Donald Trump’s complicated financial obligations have been laid bare, with reports he owes more than $1.4 billion.
Debt “connected” to the President-elect’s companies adding up to more than US$1 billion ($1.4b) is owed to more than 150 financial institutions, the Wall Street Journal reported overnight.
The revelation has prompted renewed concern about a potential conflict of interests minefield when Trump takes office in two weeks’ time.
According to the Journal, the loans were divided, repackaged and then sold in the form of bonds over the past five years, with some of them personally guaranteed by Mr Trump – who previously estimated his companies’ debt obligations at US$315 million.
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Trump has appointed a number of former and current Goldman Sachs executives to his new cabinet and advisory groups, while easing criticism of Wall Street since the November 8 election.
His campaign had been highly critical of Hillary Clinton’s ties to the banking sector in the lead-up to the poll.
Jay Clayton, a lawyer with ties to Goldman Sachs, will lead the United States Securities and Exchange Commission under Trump’s administration in an appointment that was criticised by Democrats conservatives.
“It’s hard to see how an attorney who’s spent his career helping Wall Street beat the rap will keep President-elect Trump’s promise to stop big banks and hedge funds from ‘getting away with murder’,” Senator Sherrod Brow told Politico.
Other controversial appointments include Steven Mnuchin, a hedge-fund manager and former Goldman trader, who will be Treasury secretary; Steve Bannon, who will be a top White House adviser to Trump, and Gary Cohn, Goldman’s longtime president who was named director of the National Economic Council – plus reality television “supervillain” Omarosa Manigault, an alumnus of The Apprentice.
The Journal analysed Morningstar data, which it said showed that six funds at Vanguard own about US$225.7m worth of Trump debt, while seven funds at T Rowe Price owned US$98.2m, five funds at JPMorgan Chase owned US$51m and four funds at PIMCO owned US$49.5m.
Other funds reported to hold debt connected to Mr Trump’s companies included Prudential, Fidelity Investments, Wells Fargo and BlackRock, the Journal said.