Detractors of president-elect Donald Trump suggest that the newly minted politician will enter office with a great deal more potential conflicts of interest than virtually any other president in U.S. history, thanks to his many business and investments in companies around the world. In an effort to quell dissent, Trump's team has indicated that the billionaire has sold off his stocks, saying that Trump sold his stock interests in June in order to preempt possible conflicts of interest as the presidential election in November neared. However, Trump has many other investments besides stocks, and these could potentially pose a much larger conflict of interest.

Trump Told "Today" He Would Exit Stock Positions

Speaking with interviewers on NBC's "Today" show, Trump said, "I don't think for me to be owning stocks when I'm making deals for this country that maybe will affect one company positively and one company negatively -- I just felt it was a conflict." However, though Trump may have divested his stock investments (or he may not have, the transition team has yet to provide documents confirming this action), he still has millions of dollars invested in hedge funds, which could pose a similar conflict of interest as well.

Presidential Decisions Have Direct Impact on hedge Fund Holdings

If Trump does not sell off his hedge fund investments, it is virtually guaranteed that his business decisions as president will have some type of impact on the way those hedge funds do business and, in turn, his own money that he has invested. CNN Money points to an example of how this has already taken place. According to Trump's most recent financial disclosure, which was released in May (prior to when he claims to have sold off his stock interests), the president-elect has investments in three major hedge funds of John Paulson, a longtime Republican Party supporter and a significant donor to Trump's campaign. Paulson, who made a big name for himself when he accurately recognized the U.S. financial crisis in 2008 and made a vast fortune in the process, has been less successful in the past few years. In the weeks since the election, however, some of Paulson's largest positions have jumped in price, thanks mostly to Trump's winning the election. Stocks like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have climbed by more than double in the past month on news of Trump's appointment of Steve Mnuchin as Treasury Secretary. In return, those stocks climbed, Paulson made money, and Trump did as well, if he is still invested in Paulson's hedge funds.

In just weeks since the election, Trump has given detractors numerous reasons to fear that he may use the office of the president to personally enrich himself and his close business partners. Investments in hedge funds may be one of those ways.

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