US Presidential candidate Donald Trump is apparently desperate to win Cyprus’ bid for a casino licence and has reportedly linked up with two companies – one associated with Helector – the Paphos waste management firm currently being investigated, in a bid to win the tender.
The revelation came through an investigation by the Global Sources Magazine which was picked up by several outlets including Israeli’s Haaretz.
The report says Trump Organisation LLC, based in Manhattan, New York city, even hired a Cypriot former minister of finance to help win the tender.
Citing Cypriot officials, Global Sources Magazine said Trump had linked up with Aktor, the parent company of Helector, currently being investigated in Cyprus for waste management scandals in Paphos and Larnaca with suspects including former Paphos mayor Savvas Vergas and Larnaca mayor Andreas Louroudjiatis, arrested.
The other partner is said to be Navegante Group, a gaming company based in Nevada, USA. Its chairman Larry Woolf was named by the New York Times in 2010 for being involved with Aqueduct Entertainment, which donated to Democratic parties and in turn won the tender to build New York’s first casino.
Cypriot officials had, according to Global Sources Magazine said Trump’s organisation should have been aware of the allegations against Aktor as they are well known in Greece’s and Cyprus’ business communities.
Nevertheless, Trump’s firm was not selected amongst the three shortlisted candidates – consortium comprising Hard Rock (Las Vegas) and Melco International Development Limited (Macau), Bloomberry Resorts (Philippines) and Nagacorp (Cambodia),
According to sources cited in the report, representatives of the controversial candidate had recently approached ‘influential parties’ on the island to try win the support.
As the final selection on who gets the licence will be made by the government, this has allowed room for a lot of behind the scenes lobbying, the article said, particularly in the ranks of ruling party DISY.
The Trump-Navegante-Aktor consortium had proposed a development in the capital, Nicosia, boasting a luxury shopping mall, multiple hotels, an outdoor amphitheatre and a convention center, Global Sources Magazine said.
Officials who saw the bid for the tender said the guest profile for clients was “Europeans, Russians and Arabs, along with visitors from other countries in the region.”