As Donald Trump surged to the presidency last year, Russia ensured he could do business there.
The Russian government renewed a series of Trump trademarks through 2016 — including four on Election Day, The New York Times reported Sunday.
Between April and December, Russia’s intellectual property agency Rospatent granted 10-year extensions to six Trump trademarks.
The renewals trickled in even as Trump insisted he had no business deals in Russia. His campaign remains under several U.S. investigations for potential collusion with the Russian government.
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The refreshed trademarks for hotel and branding deals were set to expire at the end of 2016.
Even though none of the projects have materialized — and some of the trademarks date back as far as 1996 — the Trump Organization still sought to extend them for another decade.
The company now has the ability to pursue any of the trademark deals in Russia while Trump, who still controls the company, sits in the White House.
There might even be more to come: The company has another two trademarks due for renewal next year.
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There is no evidence that Trump pushed for, or received, special treatment for the trademark office, which routinely renews deals with businesses worldwide.
But the renewed deals contradict Trump’s dogged claims that he has no financial ties to Russia.
He said through the campaign, and after winning the election, that he never seriously attempted to do business with Vladimir Putin’s country.
“I have no deals in Russia. I have no deals that could happen in Russia, because we’ve stayed away,” he said in a January press conference days before his inauguration.
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The same month, he tweeted, “I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”
Just last week, he tweeted that he only had “non-dealings” with Russia.
Trump does not have any known businesses active in Russia, such as real estate holdings or branded products for sale.
But the trademarks alone open the door for future financial opportunities there. And Trump’s adult sons Eric and Donald Jr. — who run the Trump Organization’s day-to-day operations — both made statements years ago indicating the family takes money from Russians.
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The chief legal counsel for the Trump Organization said the renewals were only intended to “prevent third parties from infringing on the company’s intellectual property rights” — not to start any new businesses.
“The company will not be seeking any new business opportunities in Russia,” Alan Garten told The Times.
Trump has remained in control of his business empire as President, a move ethics experts say could leave him vulnerable to potentially impeachable conflicts of interests.
His trademarks alone have seen a second wind during his presidency. Since Trump took office, his company has had dozens of trademarks renewed in Mexico and China — two countries Trump targeted on the campaign trail as threats to American industries.
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The Trump Organization still has 157 trademark applications pending with 36 countries.
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