Donald Trump says he's leaving his business empire to avoid conflicts

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Associated Press

US president-elect Donald Trump said today he's leaving his business empire to focus on being the nation's 45th president, declaring he can successfully avoid conflicts of interest between governing and profiting in the private sector.

President elect Trump and wife Melania headed to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave to discuss the transition of power.

Source: 1 NEWS

"I will be leaving my great business in total in order to fully focus on running the country in order to make America great again," he tweeted.

"While I am not mandated to do this under the law, I feel it is visually important, as president, to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses."

Trump did not provide any details about how he planned to separate from his businesses, though he said legal documents were being prepared.

He has previously said that he'd leave his business operations to his three eldest children - Donald Junior, Eric and Ivanka.

Trump senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said today the three are expected to "increase their responsibilities" in the Trump Organisation.

Asked if the tweets in which the president-elect announced the plans to leave his business, Conway replied, "It appears that way."

Ethics experts have pushed for Trump to fully exit the ownership of his businesses using a blind trust or equivalent arrangement.

"Otherwise he will have a personal financial interest in his businesses that will sometimes conflict with the public interest and constantly raise questions," Norman Eisen, President Barack Obama's chief ethics lawyer, and Richard Painter, who held the same post for President George W Bush, said in a joint statement today.

Trump owns golf clubs, office towers and other properties in several countries.

He holds ownership stakes in more than 500 companies.

He has struck licensing deals for use of his name on hotels and other buildings around the world and has been landing new business in the Middle East, India and South America.

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