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Trump closes companies tied to Saudi Arabia

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- President-elect Donald Trump shut down some of his companies in the days after the election, including four that appeared connected to a possible Saudi Arabia business venture, according to corporate registrations in Delaware.

News of the move comes days before Trump was expected to describe changes he is making to his businesses to avoid potential conflicts of interest as the U.S. president.

The Trump Organization's general counsel, Alan Garten, described shutting down the four companies as routine "housecleaning," and said there was no existing Trump business venture in Saudi Arabia. The four Saudi-related companies were among at least nine companies that Trump filed paperwork to dissolve or cancel since the election.

The recent dissolutions represent a fraction of Trump's global network of companies -- the breadth of which has raised conflict-of-interest concerns about whether Trump can balance being an international businessman while conducting the nation's business abroad as president.

Trump's holdings include more than 500 private companies, some of which he creates for prospective deals. The complex and changing structure makes it difficult for Americans to track his financial interests and partners. Trump has disclosed the names and some details about companies in public filings. But a complete picture of Trump's finances is unclear, given that he broke with decades of presidential precedent by not releasing his tax returns during the campaign.

Next week Trump said he plans to announce how he will separate himself from his business interests once he's president. Trump operates branded hotels and resorts in a handful of countries around the world, though he and his executives have talked about expanding more globally. Last year, Ivanka Trump singled out the Middle East and Saudi Arabia as potential locations.

During the campaign, he created eight companies that included Jeddah, a major Saudi city, in their formal names.

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