Trump Organization Signs Up to Put Its Brand on a New Saudi Tower

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The Trump Organization has signed a new deal with a Saudi real estate company to build a residential high-rise tower in the city of Jeddah, extending the family’s close ties with the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has become one of the few reliable sources of growth for the Trump family’s business operations, as new real estate deals in the United States have slowed or stopped since the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the Capitol and since former President Donald J. Trump left the White House.

This new deal is like other international projects the Trump family has signed over the past decade. It offers the family’s name and brand to a well-financed developer that will build the project and sell luxury resident units, it hopes at a premium, based on the marketability of the former president’s perceived star power. Other projects include a resort complex in Oman and Saudi-backed golf tournaments at Trump courses in recent years.

“We are delighted to strengthen our ongoing relationship with the Trump Organization and expand our portfolio by delivering premium properties to redefine Saudi Arabia’s high-growth real estate market,” Ziad El Chaar, the chief executive of the real estate firm, Dar Global, said in a statement Monday.

The target market, Mr. El Chaar said, will be international investors and vacationers looking to buy real estate in Jeddah.

Dar Global, based in London, is a subsidiary of Dar Al Arkan, one of the largest private real estate companies in Saudi Arabia, with a growing portfolio of projects in luxury markets around the world. The company typically teams up with well-known brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Lamborghini as part of its pitch to deep-pocketed buyers.

Before Mr. Trump was elected president in 2016, his organization had planned to build a tower in the Middle East, but the deal was shelved, along with other development plans after Mr. Trump was elected and his family promised not to sign new international deals while he was in the White House.

These branding deals have become a major source of new income for the Trump family, as the Trump Organization is typically paid several million dollars upon the signing of the deals and then gets a cut of the sales of luxury apartments or condos.

“We are thrilled to expand our footprint in the Middle East,” Eric Trump said in a statement Monday.

The project in Oman includes a Trump-branded golf course and hotel as well as Trump villas, in a development that Dar Global is building on land owned by the government of Oman on a cliff overlooking the Gulf of Oman. That one deal alone earned the Trump family at least $5 million, even before the construction started last year, financial disclosure documents show.

Last year, a team of sales agents invoked Mr. Trump’s name to help sell luxury villas at prices of up to $13 million, mostly targeting superrich buyers from around the world, including from Russia, Iran and India.

Another major source of new revenue for the Trump family has been LIV Golf, the professional league backed by the Saudi sovereign wealth fund. The fund paid the Trump family to host one of its tournaments at the Trump National Doral near Miami earlier this year.

Mr. Trump’s two oldest sons — Eric and Don Jr. — had expressed frustration at the previous promise to do no new international deals, and it is unclear if they will continue to seek them if Mr. Trump returns to the White House.

The Saudi sovereign wealth fund is also the primary investor in the investment firm that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, set up after he left his post as a White House adviser to Mr. Trump.

These deals have raised allegations of conflicts of interest, particularly the deals directly involving foreign government entities, as the foreign players may be offering the Trump family special terms in exchange for potential favored treatment from Mr. Trump if he is back in power.

“If he were to become president again, this would be a profound conflict of interest,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, which has tracked the Trump family’s business deals when he was in office.

While Dar Al Arkan is technically a private company, traded on the Saudi stock exchange, it relies in part on Saudi government contracts to sustain its business.

Vivian Nereim contributed reporting.



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