As summarized in a new report from the government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a development in Indonesia with a significant Trump imprint just officially received a special tax status from Indonesian authorities, and ex-President Trump himself is set up to receive a continuing income from the development, meaning that the special tax status could directly financially benefit the former commander-in-chief. Although Trump is no longer in office and a potential conflict of interest involving a possible future Trump administration is just a theoretical, the special tax status “appears to have been in the works since long before he left office,” CREW says.
Because of the fact that plans for the special tax status seem to have been formulated well before Trump left office, the situation represents yet another corrupt entanglement involving the Trump administration. As CREW explains, the Trump business “partnered with the Indonesian conglomerate MNC Group to build a Trump International Hotel Bali and three Trump-branded projects for the company’s Lido City resort,” and that resort has now obtained a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status in Indonesia. According to MNC Group, the status provides them with opportunities for “corporate tax cuts, luxury goods sales tax cuts and… some leniency on permits,” and the company claims that these benefits will make their Trump-involved development “the national pride and Indonesia’s new tourism destination.”
Ultimately, the Indonesian development with Trump’s involvement “is predicted to attract billions of dollars in investments,” CREW says. MNC Group is helmed by Trump friend Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who was at Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and who Trump himself once called his “great friend.” According to CREW, Tanoe — as he’s known — already “pledged to spend $1 billion on the resorts and as of 2017 had paid $10.5 million in fees to Trump.” That’s a huge foreign government-tied financial boost for Trump, and the Indonesian government ties extend beyond the special tax status. Indonesian President Joko Widodo placed Tanoe’s daughter Angela in a position within his Cabinet in 2019, and she then “attended a meeting with MNC Group to discuss ways to boost tourism, and of course the MNC Lido City development was mentioned,” according to the CREW report.
While in office as president, Trump never financially detached himself from his business, meaning that interests hoping to curry favor with the then-president could have just patronized a Trump business.