Trump says he intends to dissolve controversial charitable foundation

Washington, United StatesUpdated: Dec 25, 2016, 12:55 AM IST

Critics say it is impossible for Trump to serve as president without running into conflicts unless he fully divests himself of all his business and charitable interests. Photograph:(Getty)

US President-elect Donald Trump said he plans to close down his controversial Trump foundation while an investigation is ongoing into the charitable institution.

He said he was making the decision to "avoid even the appearance of any conflict" with his presidency.

"The foundation has done enormous good works over the years in contributing millions of dollars to countless worthy groups, including supporting veterans, law enforcement officers and children," Trump said in a statement. 

"However, to avoid even the appearance of any conflict with my role as president I have decided to continue to pursue my strong interest in philanthropy in other ways."

Trump's businesses have attracted increasing scrutiny since his election victory on November 8. The shuttering of his charity would be his first big step to avoid a brewing storm of potential conflicts of interest, news agency AFP said.

Trump has already directed his counsel to start the process of closing down the foundation.

The Trump Foundation is under investigation by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. The attorney general's office on Saturday said that the president-elect could not shut down the foundation yet.

"The Trump Foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," Schneiderman spokeswoman Amy Spitalnick said.

An investigation by the Washington Post in June had found that Trump had paid only a small amount of the money he'd promised to the charity. He pledged to donate $1 million to a non-profit group for veterans after public pressure.

Critics say Trump will run into conflicts unless he fully divests himself of all his business and charitable interests, AFP said.

(With inputs from AFP)