A company controlled by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reportedly did business with Cuba while Fidel Castro was president despite U.S. policy that prohibited such action.
Newsweek reported Thursday Trump’s Hotel & Casinos funneled at least $68,000 through a charity to the consulting firm Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. in 1998 despite U.S. foreign policy that prohibited such expenditures without government approval. At the time, the government generally restricted such permission to humanitarian undertakings. The story was based on interviews with former Trump executives, documents and court records.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway acknowledged on “The View” the funds were spent.
“Read the entire story. It starts out with a screaming headline, as it usually does, that he did business in Cuba. And it turns out that he decided not to invest there. They paid money, as I understand, in 1998,” Conway said, apparently acknowledging Trump was in violation of U.S. policy.
Newsweek said neither Trump nor Seven Arrows head Richard Fields responded to requests for comment.
“Today we learned about his efforts to do business in Cuba which appear to violate U.S. law, certainly flout American foreign policy, and he has consistently misled people in responding to questions about whether he was attempting to do business in Cuba,” Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton told reporters aboard her campaign plane.
She said the report exposes a pattern of obfuscation by Trump regarding his business dealings, adding it makes it that much more important for the real estate mogul release his tax returns, something he has so far declined to do because he’s under government audit. Clinton has been releasing her returns for decades.
Even though the alleged Cuban contacts occurred more than five years ago, the statute of limitations would not apply if a conspiracy was involved. Such a conspiracy could leave Trump open to criminal charges, the Inquisitr noted.
Bloomberg Businessweek reported in July Trump executives scouted potential golf course sites in Cuba in 2012 and 2013.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who lost the Republican nomination to Trump, called the report “troubling,” adding he would reserve judgment until all facts have been revealed.
Trump has said he would reverse President Barack Obama’s diplomatic overtures to the communist island; Clinton, on the other hand, has urged that the embargo be lifted.
Cuban-Americans make up a large voting bloc in Florida and generally lean Republican. They remain against lifting sanctions on Cuba.
The Miami Herald reported Mauricio Claver Carone, head of the pro-embargo U.S.-Cuba Democracy PAC, denied Trump broke any laws, noting the money went to the consulting firm.
Trump in a 1999 op-ed piece in the Miami Herald wrote he had rejected partnerships with foreign firms that would have allowed him to skirt the U.S. embargo.