Meet Donald Trump’s Saudi Arabian Business Partners

With Donald Trump headed on his first foreign trip, American Bridge is releasing a face book of Donald Trump’s business partners and guide to looming conflicts of interest in each of the countries he visits beginning with Saudi Arabia.  The investigative guide for reporters traveling with the President comes after the Wall Street Journal reported on another controversial Trump financial deal centering around Russian money being funneled to a Trump project in Toronto through various middle-men. 

Sultan Of Brunei Bolkiah | Billionaire Kwek Leng Beng | Arms Dealer Adnan M. Khashoggi | Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal

1987: Trump Purchased His Yacht From Saudi Arabian Arms Broker Adnan Khashoggi

1987-1990: “Trump Princess” Yacht, Purchased For $29 Million And Sold For $110 Million

Trump Directly Bought The Yacht From The Sultan Of Brunei, Who Had Secured It As Collateral For A Multimillion-Dollar Loan To The Saudi Arabian Entrepreneur, Adnan M. Khashoggi. According to the New York Times, “In one of eight double suites, he pressed a button that slowly spun a worked metal column. ‘This is a good sculpture, which you want, of course,’ he said. ‘But behind it is the TV and stereo and VCR, which you want but don’t want to see.’ Mr. Trump bought the yacht six months ago from the Sultan of Brunei, who had secured it as collateral for a multimillion-dollar loan to the Saudi Arabian entrepreneur, Adnan M. Khashoggi. After a six-month $10-million refitting in the Netherlands, the Trump Princess entered New York Harbor for the first time yesterday, at least in her present incarnation.” [New York Times, 7/5/88]

  • 1987: Adnan Khashoggi Was A Saudi Arms Broker. According to Newsweek, “The ambition may be pure ‘80s, but the Trump lifestyle is roaring ‘20s. He owns three homes, and the word opulent does them no justice: 110 rooms at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, the former mansion of cereal heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post; a huge triplex apartment in Trump Tower, the Fifth Avenue skyscraper he built four years ago, and a 10-acre, 45-room weekend estate in Greenwich, Conn. He also owns a Boeing 727, the Darth Vader helicopter, and now he’s negotiating to buy a yacht owned by Saudi arms broker Adnan Khashoggi that’s about six times the size of the average Manhattan apartment. (‘Not many people life a life like Khashoggi,’ he says, and then adds with a grain, ‘but I’m coming damn close.’)” [Newsweek, 9/28/87]

1995: Trump Sold The Plaza Hotel To Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal And Singapore Company CDL Hotels  

January 1995: Trump Began Talking With Singapore-Based CDL Hotels About Purchasing Ownership Stake In Plaza Hotel

Trump Entered Into Talks With Singapore Based Real Estate Company To Recapitalize Plaza Hotel. According to The Wall Street Journal Europe, “Property developer Donald Trump said he is in talks with a Singapore-based real-estate company and Citicorp about recapitalizing New York’s Plaza Hotel. CDL Hotels, a property company controlled by the Kwek family, is negotiating with Mr. Trump and his lenders about paying down a portion of Mr. Trump’s $300 million mortgage on the landmark New York hotel in exchange for an ownership stake, according to a person familiar with the discussions.” [Wall Street Journal Europe, 1/11/95]

Singaporean Billionaire Kwek Leng Beng And Saudi Prince Walid bin Talal Purchased Controlling Stake In Plaza Hotel

1995: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Singapore’s CDL Hotels Bought Controlling Stake In Trump’s Plaza Hotel. According to Daily News, “A Saudi prince and Singapore’s CDL Hotels have bought a controlling stake in Donald Trump’s Plaza hotel. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, 37, nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, and CDL Hotels International Limited joined in a strategic partnership ‘to make the hotel the finest in the world,’ according to a statement released by Trump. The deal, announced Monday in Singapore, capped months of speculation about the fate of The Plaza, one of the city’s most prestigious addresses.” [Daily News, 4/12/95]

  • New Investors Agreed To Pay Down Portion Of $300 Million Mortgage Debt Within Three Years, Guarantee Interest Payments. According to Daily News, “Under the agreement, which values the landmark at $ 325 million, the new investors have agreed to invest some $ 28 million to renovate the hotel over two years. They also must pay down a portion of the $ 300 million mortgage debt within three years, the statement said. The investors will ‘also guarantee payment of interest on the mortgage debt and payment of a preferred return to the bank-controlled entities.’” [Daily News, 4/12/95]

  • 1988: Citibank Had Loaned Trump $425 Billion To Buy Plaza Hotel. In his book TrumpNation, Timothy L. O’Brien wrote, ‘As bankers continued to dismantle Donald’s empire, he hoped to retain control of the Plaza Hotel, the jewel at 59th and Fifth that he bought in 1988, and Mar-a-Lago, his Palm Beach manse. But Citibank, which loaned Donald the $425 million he used to buy the Plaza for $407.5 million, took control of the hotel and sold it for $325 million in 1995.’ [TrumpNation, 1/1/05]

Trump Lost Majority Stake And Control Of The Plaza In Exchange For Debt Forgiveness From Prince Walid bin Talal And CDL

1995: Trump Lost His 51 Percent Control Of Plaza While Bank Creditors Forgave $125 Million Of His Debt. According to The New York Times, “Under the agreement announced yesterday, Mr. Trump will lose his 51 percent control of the Plaza hotel, but the Prince and CDL will pay part, or all, of Mr. Trump’s $300 million mortgage on the hotel, guarantee interest payments on Mr. Trump’s Plaza debt and spend $28 million to renovate part of the hotel, turning some top floors into expensive condominiums. Bank creditors, meanwhile, will forgive $125 million of Mr. Trump’s debt.” [New York Times, 4/12/95]

  • No Money Went From Deal To Trump. According to The New York Times, “None of the money from the deal will go to Mr. Trump, who acquired the hotel for about $400 million in 1988. Rather, it will go to banks in the United States that had lent money to Mr. Trump and to banks in Japan that hold a mortgage on the hotel property.” [New York Times, 4/12/95]

Trump Said He Was Proud Of The Sale

Trump: “I Was Proud Of The Plaza Because I Fixed It. When I Sold The Plaza, I Was Able Because They Had Somebody, One Of The Banks Had A Very Big Client From The Middle East That They Wanted To Make Very Happy.” According to the Washington Post, “Donald Trump: I used to call it free money, and that was a time — and there were great tax benefits to that also, which people don’t understand, but there were tremendous tax benefits. Tremendous, beyond tremendous. And so buying The Plaza — and I was proud of The Plaza because I fixed it. When I sold The Plaza, I was able because they had somebody, one of the banks had a very big client from the Middle East that they wanted to make very happy. And because of the fact that I agreed to do it because — I could have held up that sale for years. I could’ve held it up very easily for years. And because of the fact that they were so anxious to satisfy that very big Middle Eastern client, I got out of tremendous obligations. I mean, The Plaza was actually a great deal for all of the wrong reasons but it turned out to be a phenomenal deal for me because, in other words, they wanted that deal to go through very quickly. I could’ve held them up for years. By allowing that deal to go through and for making it easy for the banks, I got out of tremendous other obligations.” [Washington Post, 5/18/16]