All the President’s Friends: These Are Trump’s Ties in Davos

By Stephanie BakerStephanie Baker, Caleb MelbyCaleb Melby and Jackie GuJackie Gu

President Donald Trump’s decision to attend this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland seems at first blush an odd move. Why would a populist who campaigned on protectionism want to hobnob with the globetrotting free-trade elite?

In reality, Trump will find himself partly among friends and business associates from around the world. At least two attendees have Trump licensing deals that have paid him millions of dollars: Hussein Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties in Dubai, where he’s got two deals for Trump golf courses, and Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag, chairwoman of Dogan Group in Turkey, which owns Trump Towers Istanbul.

The Trump Organization’s largest lender, Deutsche Bank AG, is sending several representatives including Paul Achleitner, the long-serving chairman of the bank’s supervisory board. Also attending is Herman Gref, chief executive officer of Russia’s state-controlled Sberbank who hosted a dinner for Trump in Moscow in 2013 after sponsoring his Miss Universe pageant. And one world leader—Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri—has known the U.S. president since the 1980s, when Trump bought land in Manhattan from his father.

Trump is the first U.S. president since Bill Clinton to attend Davos and he’s bringing one of the biggest delegations ever, including son-in-law and Senior Advisor Jared Kushner. A handful of bankers and investors who have financed the Kushner family’s real estate projects will attend, including Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone LP. Schwarzman is the former head of Trump’s business council.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump’s trip is about advancing his “America First” agenda, likely a hard sell to the Davos crowd. Trump may also face flak for advancing another agenda, depending on whom he meets: the business interests of his own family.

Here are some of the most important friends, frenemies and business associates that Trump and Kushner could encounter in Davos:

Mauricio Macri

Trump has known Macri since the Argentine leader was a teenager. In the mid-1980s, Trump bought land from Macri’s father Francisco Macri in Manhattan’s Upper West Side after the two couldn’t agree on how to develop the site together. Trump later told the press that the elder Macri had been a “know-nothing” and a “myth who’s now safely back in Argentina.” Trump failed to develop the property.

Ilham Aliyev

Aliyev’s daughter was previously married to a member of the Agalarov family, who hosted Trump’s Miss Universe Pageant in 2013. Ron Goldstone, a publicist for Emin Agalarov, arranged the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting among Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Vesilnitskaya. Trump had partnered with the son of Ziya Mammadov, a close ally of Aliyev, to build a Trump Tower in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital. The project failed.

João Doria
Mayor of São Paulo

The Mayor of São Paulo once hosted Brazil’s version of “The Apprentice.” An independently wealthy, conservative populist, comparisons to Trump therefore come easy, but he balks at them. “Trump’s election expressed the feeling of the U.S. electorate, which I respect,” he told Bloomberg in January 2017. “But he’s perhaps too hard on some things, excessive, not very understanding, arbitrary, tough in relation to immigrants.”

Laurent Mignon and Jean Raby
Natixis Investment Managers

The French firm has helped finance at least four Kushner projects.

Paul Achleitner
Deutsche Bank AG

Deutsche Bank is the Trump Organization’s largest lender and a significant lender to Kushner Cos. The bank has backed Trump’s Washington Hotel, Doral resort in Miami and Chicago Tower. New York prosecutors have requested records related to a $285 million loan given to Kushner Cos. for a six-story retail property in Manhattan.

Oded Eran
Bank Hapoalim BM

This bank, under investigation by U.S. authorities for alleged tax evasion, is a frequent lender to Kushner Cos. endeavors.

David Brodet and Rakefet Russak-Aminoach
Bank Leumi

Bank Leumi has backed several Kushner projects.

Ahmed Bin Jassim Bin Mohamed Al Thani
Ministry of Economy and Commerce of Qatar

Al Thani was in extended talks to put $500 million into Kushner Cos.’ 666 Fifth Avenue, contingent on the company finding additional funding elsewhere. They didn’t, and the deal with al Thani’s company, Al Mirqab Capital SPC, fell through.

Herman Gref

Gref sponsored Trump’s Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013 and hosted a dinner for him at Nobu.

Sergey Gorkov

Kushner and Gorkov met at Trump Tower in December 2016. Kushner said he was there in his capacity as a transition official. Spokepeople for Vladimir Putin and for VEB say Kushner was there in his role as head of his family’s real estate business.

Arkady Dvorkovich
Deputy Prime Minister

He met with Trump campaign foreign advisor Carter Page in July 2016, a meeting being probed by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller and U.S. congressional investigators for possible collusion.

Oleg Deripaska

Deripaska is suing former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort over a failed Ukrainian business deal.

Kirill Dmitriev
Russia Direct Investment Fund

Dmitriev met with Erik Prince in the Seychelles last year. The meeting is being scrutinized by investigators probing collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Saudi Arabia
Yasir Al-Rumayyan
Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund

Al-Rumayyan sat at the center of a trio of deals surrounding Kushner Cos. and their business partners. Jared Kushner personally negotiated a $100 billion arms deal for Saudi Arabia. Afterward, the PIF invested $20 billion with Blackstone, a deal announced at the Saudi royal palace, with Trump and Kushner in attendance. Blackstone is a frequent Kushner lender headed by Steve Schwarzman, the former head of Trump’s business council.

Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag
Dogan Group

Dogan has a licensing partnership with the Trump Organization for Trump Towers Istanbul.

Hussain Sajwani
Damac Properties

Damac has two golf course licensing and management deals with the Trump Organization in Dubai. “Mr. Trump getting elected definitely enhanced the profile of his organization’s brand,” Sajwani told Bloomberg in July. “Being his partner, we get a benefit.”

Tony Blair
Former Prime Minister

Blair met with Jared Kushner in February 2017 at the White House, where he allegedly suggested the U.K. had the Trump campaign under surveillance. Blair has denied he gave such a warning.

Stephen Schwarzman
Blackstone Group LP

Schwarzman is the former head of Trump’s business council. His Blackstone LP made loans to Kushner Cos., which eased its entry into New York real estate. Kushner and his wife Ivanka Trump attended Schwarzman’s black-tie 70th birthday party last year, and Ivanka was seated next to Schwarzman.