday by 55.1 percent to 40.1 percent, the Central Election Commission reported on Wednesday morning, with about 96 percent of precincts reporting.[...] At his news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Ivanishvili said without hesitating that he planned to bring Georgia even closer to the United States and that he, like Mr. Saakashvili, hoped to steer the country toward NATO membership. However, he went on to inveigh against Mr. Saakashvili, deriding his trademark reforms, as well as recent projects like a plan to build a city, Lazika, on the Black Sea, and a joint construction venture with Donald J. Trump. (New York Times, October 3, 2012)
  23. The article is based on materials of "Transparency International" - [...] Namely, "National Movement" has received 117,000 lari from construction company "Modern House", per 60,000 lari - from Lado Gurgenidze (executive chairman of "Liberty Bank"), Temur Kokhadze (partner in subsidiary company of "Tegeta Motors"), Ekaterine Chkhaberidze (director general of "Goodwill"), Giorgi Ramishvili ("Silk Road Group"), Levan Pkhakadze ("Wissol Group"), Mikheil Svimonishvili ("Marneuli Food Plant"), Devi Ovashvili ("Interplast"), 55,000 lari (Sarke Economic Press Monitor, April 19, 2013)
  24. "Silk Road Group" had spread a statement today, saying "recently various media call "Trump Tower" among those governmental projects, which may be canceled by the new government". However, the company stresses, Batumi "Trump Tower" is not the state, but the private project, being implemented by "Silk Road Group" on the base of license agreement with Donald Trump. General plan and a draft for the "Trump Tower" project are already finished, the company said. Besides, so-called "model house" is installed on the territory, aiming to facilitate the sales process after development of the detailed design. (Sarke Daily News, October 12, 2012)
  25. Days after Donald Trump's election victory, a news agency in the former Soviet republic of Georgia reported that a long-stalled plan for a Trump-branded tower in a seaside Georgian resort town was now back on track. [...] Once scheduled to break ground in 2013, however, the project was halted by an economic downturn, a local land planning dispute and, some analysts said, the electoral defeat of then-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, a personal friend of Trump's who had championed the deal. In recent months, long-standing roadblocks to the project's groundbreaking resolved without government assistance, said ­Giorgi Rtskhiladze, a U.S.-based partner working with the local developer, the Silk Road Group, which paid Trump a licensing fee to put his name on the building. Rtskhiladze said the developers informed the Trump Organization in September or October that the project could now proceed. After Trump was elected, he said he emailed a congratulatory note to Trump's adult children and to a top Trump Organization executive - and reiterated that developers are prepared to move forward. He said Trump executives have indicated the project is being "reevaluated," as they discuss how his company will be operated after Trump takes office. "We're ready," Rtskhiladze said. "We're waiting for them to give us the green light." (Washington Post, November 25, 2016)
  26. Donald Trump’s company pulled out of a proposed $250-million tower project in the Georgian Black Sea resort town of Batumi, the latest effort by the U.S. president-elect to defuse charges that his global businesses will cause conflicts of interest once he enters the White House. The Trump Organization and its local partner in Georgia, the Silk Road Group, said in a joint e-mailed statement that they’ve decided “to formally end the development of Trump Tower, Batumi.” The project, a 47-story residential condominium, was announced in 2012 by Trump and then-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Silk Road said it will go ahead on its own with a luxury tower in the town, once dubbed the Monte Carlo of the Caucasus by Trump. [...] The Trump Tower in Batumi was widely assumed to have been shelved when Saakashvili lost power in 2013 and was later stripped of his Georgian citizenship. But Giorgi Ramishvili, Silk Road’s founder, said a month ago that it was still on track. Ramishvili, contacted by phone today, didn’t elaborate on why it’s been abandoned now, and also declined to comment on whether he’ll be attending Trump’s inauguration. (Bloomberg News, January 4, 2017)
  27. Georgia will no longer require visas for Russian visitors as it tries to attract more foreign investment, President Mikheil Saakashvili said Tuesday in a rare gesture of good will between the two countries, former Soviet republics that fought a brief war in 2008. Russia has refused to have any contact with Mr. Saakashvili since its military crushed an assault by Georgian forces on the Russian-backed rebel region of South Ossetia. Mr. Saakashvili said Tbilisi now wanted to abolish visas to send a signal to Russian business executives and tourists that Georgia would welcome them. "We want to give peace a chance," he said in Parliament during an annual address to the nation. (New York Times, February 29, 2012)