Trump's business partner had alleged 'Iran laundering' family ties

Trump's business partner had alleged 'Iran laundering' family ties
US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been attacked for his business links to the son of an Azerbaijan minister, who has been accused of laundering money for Iran's military.
3 min read
04 June, 2016
Donald Trump is probably the US' most divisive political figure [Getty]
US presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been linked to an Azeri businessman whose father has allegedly helped launder money for the Iranian military.

Trump launched a real estate project in Azerbaijan's capital Baku six months before he launched his bid to be the next Republican candidate for president.

He also partnered up with Anar Mammadov for the project, the son of a government minister suspected by US diplomats of laundering money for Iran and described as "notoriously corrupt".


Eighteen months later, and references to the Baku project have disappeared from Trump's website.

Trump's general counsel, Alan Garten, told The Associated Press that it was on hold for economic reasons, but weeks before his daughter Ivanka Trump released a publicity video of the nearly finished project.

Trump has been associated with dubious business associations, who have been convicted of crimes, faced extradition or inflated their resumes.

Garten said the Trump Organization had performed meticulous due diligence on the company's partners, and had hired a third-party firm that specialises in background intelligence and searching global sanctions, warrant and watch lists at home and abroad.

But Trump had not researched the allegations against the Baku partner's father because he was not part of the deal, Garten said. Experts on Azerbaijan were baffled by that conclusion.

"Whatever the Trump people thought they were doing, that wasn't reality," said Richard Kauzlarich, a US ambassador to Azerbaijan under President Bill Clinton.

[Trump] praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and picks fights with our friends, including the British prime minister, the mayor of London.
- Bill Clinton

A leaked State Department diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks in 2010 described Anar's father, Ziya Mammadov, as renowned for corruption and presumed to be a silent partner to a former senior Iranian general and reputed money launderer, Kamal Darvishi.

Ziya Mammadov did not respond to a telephone message the AP left with his ministry in Baku or to emails to the Azerbaijan Embassy in Washington.

Anar Mammadov did not respond to AP's emails or messages sent to his social media accounts or messages left with his company.

Foreign policy

In a separate case, Trump was asked in a 2013 deposition about why he had not performed better checks on a business partner - a man Trump later deemed "a dud" after the failure of a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, hotel project. Trump said he considered word-of-mouth inquiries to be adequate.

"We heard good things about him from a couple of different people," he said about his partner, during the deposition. "That's true with the president of the United States. You get references and sometimes it's good and sometimes it's not so good."

Trump's lawyer, Garten, who was in the room at the time of Trump's statement, told the AP that it was unreasonable to expect Trump to know the company's full diligence efforts.

Trump's proposed foreign policies have also drawn controversy, which includes working with international pariahs such as North Korea, and increasingly isolated Russian President Vladimir Putin.

For this he has won the plaudit of state-sanctioned press in both countries.

Former President Bill Clinton said on Friday that if Trump took charge of the White House, it would put the US at serious risk, citing foreign policy as a reason.

"He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and picks fights with our friends, including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico and the pope," Clinton said.