As secretary of state, Rudy Giuliani's business ties may pose conflict of interest

16 November 2016

Rudolph W Giuliani is facing a barrage of  questions about his business dealings that could disqualify him from being named president-elect Donald Trump's secretary of state. Yesterday Giuliani defended his lucrative 15 years in the private sector as a credential for the job.

''I have friends all over the world,'' Giuliani, the former New York mayor, said in an interview. ''This is not a new thing for me. When you become the mayor, you become interested in foreign policy. When I left, my major work was legal and security around the world.''

As secretary of state, Giuliani who had fully backed Trump's candidacy, is likely  to make fighting Islamic terrorism the centerpiece of the incoming administration's foreign policy. He rose to national prominence on the strength of his leadership after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks and the experience of that is likely to influence his foreign policy, say commentators.

Giuliani's business ties though are likely to come in the way of his candidacy for the job. His firm, Giuliani Partners, has had contracts with the government of Qatar and the Canadian company that is building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, he had also given paid speeches to a dubious Iranian opposition group that until 2012 was on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organisations.

During his presidential campaign, Trump had repeatedly attacked his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton over the donations the government of Qatar made to the Clinton Foundation. He argued that the money undermined Clinton's claims of compassion for women and LGBTQ people as both groups had faced oppression in the country. 

According to commentators, Guiliani's ties to Qatar would likely pose potential conflicts of interest issues if he were to be nominated to the position. In 2007, The Wall Street Journal had reported that the  Giuliani had provided ''security advice'' to the government of Qatar.

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