Hillary Clinton has accused Donald Trump of violating US laws, after a report said the Republican presidential candidate broke a trade embargo with Cuba.
According to a Newsweek report, Donald Trump’s company secretly conducted business in Cuba, violating the US trade embargo against the country.
His company allegedly spent at least $68,000 in Cuba in 1998.
Donald Trump’s campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said the money was not paid, and that he was against deals with Cuba.
The New York billionaire has also repeatedly said he had rejected offers to invest in Cuba.
The Newsweek report says Donald Trump’s company funneled the cash through a US consulting company to make it appear legal.
Hillary Clinton said: “We have laws in our country, and the efforts that Trump was making to get into the Cuban market – putting his business interests ahead of the laws of the United States and the requirements that businesses were operating under with sanctions shows that he puts his personal and business interests ahead of the laws and values and the policies of the United States of America.”
Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American senator from Florida who has endorsed Donald Trump, said: “This is something they’re going to have to give a response to.
“I mean, it was a violation of American law, if that’s how it happened.”
“I hope the Trump campaign is going to come forward and answer some questions about this, because if what the article says is true – and I’m not saying that it is, we don’t know with 100% certainty – I’d be deeply concerned about it,” Marco Rubio told a podcast hosted by ESPN and ABC.
Newsweek‘s front-page – citing company records, interviews with former Trump executives and court filings – alleges that Donald Trump’s company, then called Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, sent a consulting firm to Havana on its behalf in search of business opportunities.
The publication says Donald Trump’s senior officers disguised the cash by making it appear that the trip was connected to a Catholic charity.
If the consulting firm spent US money during the visit, without permission from the government, it would have directly violated the Cuban embargo, which remains in place to this day despite a warming in US-Cuba ties.
Speaking on ABC earlier on September 29, Kellyanne Conway initially said: “As I understand from the story, they paid money in 1998.”
Later in the same interview, Donald Trump’s campaign manager said: “Did his hotel invest in 1998 in Cuba? No.”
There has been no further statement from the Trump campaign.
Kellyanne Conway referred to comments Donald Trump has made in the past that were critical of the Cuban regime, and supportive of the embargo.
In a 1999 column in The Miami Herald, Donald Trump wrote that he had snubbed chances to do business in Cuba, saying: “It would place me directly at odds with the longstanding US policy of isolating Fidel Castro. I had a choice to make: huge profits or human rights. For me, it was a no-brainer.”