More than 150 financial institutions hold debt from President-elect Donald Trump’s businesses or businesses in which he is at least a 30 percent stakeholder, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
That amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars in potential conflicts of interest as Trump prepares to begin his presidency.
When Trump submitted a required financial disclosure form with the Federal Election Commission in May 2015, he listed 16 loans, collectively worth $315 million in debt, that his businesses had received from 10 companies, according to the newspaper.
The Journal’s analysis goes beyond those loans and includes debt held by companies in which Trump is at least a 30 percent stakeholder, including, for example, the companies which control 1290 Avenue of the Americas.
That building, owned by a partnership of companies that is 30 percent owned by Trump, received $950 million in loans in 2012 from UBS Group AG, Bank of China, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank, according to the report.
Deutsche Bank, a German institution, is currently under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department for its equity trading with wealthy Russian clients.
In the case of Goldman Sachs, the bank now counts several its former employees among the highest levels of the incoming Trump administration, including former bank president Gary Cohn, who was appointed director of Trump’s National Economic Council.
But the conflicts of interest that Trump’s debt presents go much deeper than that, experts told the Journal.
“The problem with any of this debt is if something goes wrong, and if there is a situation where the president is suddenly personally beholden or vulnerable to threats from the lenders,” former Federal Election Commission Chairman Trevor Potter told the publication.
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