Since 2007 Donald Trump has been looking at the Indian real estate market where investors and consumers have been acquiring a taste for luxury brands. In his mind this was the perfect market for an array of luxury apartment blocks, in effect more Trump Towers, and good to his word his company is now looking to double its investment in Indian real estate. However, this would seem to come at what could be a potentially large price for the president amid concerns and controversy over his company’s choice of Indian partners.
Concern and confusion
While it has to be said nothing has been proved against Donald Trump’s Indian partners, in the shape of IREO and M3M India, they are both under investigation for an array of issues. IREO is under investigation for suspected violations during the purchase of land, potential money-laundering and the source of the company’s funds. M3M India has been caught up in a tax scandal and accusations of bribery which many hoped the authorities had under control after sweeping real estate regulations were introduced.
The very fact that Donald Trump has chosen these two companies to be his Indian partners even after due diligence does not reflect well on the man himself or his business operations. It also prompts more questions on Donald Trump’s business ethics at a time when his opponents are looking for every opportunity to bring him down.
Indian real estate market
There is no doubt that the Indian real estate market has been a very profitable market over the last 20 years or so. We have seen the emergence of luxury developments across many of India’s larger cities with billions of dollars of domestic and overseas investment. In what is a reflection of the underlying situation in India, we have gated luxury apartments just a stone’s throw from some of the most deprived areas of the world, India’s infamous slums.
A number of parties have also stepped forward to suggest that bribery and corruption is still extremely commonplace across the Indian real estate market. It is debatable as to whether corruption is as commonplace as this feedback would suggest but those who believe that corruption has been assigned to the history books should probably think again!
Donald Trump’s potential conflict of interest
As we touched on above, many of Donald Trump’s opponents will use this latest controversy as yet another stick with which to beat him. The fact that the Indian prime minister recently visited Donald Trump at the White House added more fuel to the fire, did they stick to political issues or was Donald Trump’s Indian real estate exposure brought into the conversation? Might investigations into these two companies be compromised or hindered because of the Trump connection?
It is disappointing that Donald Trump continues to attract so much controversy with his real estate investments because he has experience in these markets which many can only dream of. Even if his two Indian real estate partners are found not guilty of the recent accusations it does not reflect well on Donald Trump’s selection process. Surely at the current time you’d want to avoid as much confusion and controversy as possible? Even though due diligence on these two deals was done prior to his election as president of the USA, could they not have been cancelled or at least put on hold?
For a man who does not need to go far to attract controversy and concern, Donald Trump does not exactly help himself or cover himself in glory.