(McClatchy) Weeks before his inauguration, Donald Trump was allied with a company in the former Soviet republic of Georgia that planned to build a 47-story luxury tower in the Black Sea resort of Batumi.
The tower, nixed in early January, was to bear Trump’s name – in exchange for which he would receive royalties, as he does from similar arrangements around the world.
But the company, Silk Road Group, had business ties and relationships that could have been problematic for a sitting U.S. president. Over the years it had oil trading and transport deals with companies in both Russia and Iran, countries currently facing varying degrees of U.S. and European financial sanctions. […]
“The whole aesthetic of Trump goes very well with Central Asia — the emphasis on ‘the personal is political,’ the use of personal connections … this kind of murky world of transnational relations in real estate, relatively unregulated and unmonitored,” said Alexander Cooley, director of a Columbia University institute on Russia and Eurasia and author of a new book called Dictators Without Borders.
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