25 Dec 2016

Trump charity cannot dissolve before probe ends

11:56 am on 25 December 2016

US President-elect Donald Trump plans to dissolve his charity to avoid any conflict of interest, he says, but it is being investigated by the New York attorney general.

United States President-elect Donald Trump

United States President-elect Donald Trump Photo: AFP

Mr Trump said on Saturday he intended to dissolve the foundation, giving no timeline for winding it down, but saying in a statement he wanted "to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as President."

He takes office on 20 January, replacing President Barack Obama.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman in October directed the foundation to stop taking donations because, he said, it violated state law requiring charitable organisations to register with a state office.

The order followed a series of reports in The Washington Post that suggested improprieties by the foundation, including using its funds to settle legal disputes involving Trump businesses.

New York attorney general's office spokesperson Amy Spitalnick said on Saturday that Mr Trump could not shutter the foundation while the investigation was ongoing.

"The Trump Foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," she said.

She would not comment on expected timing for completing the investigation.

Mr Trump said he was "very proud" of the money raised by the foundation and said it had operated at "essentially no cost for decades".

"But because I will be devoting so much time and energy to the Presidency and solving the many problems facing our country and the world," he added in his statement, "I don't want to allow good work to be associated with a possible conflict of interest."

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