President-elect Donald Trump reportedly met this week at Trump Tower with three Indian business partners, raising fresh questions about a separation between the Trump's business and future work in the White House.
Trump’s children, who are part of his presidential transition team, also attended the meeting with Atul Chordia, Sagar Chordia and Kalpesh Mehta, according to India's Economic Times.
The business partners are building a Trump-branded luxury apartment complex south of Mumbai. A picture of Trump standing alongside the men while giving a thumbs up was posted on Twitter earlier this week.
The meeting comes as Trump vowed to hand off his business to his three adult children in a blind trust to avoid potential conflicts of interest while serving in the Oval Office.
A spokeswoman for Trump told The New York Times that the three Indian real estate executives flew from India to congratulate Trump.
“It was not a formal meeting of any kind,” said Breanna Butler, a Trump Organization spokeswoman.
Butler and Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for Trump, declined to comment when asked by the Times if the meeting included any discussion of Trump businesses in India or expanding that business.
But Donald Trump Jr. showed interested in expanding the business further in India, Mehta told the Economic Times.
A former deputy editor at GQ India told the Times that he hosted an event at Sagar Chordia’s hotel during the presidential campaign, saying the Indian businessman expressed “elation” about the opportunities Trump’s candidacy could bring.
Trump caught flak earlier this week after his daughter Ivanka was photographed attending a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump Tower.
State Department officials noted that Ivanka Trump does not have security clearance and is an executive at the Trump Organization hotel chain.
“Donald Trump’s children and son-in-law have been deeply involved in the transition and selecting who will be part of his administration,” said Noah Bookbinder, the executive director for Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics.
"At the same time they are deeply involved in the business. There does not seem to be any sign of a meaningful separation of Trump government operations and his business operations.”