US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made millions of dollars from his deals with Saudi Arabia, which included leasing an apartment to former al-Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden’s half-brother, a new report shows.
Saudis paid Trump $4.5 million in June 2001, and bought the 45th floor of the real estate mogul’s Trump World Tower in Manhattan, The New York Daily News reported on Sunday, citing a city Finance Department spokeswoman.
The Saudi regime later on used the five-apartment floor as part of the Saudi Mission to the United Nations in 2008, the report noted. The daily estimated that with a yearly common charge of $85,585 for building services, Trump may have been paid at least $5.7 million by Saudis since 2001– to those common charges remain the same.
Court documents by Housing International, a company which specialized in housing for diplomats, show that the company had sued Trump in 2001, seeking broker’s fee for the deal.
Rebecca Ocampo, who allegedly helped mediated the deal, said that the deal was about “access” to the Middle East’s lucrative market.
The report also revealed that Osama bin Laden’s half-brother, Shafiq, had lived in Trump Tower, using an $8,500 security deposit to spend four months in one of the skyscraper’s apartments in 1986.
Shafiq bin Laden had met with former US president George W. Bush on September 11, 2001, but the alleged business meeting was cut short due to the 9/11 attacks.
The revelations, if true, would further confuse analysts and voters about Trump’s dealings with Saudi Arabia. Trump has recently told Fox News that he would not receive money from Saudis; a stark U-turn from his last year claims that he and Saudis get along “great.”
“Saudi Arabia — and I get along great with all of them. They buy apartments from me,” Trump said in Mobile, Alabama. “They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much,” he added. This also goes against the nature of Trump’s attacks against his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for accepting donations from the Kingdom.
“Crooked Hillary says we must call on Saudi Arabia and other countries to stop funding hate,” Trump said in a June Facebook post. “I am calling on her to immediately return the $25 million plus she got from them for the Clinton Foundation!”
Founded in 2001 by former President Bill Clinton, the foundation claims it is working to solve a range of issues from health and wellness to gender inequality across the world.
However, the Clintons have come under bipartisan fire for the organizations foreign funding and the true nature of its activities over the past years. Saudi Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman said in mid-July that Riyadh had funded as much as 20 percent of the money that Clinton has spent to court voters.