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Trump Inc – a podcast series from ProPublica and WNYC – S01 E10 – ”The Many Red Flags of Trump’s Partners in India — ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast “

10/01/2019

Reflecting on 2018 and considering how the blog has increasingly used podcast material, Adam came across this (H/T New Yorker)

About the series

Podcasts are a good form for presenting the surreality of this era, Eric Umansky, an editor at ProPublica, told me recently. “You can capture the absurdity in ways that you can’t in text,” he said. The excellent investigative podcast that he works on, “Trump Inc.,” from WNYC and ProPublica, began in February and concludes next week. Its premise is at once straightforward and audacious: it asks big, specific questions about Donald Trump’s famously mysterious business dealings, including those concerning possible connections between his Presidency and his profits; investigates them; and encourages listeners to pitch in and help. It features several personable, savvy-sounding reporters: Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, of WNYC, and Jesse Eisinger and Heather Vogell, of ProPublica, and it has a collaborative spirit. Reporters from other outlets (including The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson) offer additional information and insights. One episode features David Fahrenthold, of the Washington Post, answering listener questions; another was inspired by a comment that Fahrenthold made about Trump suing local municipalities in which he had businesses; a listener tip resulted in a mini-episode about Trump commissioning golf-tee markers with the Presidential seal on them. Umansky told me that one “superfan” listener “went to the courthouse in Westchester to look up cases for us.” Everybody gets to be a detective. Or, as the show’s Web site puts it, “Help Us Dive Into the Swamp.” 

About this episodeEric Unmansky March 28, 2018

President Donald Trump does not like the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “It’s a horrible law,” Trump has said. The FCPA makes it a crime for U.S. companies to bribe foreign officials, or to partner with others who are clearly doing so.

Trump has argued that the law puts U.S. firms at a disadvantage. “It’s things like this that cause us to not be able to lead the world,” Trump said on CNBC in 2012. “For this country to prosecute because something took place in India is outrageous.”

Corruption in India is quite common, particularly in the real estate industry. India’s also where the Trump Organization has four projects currently under construction and another just completed, more than it has in any other foreign country. As we detailed last week on “Trump, Inc.,” Donald Trump Jr. has been closely involved in much of the work.

This week, we’re looking at the Trump Organization’s partners in India — and red flags their work has raised. We worked with Investigative Fund reporter Anjali Kamat whose story on the Trumps’ business in India appears in the latest issue of The New Republic.

Kamat traveled to the location of each of the projects that are still under construction. Here’s what she found:

  • The project: Trump Tower Kolkata
  • What Trump Jr. has billed it as:Kolkata’s “first residential building with floor to ceiling glass.”
  • What’s there now: The foundation and a billboard
  • Partner: RDB Group
  • The red flags: Back in 2011, the RDB Group’s directors were charged with insider trading and were barred from the Indian stock market for four years. Also, the day after Trump Jr.’s visit, tax officials raided RDB’s offices over alleged “financial irregularities.” The group did not comment on the raid at the time.
  • Their response to us: None.

  • The project: A residential tower in Gurgaon, a suburb of New Delhi
  • What Trump Jr. has billed it as: “The most prestigious address in the city
  • What’s there now: A small patch of empty land
  • Partner: M3M, which stands for “Magnificence in the Trinity of Men, Materials & Money”
  • The red flags: Tax investigators seized about $70 million of undeclared money from M3M offices in 2011. The company later paid back taxes on the money, according to the Washington Post. Last year, a forest official filed a complaint alleging the company bribed forest guards to illegally cut trees. We couldn’t find any response from M3M about the alleged bribes.
  • Their response to us: None.

  • The project: Trump Tower Mumbai
  • What the Trumps have billed it as:The most spectacular addition to the Mumbai skyline.”
  • What’s there now: The tower is almost complete.
  • Partner: The Lodha Group
  • The red flags: Officials at multiple Indian agencies told Kamat they had been looking into allegations of money laundering, tax fraud and violations of foreign exchange regulations involving Lodha Group subsidiaries. No charges have been brought.
  • Their response to us: None. The Lodha Group has previously responded to one reported investigation, saying they were not aware of it.

Neither the White House nor the Trump Organization spoke to us for this story.


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