Indian partners hawk dinner talk with Trump Junior for $39 000

2018-02-23 11:50
The eldest son of US President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Junior. gives a thumbs up as he arrives in India to help sell luxury apartments in a string of Trump-branded developments. (Manish Swarup, AP)

The eldest son of US President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Junior. gives a thumbs up as he arrives in India to help sell luxury apartments in a string of Trump-branded developments. (Manish Swarup, AP)

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New Delhi - Want an evening out in India with Donald Trump jnr? Sorry, even if you have an extra $39 000 it's probably too late to buy a "conversation and dinner" with the eldest son of the American president.

For over a week, full-page newspaper ads promised a Friday night dinner with Trump jnr to buyers who put down a $39 000 deposit for an apartment in a new Trump project in a New Delhi suburb.

But the money had to be paid, the ads said, before Thursday.

Officials at M3M, the Indian company that will build the new Trump complex, did not immediately respond when asked whether late-comers would be allowed for dinner.

Trump jnr, who has run the Trump Organisation with his brother Eric since his father took office, arrived in India on Tuesday to promote Trump-brand real estate projects across the country.

He is also slated to make a speech about Indo-Pacific relations at a business summit in New Delhi, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

More than 85 apartments, worth $108m, have been sold in the yet-to-be-built Trump Towers in Gurgaon, on the outskirts of the Indian capital, said Kalpesh Mehta of Tribeca Developers, Trump Organisation's Indian partner.

Apartments in the complex, which is scheduled to be completed by 2023, cost from $775 000 to $1.5m.

On Monday alone, the day before Trump jnr landed in India, buyers scooped up $15m in apartments, Mehta told ET-Now television earlier this week. The station is owned by the Times Group, a sponsor of the Global Business Summit where Trump jnr will speak.

Media access to Trump jnr has been limited, with only hand-picked journalists allowed access to events that he attends.

The Trump Organisation charges a licensing fee to Indian partners who build the properties under the Trump name. One complex is already open in the central city of Pune, while four others are in varying stages of construction, one each in Mumbai and Kolkata and two in Gurgaon.

All the deals were signed before President Trump took office, but Trump jnr's promotional trip has raised ethics concerns.

Trump jnr has made several visits to India over the years and has repeatedly talked of the country's business opportunities, dismissing criticism that his family-owned business is profiting from his father's presidency.

Read: Trump junior says presidency is costing the family firm

"It really discounts the work that my father and myself and my siblings did to build up the business as an international brand," he told ET-Now.

On Thursday, White House spokesperson Lindsay E Walters said the Trump administration "takes seriously its obligation to ensure that government resources are not used to provide a private benefit to anyone".

"Donald Trump jnr is a private individual and neither the State Department nor the White House has provided any support for this trip beyond co-ordinating with his Secret Service protection," Walters said.

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