Paul Liberatore

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FBI investigating Ivanka Trump's dealings and financing of Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver

The FBI is investigating Ivanka Trump’s business dealings and the financing of Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver, CNN is reporting.

“In the case of Vancouver, it’s not clear why investigators are examining this particular deal,” stated the American news network, which cited unnamed sources.

“The timing of the deal — as one of the few Trump-branded properties to open since Trump took office — could be of interest. The flow of foreign money, either from the developer or international condo buyers, could also be sparking scrutiny,” reported CNN.

Joo Kim Tiah, who is CEO of Kuala Lumpur-based TA Global and its Vancouver subsidiary Holborn Group, which constructed and owns the hotel and condo tower on West Georgia Street in downtown Vancouver, did not immediately return calls to his cellphone.

The investigation comes as the first daughter is trying to obtain full security clearance in her role as adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump. Her husband, Jared Kushner, recently had his security clearance level downgraded. Thursday, it was reveal he is under scrutiny after it emerged his family company secured more than $500 million in loans after financial executives met with him at the White House. 


The $360-million tower was unveiled exactly this week one year ago with Trump brothers Eric and Donald Jr. arriving in Vancouver to oversee opening ceremonies along with Tiah’s Malaysia-based businessman father, Tiah Thee Kian.

At the time, Ivanka Trump’s involvement in the Vancouver property was described as a hands-on role in its interior design. There is a spa in the property that bears her name. 

She did not attend the opening in Vancouver, having taken a leave of absence from the Trump Organization as its executive vice-president, real estate development and acquisitions, a month and a half earlier.

The Vancouver tower was one of the first of the family’s non-U.S. properties to open after Trump became president, sparking interest because President Trump had handed over the running of his empire to his family members, but did not divest himself of his ownership.

At the time, American reporters were looking into Trump’s dealings with Russia and ownership of individual units at Trump properties around the world.

Using assessment and land title records, Postmedia published an extensive look at a mix of well-heeled buyers in Vancouver, including U.S. tech billionaires as well as successful, local entrepreneurs, who paid to snap up condo units at the Trump property.

“The Vancouver development … highlights the potential for conflict for a sitting president who has refused to sever ties with his still-expanding business empire,” reported the Financial Times of London after Postmedia’s story.

“Like some of Mr. Trump’s other properties, the Vancouver development raises the risk of violating the emoluments clause in the U.S. Constitution prohibiting elected officials from receiving benefits from foreign governments. The hotel also invites scrutiny of his business partners such as the elder Mr. Tiah, who was convicted of providing a false report to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.”

The Trump Organization provides branding and manages the property, but doesn’t have an ownership stake. It does, however, charge licensing fees and offers “incentives” if certain financial targets are reached, according to the FT, which reported that sales from the Trump Vancouver property represented almost 60 per cent of TA Global’s profits in 2015.


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