Donald Trump cancels Trump Tower project in Georgia, Associated Press says

  • Donald Trump and Giorgi Ramishvili of Georgia's Silk Road Group shake hands as they agree to construct Trump Tower Batumi in April 2012. Ex-President Saakashvili in the background. Photo by Todd Heisler, 17 Dec 2016 - 13:25, Tbilisi,Georgia

President-elect of the United States (US) Donald Trump is moving to cancel its Trump Tower project in Georgia, international media report.

The Associated Press (AP) reported Trump Organisation has cancelled a licensing deal for a hotel in Azerbaijan and was taking steps to do the same for a project in Georgia.

AP believed this move was "part of recent efforts by the president-elect to extricate his business from thorny relationships five weeks before he takes office”.

Following AP, several other international media outlets published articles about Trump cancelling his business deals in Georgia and Azerbaijan.

Reports said both projects either involved or were associated with people tied to politics or partnerships that could have raised problems once Trump becomes president.

AP said the moves by Trump's company followed a cancellation earlier this week of a licensing deal for a hotel in Brazil. 

The Trump Organisation also recently shut down four companies registered in Delaware, US, that had no business operations but appeared to be tied to Saudi Arabia, possibly vehicles for future projects in the country.

On Friday Trump Organisation lawyer Alan Garten said developers in the projects in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Brazil had failed to meet the terms of licensing deals. He described the moves to cancel the agreement as "normal housekeeping" and not part of a strategy to reduce potential conflicts of interests.

He said Trump Organisation had no moves underway to cancel any other overseas ventures.

AP reported that government ethics experts had urged Trump to sell his vast holdings and hand the cash to someone with no ties to the president-elect to invest in a way unknown to him, following the practice of most-recent presidents. 

They said ridding himself of his ownership stake in his business, not just managerial control, was the only way to assure he would not put private profit ahead of the public interest in shaping tax, regulatory and foreign policies.

Trump has resisted such a clear break,” AP reported.
He has tweeted that he would leave managerial control of his business to his two adult sons and some executives. He said he will hold a news conference next month to discuss details.”

Meanwhile Trump’s project in Georgia was for a tower in the Black Sea resort town of Batumi. Trump Organisation lawyer Garten said the president-elect's company sent a "default notice" earlier this month to the developer because it had not lived up to terms of the licensing deal.

Garten described the move as typically a first step to cancelling a deal.

Meanwhile last month Trump's development partner in Georgia said that the long-stalled project would go ahead, and that "talks are on."