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Trump Sews up Delegates to Seal GOP Nomination amid Tax Evasion Accusations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a campaign rally, at the Rimrock Auto Arena, in Billings, Mont., Thursday. AP

London-As New York billionaire Donald Trump sew up the number of delegates needed to clinch the (Republican Party) GOP nomination, U.S. President Barack Obama slammed him on the sidelines of a Group of Seven advanced economies summit in Japan.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination. Trump has reached 1,239 and will easily pad his total in primary elections on June 7.

But Obama said that global leaders are “rattled by Trump — and for good reasons — because a lot of the proposals he makes display an ignorance of world affairs or a cavalier attitude or an interest in getting tweets and headlines instead of actually thinking through what is required to keep America safe and secure and prosperous.”

The U.S. president said foreign countries pay more attention to U.S. elections than Americans do to theirs because they count on Washington to provide stability and direction in addressing global challenges.

“I think it’s fair to say they are surprised by the Republican nominee,” Obama said, referring to Trump.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Daily Telegraph said that Trump signed off on a controversial business deal that was designed to deprive the American government of tens of millions of dollars in tax.

The billionaire approved a $50 million investment in a company – only for the deal to be rewritten several weeks later as a “loan.”

Experts say that the effect of this move was to skirt vast tax liabilities, and court papers seen by the Telegraph allege that the deal amounted to fraud.

The allegations center on Trump’s business alliance with Bayrock Group, the property company that was building Trump SoHo, the mogul’s prized New York building – as well as two other projects to which he had licensed his name.

In 2007 Bayrock struck a deal with FL Group, an Icelandic company that had agreed to invest $50 million in four of Bayrock’s subsidiary partnerships. However, the deal was later relabeled as a loan.

In New York, the sale of a stake in a partnership would make the existing partners liable to pay more than 40 per cent in tax on their ‘gain’, based on the highest tax rate.

However, if the investment is classified as a loan no tax would be payable.

Former employees of Bayrock have alleged in a case against the company that the deal was intended to fraudulently evade some $20 million in tax through a disguised sale of partnership interests.

They also claim the participants mislabeled the sale as a loan in order to avoid paying a further estimated $80 million taxes on the projected profits from the real estate.