The local development firm behind Trump Tower Vancouver has responded to CNN reports which allege Ivanka Trump’s business deals with her family’s namesake Vancouver hotel property is the subject of a federal investigation in the US.
“In the case of Vancouver, it’s not clear why investigators are examining this particular deal,” says the news network. “The timing of the deal – as one of the few Trump-branded properties to open since Trump took office – could be of interest. The flow of foreign money, either from the developer or international condo buyers, could also be sparking scrutiny.”
While the Trump Organization owns other properties that carry the family’s name, it does not own the hotel in Vancouver. It was built by locally-based Holborn Group, which is directly linked to TA Global Bhd, a company owned by one of Malaysia’s wealthiest families.
Tiah Joo Kim, the CEO of Holborn Group, is the son of TA Global chairman Datuk Tony Tiah Thee Kian.
The Holborn Group no longer has possession of the hotel property. In a previous email to Daily Hive, Holborn Group said TA Global now owns the tower.
Under the deal, the Vancouver developer pays licensing and marketing fees to use the Trump name and brand. A financial disclosure form from June 2017 states Trump’s company made over $5 million in royalties and $21,500 in management fees from the Vancouver hotel.
The deal between the Trump brand and TA Global was “a family affair,” and a bond is said to have developed between Tiah and Trump Jr.
However, Ivanka’s role in finalizing the deal was key, which occurred two years before Trump officially launched his presidential bid. The tower’s announcement in 2013 was attended by Trump, Trump Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump.
It is unclear whether this probe is of specific interest to the Special Counsel’s investigation being led by Robert Mueller. This follows a report earlier this week that Ivanka and Jared Kushner, her husband and senior advisor to the president, are being closely examined to determine whether any of their private business deals could have left them vulnerable to manipulation by foreign powers.
On Monday, Holborn told Daily Hive in a statement that the Holborn Group and Joo Kim Tiah have not been contacted by FBI or any authorities with regards to matters raised in the CNN report.
Noting that the “entire development” on West Georgia was funded by the Holborn Group and TA Global Bhd, the company said its business relationship with the Trump Organization “extends only to a brand licensing and hotel management for the development of Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver.”
Additionally, it said, ” neither Holborn Group nor Joo Kim Tiah have any interaction or business dealings with Jared Kushner whatsoever.”
Ivank Trump’s involvement, the company added, “was specifically on interior design and… was utilised towards the development of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Vancouver.”
With files from Kenneth Chan