Trump’s Dual Roles Collide With Openings in Dubai and Vancouver
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The well-heeled guests strolled up red carpeted steps and through lines of smiling young women to reach the newest outpost in President Donald Trump’s international business empire.
At the Saturday night opening of the clubhouse of the Trump International Golf Club, Dubai, guests munched on mini chicken burgers and sipped fizzy lemonade while Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., the president’s adult sons, lauded the ruler of Dubai and their business partner, Hussain Sajwani.
周六晚上，在迪拜特朗普国际高尔夫俱乐部(Trump International Golf Club)的开业典礼上，宾客们享用迷你鸡肉汉堡，喝着起泡柠檬水，总统的两个成年儿子埃里克·特朗普(Eric Trump)和小唐纳德·特朗普(Donald Trump Jr.)赞美了迪拜王储以及他们的商业伙伴侯赛因·沙瓦尼(Hussain Sajwani)。
Sajwani, a billionaire businessman who, like Trump, built his wealth through real estate, told the crowd that working with the Trumps “was and continues to be a pleasure.”
On the other side of the world, in Vancouver, British Columbia, preparations continued for another ribbon-cutting, on Feb. 28, at a new Trump hotel and condo project there, funded by Malaysian tycoon Tiah Thee Kian and his son, Tiah Joo Kim.
2月28日，在世界另一端的不列颠哥伦比亚省温哥华市，一个新的特朗普酒店和公寓项目的剪彩仪式准备工作正在进行中。这个项目由马来西亚大亨程铁建(Tony Tiah Thee Kian)和儿子程如锦(Tiah Joo Kim)出资。
The two projects, the first to open since Trump became president, are among the dozen international business deals from his former life still moving forward — from India to Indonesia, Uruguay to the Dominican Republic. None of them are “new deals,” as defined by the family, as they were well underway before the election.
A Web of Complications
Sajwani and Tiah share traits common among Trump’s partners around the world, including in Indonesia and the Philippines. They are brash, wealthy developers whose families have personal ties to Trump or to his children.
But the projects in which the two men are involved highlight the complications created when the U.S. president also owns a global real estate company.
Condominium units in the Vancouver building, the Trump International Hotel & Tower, have been purchased by affluent buyers, including a family that runs a Hong Kong machinery company majority-owned by a Chinese state-owned enterprise, according to real estate and corporate records. The Trump Organization is managing only the hotel, in exchange for a fee.
温哥华特朗普国际酒店和大厦(Trump International Hotel & Tower)的公寓已经被很多富人买走，包括一个经营香港一家机械公司的家族。根据地产和公司记录，该公司由一个中国国企控股。特朗普集团(The Trump Organization)仅经营酒店部分，赚取管理费。
And Sajwani has contracted extensively with the U.S. military and spoken of entering the U.S. real estate market — moves that could be easier with a friend in the White House.
Eric Trump, who with his older brother helps run the Trump Organization now that their father is president, said before the Dubai event that the company was not the owner of either development, but only collected a small share of the revenues, and that it did not control who bought the units in Vancouver or the membership list at the golf course in Dubai.
Addressing the guests Saturday, Eric Trump praised his family’s partnership with Sajwani.
“It is not every day that you have a partner that is also a great friend,” he said. “Hussain, thank you so much for your love, your friendship.”
Donald Trump Jr. praised Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, saying it was his vision for the country that allowed such projects to succeed.
小唐纳德·特朗普赞扬了迪拜王储谢赫穆罕默德·本·拉希德·阿勒马克图姆(Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum)，称这些项目的成功得益于阿勒马克图姆对这个国家的远见。
“It’s a great example of what can be built here and what will continue to be built in the years to come,” he said.
Golf Course in the Desert
A few years ago, Trump, then a real estate tycoon, visited what would turn out to be his first project to open after he became president and his first in the Arab world.
The Trump International Golf Club Dubai was to form the centerpiece of a luxurious collection of upscale homes, and Trump wanted to check the details.
“We walked through the golf course and he said: ‘You see that tree; move it 10 feet there. That tree is too small; make it bigger,'” recalled Niall McLoughlin, a senior vice president at Damac Properties, which owns the project. “His attention to detail is tremendous.”
“我们走过高尔夫球场，他说：‘你看那棵树，把它往那儿挪10英尺。那棵树太小了，弄大点，’”达马克房地产公司(Damac Properties)的高级副总裁尼尔·麦克洛克林(Niall McLoughlin)回忆说。该项目归该公司所有。“他非常关注细节。”
The Trump Organization had been brought in to operate the golf course by Damac, whose chairman, Sajwani, had known Trump for years.
Questions swirled about the commitment of Sajwani, a Muslim in a predominantly Muslim country, to the Trump brand in 2015, after Trump said that if elected, he would impose a ban on Muslims entering the United States.
A few days later, billboards near the course in Dubai showing Trump swinging a golf club and his daughter Ivanka holding a handbag were temporarily taken down, as was Trump’s name, spelled out in gold letters on a wall near the entrance.
McLoughlin, of Damac, said in an interview in November that the changes had been routine and unrelated to Trump’s statements.
“It was a purely unfortunate coincidence,” he said. “We are an apolitical organization.”
There was no overt mention of Trump at the clubhouse opening Saturday, but his name was omnipresent, on flags flying around the golf course and on hats, shirts, visors and balls for sale in the pro shop.
A Tower in Vancouver
Later this month, Trump’s sons are scheduled to preside over another grand opening, this time of the Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver, which was developed by the Holborn Group, run by Tiah Joo Kim, 37.
Tiah formed the partnership with the Trump family and spearheaded the development of the residence and hotel, his first major project, by first making a pitch first to Donald Jr., Eric and Ivanka. Their father eventually signed off on the deal.
Tiah’s father, Tiah Thee Kian, made his fortune in the Malaysian stock market in the 1980s. But in the late 1990s, he was accused of violating securities law and eventually paid a fine of about $900,000. At the time, he was said to be a supporter of Anwar Ibrahim, then deputy prime minister, who had challenged the leadership of Mahathir Mohamad, the prime minister. Anwar was later imprisoned on sodomy charges, a case widely seen as politically motivated.
20世纪80年代，程如锦的父亲程铁建在马来西亚股市发了财。但在90年代末，他被指控违反证券法，最终支付了约90万美元罚款。据说当时他是时任副总理安瓦尔·易卜拉欣(Anwar Ibrahim)的支持者，后者质疑过总理马哈蒂尔·穆罕默德(Mahathir Mohamad)的领导权。安瓦尔后来因鸡奸罪入狱，该案被普遍认为是政治斗争的结果。
In a country that runs on political patronage, one where many decisions are made behind the scenes, the elder Tiah’s political alliance with Anwar may have contributed to his legal setbacks. Political analysts and insiders say he has not been involved in politics since that time and has kept a low profile.
The company’s most profitable venture is the Trump development in Vancouver, the younger Tiah said, adding that he assiduously avoided any political entanglements. When he reached an agreement with Trump in 2012, he never foresaw that Trump would have a political career.
The Vancouver project includes 217 residential units. All were sold before the election except for the three penthouses, which have not been put on the market. No buyer has sought to back out, Tiah said.
The Trump name represents quality,” said Bill Streeper, mayor of the Northern Rockies municipality in British Columbia and a major real estate developer, who bought a unit in the tower on the 55th floor in 2013, long before Trump won the Republican nomination.
Trump’s election victory has brought a great deal of attention, good and bad, to the hotel, the younger Tiah said. There have been anti-Trump protests, but the hotel has also received plenty of free publicity.
On a recent visit to the hotel’s Champagne bar, Brittany Dacosta, 26, was having a drink with her sister. She said it was her second time at Trump Vancouver in the past week. “This place is very controversial, so it kind of made us want to come here more,” she said. “I know it sounds bad, but Trump is glamorous.”
前不久，26岁的布里塔妮· 达科斯塔(Brittany Dacosta)和姐妹在该酒店的香槟酒吧喝酒。她说，这是她在过去的一周里第二次来到温哥华特朗普酒店。“这个地方很有争议，所以有点让我们更想来这儿，”她说，“我知道这听起来很糟，但特朗普很有魅力。”
Tiah said he tried to steer a middle course and encourage tolerance.
“The American people have chosen,” he said, “so let’s respect their decision and give him a chance.”