By TN Ashok
Washington, Dec 7 (IANS): Former US President Donald Trump did not disclose publicly he got a loan of $19.8 million from Daewoo, a company with ties to North Korea, which he should have reported in his public financial disclosures.
The loan from Daewoo could have represented a conflict of interests, media reports said.
Trump failed to disclose a $19.8 million loan from a company with historical ties to North Korea, while he was the US president, according to a new media report which said that documents obtained by the New York attorney general, and reported by Forbes, on Sunday indicate a previously unreported loan owed by Trump to Daewoo, the South Korean conglomerate.
Daewoo was the only South Korean company allowed to operate a business in North Korea during the mid-1990s, reports said.
Trump's relationship with Daewoo is at least 25 years old.
At one point, Daewoo partnered with Trump on a development project near the UN headquarters in New York City, Trump World Tower.
Trump and Daewoo continued to do business together, including using Trump's name on six South Korea-based properties from 1999 to 2007, an investigation by the business magazine Forbes revealed.
The debt is a consequence of the agreement Trump struck to share some of his licensing fees with Daewoo.
The $19.8 million balance remained the same from 2011 to 2016.
Even five months into his presidency since his election as President in 2016, the balance dropped to only $4.3 million, according to paperwork that showcased Trump's finances as of June 30, 2017.
"Daewoo was bought out of its position on July 5, 2017," the documents said, without disclosing who satisfied the debt as per the investigation.
The loan is visible on the Trump Organization's internal documents but it was not revealed on the former President's public financial disclosure reports.
Under the US disclosure laws, Trump was required to submit the documents to federal officials during his presidential campaign and after he became president, media reports said.
In 2016, Trump's CFO Allen Weisselberg, now disgraced in Trump's tax avoidance and fraudulent loans case, had said that Trump had disclosed all debts related to companies that Trump had a 100 per cent stake in.
Despite the apparent gap in disclosures, Trump may not have violated any laws, though the existence of the debt still could have posed a conflict of interest.
As president Trump had talked about his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, in a very brash manner saying that: "He likes me, I like him. We get along" and that "we fell in love". The two leaders met in person, but the relationship amounted to nothingness.
Meanwhile, on Monday, jurors began deliberating in the Trump Organization tax fraud trial in New York, in which the company has been charged with tax evasion and obtaining loans fraudulently by inflating property values from various banks including the Deutsche bank primarily.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has in a civil suit sued Trump for $250 million in pecuniary damages on the tax fraud case.
Trump also simultaneously faces a criminal case from the AG's office on the issue.
Trump has also lost his appeal in the Supreme Court which has facilitated submission of his tax returns, which he promised to make public in 2016 on election as president but never did on grounds of audit not being completed, and is now under scrutiny of the Congress which has obtained the tax records for six years since 2016.