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Post-election, Trump closed companies tied to Saudi Arabia

Washington: President-elect Donald Trump shut down some of his companies in the days after the election, including four that appeared connected to a possible Saudi Arabia business venture, according to corporate registrations in Delaware.

News of the move comes days before Trump is expected to describe changes he is making to his businesses to avoid potential conflicts of interest as the US president.

The Trump Organisation’s general counsel, Alan Garten, described shutting down the four companies as routine “housecleaning,” and said there is no existing Trump business venture in Saudi Arabia.

The four Saudi-related companies were among at least nine companies that Trump filed paperwork to dissolve or cancel since the election.

The recent dissolutions represent a fraction of Trump’s global network of companies the breadth of which has raised conflict-of-interest concerns about whether Trump can balance being an international businessman while conducting the nation’s business abroad as president.

Trump’s holdings include more than 500 private companies, some of which he creates for prospective deals. The complex and changing structure makes it difficult for Americans to track his financial interests and partners. Trump has disclosed the names and some details about companies in public filings.

But a complete picture of Trump’s finances is unclear, given that he has broken with decades of presidential precedent by not releasing his tax returns.

Next week, Trump said, he plans to announce how he will separate himself from his business interests as president. Trump operates branded hotels and resorts in a handful of countries around the world, though he and his executives have talked about expanding more globally.

Last year, Ivanka Trump singled out the Middle East and Saudi Arabia as potential locations.

During the campaign, he created eight companies that included Jeddah, a major Saudi city, in their formal names. Four of those companies were shut down months after they were created. The other four were dissolved about one week after the election.

For years, Trump has routinely named corporate entities after the projects to which they were connected. Companies set up as part of licensing or management deals in Indonesia and India bear the names of the cities where those projects are located. The same is true for some of his companies connected to properties and business ventures in the United States.

Garten said yesterday that the dissolution of the companies, which occurred last month, was part of a periodic process to shed corporate entities that were no longer needed or were set up for ventures that did not materialize. Garten said he did not know why the companies were set up last year or whether they involved business ventures in Saudi Arabia that didn’t happen.