“Donald Trump’s mini me is following in his own treacherous footsteps. Not only does Anthony Scaramucci stand to make millions from a shady Chinese investor while working in the White House – with overt approval from Trump’s administration – he’s ducking the law by holding onto his conflicts of interest.
“Trump and his swampy administration only care about one thing: Profiting from the White House at the expense of the American people.” — Kevin McAlister, American Bridge spokesperson
The White House’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, has some significant loose ends to tie up related to his personal business interests. Like Scaramucci, President Donald Trump came into office with substantial personal wealth; instead of fully divesting or putting his assets in a blind trust, Trump handed the Trump Organization over to his two sons and placed his business in a trust that only he can access and pull money from at any time, without disclosing it to the public.
Scaramucci has yet to fully divest from his hedge fund, SkyBridge Capital, as he waits for the sale of the fund to Chinese investment conglomerate HNA Group to officially close. He initially struck up the deal to sell SkyBridge in January, as he was preparing to taking on a job in the White House as assistant to the president in the Office of Public Liaison, a role that was eventually filled by Omarosa Manigault, but not before Scaramucci told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he had secured the job. At Davos, Scaramucci, still at SkyBridge Captial at the time, met with the head of a Russian sovereign wealth fund that was sanctioned by the U.S. in 2015.
Ultimately, Scaramucci’s job at the White House fell through after media reports about concerns over the Sky Bridge buyers. HNA Group is one of several Chinese firms that have recently spent billions on overseas acquisitions motivated by debt, intricate deal structures and dubious ownerships. On Monday, HNA Group revealed the extent of their ownership, which concerns some world governments.
Now that Scaramucci, the former Goldman Sachs executive, has officially taken a position in the White House, many ethics experts are waiting for him to fully divest his business interests. The deal with HNA Group was expected to close in June, but Scaramucci is facing one final hurdle: the deal is still pending regulatory approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), chaired by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs executive. CFIUS reviews acquisitions by foreign entities to make sure there are no national security risks involved with accepting the deal. Review of the SkyBridge deal is likely taking longer than expected because deals made with countries not considered allies of the United States are likely to produce more scrutiny under CFIUS. A representative for SkyBridge said they are “confident” the sale will close this summer.
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