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Trump company pulls its name off a Brazil hotel caught up in an investigation  September 6, 2019 – 10:36 am
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RIO DE JANEIRO — Trump Hotels said Tuesday it is removing its brand name from a luxury hotel it manages in Rio de Janeiro and will no longer be responsible for its operation. The move came after prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into investments in the property.

The decision takes effect Thursday, just days after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted that his sons would run his businesses while he was in the White House and vowed they would launch “no new deals” during his time in office. The president-elect has faced criticism that his company’s overseas investments could present conflicts of interest.

The 170-room Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro, a modern, triangular structure with the Trump name on top, is owned by a Brazilian developer whose former chief executive is Paulo Figueiredo Filho, grandson of the last president under Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship. The hotel had partially opened in June, just weeks before the Summer Olympics, in the upscale Barra de Tijuca neighborhood where the Olympic Park and Athletes’ Village were located.

In pulling out of the project, the Trump firm cited delays in the construction of the hotel and differences with the developers in “vision.”

Brazilian federal prosecutors said in a document issued in October that they were investigating questionable investments by pension funds in the hotel, which is owned by the Brazilian company LSH Barra. It has been managed by the Trump Organization, which has no financial investment in the project.

Trump representatives have said that the criminal investigation didn’t target the U.S. politician or his firm.

LSH Barra did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Trump company’s decision to remove its name from the project. Figueiredo Filho left his executive position at the development company in March, though he retains a financial stake, according to the company. The development company says the hotel is worth at least $75 million.

Two small Brazilian public-sector pension funds invested a total of $40 million in the fund that controls LSH Barra, according to the document issued by prosecutors in October.

The prosecutors said that the “reckless” investments by the two pension funds — Serpros, for employees of a government IT agency, and Igeprev, for employees of Tocantins state in Brazil’s vast ­interior — entailed a high risk that raised suspicion. In addition, ­Igeprev bought debentures in the fund that controls LSH Barra, increasing its exposure, the document said. The investigation is part of Operation Greenfield, a wider investigation into pension fund investments in Brazil.

“It is necessary to verify if the favoritism shown by the pension funds towards LSH Barra Empreendimentos Imobiliários SA and The Trump Organization was due to illicit payments and bribes, ” Anselmo Lopes, a prosecutor, wrote in the document.


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