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Trump Organization signs brand deal for luxury tower in Saudi Arabia

The deal is likely to pile more scrutiny on Trump’s business interests in wealthy Gulf states before US 2024 election
Former US President Donald Trump and Mohammed bin Salman during a meeting at a hotel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 20 May 2017 (Mandel Ngan/AFP)

The Trump Organization signed a new deal to build a luxury residential tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, deepening the former US president’s business interests in the oil-rich Gulf region ahead of the 2024 US elections. 

The deal will see the Trump Organization expand its business ties with Dar Global in Saudi Arabia, with the real estate developer using the Trump name and brand on a new luxury high-rise tower.

Eric Trump, one of the former president’s sons and executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said, “We are thrilled to expand our footprint in the Middle East and bring the Trump standard of luxury to the region through our long-standing relationship with Dar Global.”

Dar Global is listed on the London Stock Exchange and manages a luxury property portfolio valued at roughly $5.9bn across the UAE, Oman, Qatar, the UK, Spain, and Bosnia.

“We are delighted to strengthen our ongoing relationship with the Trump Organization and expand our portfolio by delivering premium properties to redefine Saudi Arabia’s high-growth real estate market,” Ziad El Chaar, CEO of Dar Global, said.

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The Jeddah deal marks a deepening of the relationship between the Trump Organisation and Dar Al Arkan, the parent company of Dar Global.

In 2022, the Trump Organization signed a deal to build luxury housing and a golf complex in Oman. And according to The New York Times, the Trump Organization was "brought into the deal" by Dar Al Arkan. The project is still underway, but the Trump Organization has already earned at least $5m from the agreement. The project is due to be completed in 2028. 

Dar Global is a subsidiary of Dar Al Arkan, one of the largest real estate companies in Saudi Arabia, with links to the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), which is overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Among other projects, Dar Al Arkan is working on a mega-development to construct 30,000 new residential units in Riyadh under a deal with the PIF.

Gulf financial ties

The deal is likely to invite more scrutiny on Trump’s business practices before the US 2024 election.

A 2022 Congressional report found the foreign governments of six countries, including Saudi Arabia, spent more than $750,000 at a Trump-owned Washington hotel while lobbying his administration in 2017 and 2018. 

Besides the Trump Organization’s real estate deals, the former president’s son-in-law and one-time White House advisor Jared Kushner developed a close relationship with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and other Gulf monarchs.

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Six months after leaving the Trump administration, Kushner secured a $2bn investment from Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund in his Miami-based Affinity Partners investment firm. The United Arab Emirates and Qatar also invested $200m each, according to The New York Times.

Dar Global specialises in luxury residential real estate and has signed branding deals with flashy brand names like Dolce & Gabbana and Lamborghini for previous projects.

In recent years, developers in the Gulf region have cashed in catering to wealthy buyers who want luxury real estate tied to a brand name. 

In a global wealth report published in May, almost a third of wealthy Muslim buyers eyeing homes in Mecca said they are looking for brand names to expand into the Islamic holy city.

In March, Dar Global reported that its 2023 revenue surged 351 percent year-on-year. In a statement at the time, El Chaar suggested the company was looking to expand its luxury real estate portfolio in Saudi Arabia.

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