UPDATED: Does Trump own a Latvian company? It seems not.

Take note – story published 7 years ago

The business empire of the next US President, Donald Trump, is known to be extensive, though no-one seems to have the full details of his complex business arrangements other than Mr Trump himself.

On December 21 the possibility was raised that Trump may even own a business in Latvia.

US blogger Scott Dworkin - who it should be noted is a vehement opponent of Mr Trump - alleged December 21 on social media that a company in Latvia was owned by Trump.

A company called "Trump SIA" (SIA is the Latvian equivalent of a public limited company, 'Ltd.') was indeed registered at an address in Ventspils, appropriately enough on July 4th 2013.

It may not be exactly Trump Towers but it looks pleasant enough and is located close to the port and city center.


According to the official business register, the company is still active and its business activity is listed as selling unspecified wholesale goods.

It had turnover of more than €163,000 in 2015 - yet made a loss of €53, and had three employees.

The sole shareholder is listed as "Mayya Potokina", a citizen of the Russian Federation, though with a Latvian personal code, suggesting she has Latvian residency.

LSM was unable to find any evidence linking Donald Trump to ownership of a Latvian company.

We called Ms Potokina on a Latvian telephone number and she confirmed she was the sole owner of the import-export company and that the business had no connection at all to Donald Trump - other than that it had been named in his honor!

After a subsequent conversation with our Russian-speaking colleagues at LSM's Russian-language news service, the full story emerged.

When registering her company back in 2013, Mayya Potokina listened to the advice of one of her two daughters who was living in America and it was she who advised that a new company could do a lot worse than name itself after a famously successful businessman. 

SIA Trump's main field of operations was trade in small electrical appliances and electric materials for home use such a lightbulbs and cables, Patokina said.

Its turnover peaked at €352,500 in 2014. The next year, 2015, though, the business slowed down while remaining respectable.

The whole undertaking was planned to be a kind of springboard for her two daughters. Now they are on their own, but she herself is not that young anymore, Potokina admitted. For some time she was thinking winding SIA Trump down, but after Donald Trump's victory she might well think again.

All in all, just another reason to be skeptical about claims made on social media without evidence to back them up.

Perhaps the alarm bells should have started ringing in Dworkin's previous tweet which refers to the tiny island of Jersey as  "country" when it is in fact a dependency of the United Kingdom.

However, the notion of the Trumps doing business in Latvia is not fanciful in itself.

Donald Trump Junior, the son of Donald Trump Senior, was in Riga in 2012, speaking to the Baltic International Bank about business opportunities in the region, as the video below shows.


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