The Trump organization withdrew its licensing agreement for the Baku skyscraper, formerly known as the Trump Tower, shortly after the elections in 2016, as it abolished international projects that could pose a conflict of interest for the president. Trump had joined forces with the son of a former transport minister in the oil-rich former Soviet state.
The hotel never opened, but it was followed by controversy. Mr. Trump broke the deal despite allegations from US diplomats that the minister had negotiated with Iranian Revolutionary Guard front companies and was corrupt.
After the 2017 New York article was published, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, was among the officials who wrote to Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin; Attorney General Jeff Sessions; James B. Comey, then director of the FBI, expressed his concern over the issues raised in the article.
The planned hotel was built since 2008 and was nearing completion when Mr. Trump announced the presidential race in 2015, six months before joining the licensing agreement.
His partner was Anar Mammadov, the billionaire son of the former Minister of Transport of the country, Ziya Mammadov. In a diplomatic cable that leaked in 2009, American diplomats described the father as "notoriously corrupt, even for Azerbaijan."
The cable also accused the former minister of awarding road construction projects to a former senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards military official.
"We assume that Mammadov is a silent partner in these treaties," said the diplomatic cable.
A lawyer from the Trump Organization told the Associated Press for an article published in June 2016 that the organization had been unaware of the corruption allegations and the Iranian connections of the Mammadov family, but that the project was due to economic reasons this year was moved.
The Trump organization withdrew from the deal in December and dropped a number of other overseas projects after the elections.
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