30 Sep 2016

Clinton says Trump may have broken law with Cuba business

2:36 pm on 30 September 2016

US Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton says Republican opponent Donald Trump may have violated the law, following a news report that one of his companies attempted to do business in Cuba.

American publication Newsweek said on Thursday (local time) that a hotel and casino company controlled by Mr Trump secretly conducted business with Cuba that was illegal under US sanctions in force during Fidel Castro's presidency of the Communist-ruled island.

"Today we learned about his efforts to do business in Cuba which appear to violate US law, certainly flout American foreign policy, and he has consistently misled people in responding to questions about whether he was attempting to do business in Cuba," Mrs Clinton told reporters on her campaign plane.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off for the first time in a presidential debate that is one of the most highly anticipated political showdowns in US history.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are in a close race for the White House. Photo: AFP

Mrs Clinton and Mr Trump are in a close race ahead of the 8 November presidential election.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Newsweek, citing interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings, said the Trump company spent at least $68,000 for a 1998 trip to Cuba at a time when any corporate expenditure in the Caribbean country was prohibited without US government approval.

The Trump company did not spend the money directly, but funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm, Newsweek said.

Newsweek cited a former Trump executive as saying the goal of the Cuba trip was to give Trump's company a foothold should Washington loosen or lift the restrictions under the US trade embargo.

The former executive said Mr Trump had participated in discussions about the Cuba trip and knew it had taken place, according to Newsweek.

"The efforts that Trump is making to get into the Cuba market, putting his business interests ahead of the laws of the United States ... shows that he puts his personal and business interests ahead of the laws and the values and the policies of the United States of America," Mrs Clinton said.

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