Donald Trump did not disclose a $19.8m loan from a South Korean conglomerate with links to North Korea when he was the president of the US, according to a new report.

The documents obtained by the New York attorney general showed an unreported liability Mr Trump owed to South Korean company Daewoo, reported Forbes.

Mr Trump owed millions of dollars to the company while he was running for the White House in 2016 and paid off the loan just after five months into his presidency, the documents revealed.

He did not list the debt as candidates are expected to in their financial disclosure filings and seemed to have acted with some urgency to clear the debt off his balance sheet, the report said.

Daewoo partnered with Mr Trump on a project near the United Nations headquarters in New York City in 1997 for the construction of the Trump World Tower and continued its partnership with him for at least 25 years.

It was the only South Korean company that was allowed to operate a business in the rival neighbouring country North Korea during the mid-1990s.

The debt “stems from an agreement Trump struck to share some of his licensing fees with Daewoo”, it reported.

The company continued its partnership with Mr Trump from 1999 to 2007 using the Trump name on six properties constructed in South Korea.

It became a creditor to the Trump Organisation at some point during their relationship as the former president started businesses with a loan of $24m for projects in Saint Vincent, the Grenadines, Brazil, Florida, Arizona, Canada and Chicago.

Mr Trump owed $19.8m in debt to the company from 2011 to 2016 and the balance dropped to $4.3m just five months into his presidency, according to paperwork as of 10 June 2017.

The non-disclosure of debts to the Office of Government Ethics was not necessarily illegal as the government only requires presidential candidates and presidents to list personal debts.

However, it could have posed a conflict of interest over the then-president’s financial obligation to a foreign company with historical ties to North Korea.

During his tenure, Mr Trump was vocal and actively sought good relationships with the North Korean government led by dictator Kim Jong-un. In 2018, he gushed: “He likes me, I like him. We get along” and that “we fell in love”.

The two leaders met thrice in person and led a historic meeting between North and South Korea.

It comes as jurors began deliberating on Monday in the Trump Organisation’s criminal tax fraud trial, weighing charges that his company helped executives dodge personal income taxes on perks such as Manhattan apartments and luxury cars.



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