Three Trump children seen managing president-elect's company

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Nov 11 (Reuters) - The Trump Organization said on Friday it was vetting new business structures aimed at transferring management control to three of President-elect Donald Trump's children and a team of executives.

The Trump Organization said in a statement it was planning to transfer control of the portfolio of businesses to Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and other executives.

Earlier on Friday, the three Trump children - the oldest of Trump's five children - were also named as members of Trump's Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee.

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NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 26: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are seen on March 26, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Tal Rubin/GC Images)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attends the 9th Annual Eric Trump Foundation golf invitational at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 21, 2015 in Briarcliff Manor City. (Photo by Bobby Bank/WireImage)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivana Trump, Eric Trump, Lara Trump, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner attend the 9th Annual Eric Trump Foundation Golf Invitational Auction & Dinner at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 21, 2015 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump attend the 'China: Through The Looking Glass' Costume Institute Benefit Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: (L-R) Eric Trump, Lara Yunaska Trump, Donald Trump, Barron Trump, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon Trump, Kai Madison Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Donald John Trump III, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and Tiffany Trump pose for photos on stage after Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. Trump is the 12th Republican who has announced running for the White House. (Photo by Christopher Gregory/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Jared Kushner (L) and Ivanka Trump attend the American Theatre Wing's 69th Annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images)
BEDMINSTER, NJ - OCTOBER, 25: In this handout image provided by Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump (R) and Jared Kushner (L) attend their wedding at Trump National Golf Club on October 25, 2009 in Bedminster, New Jersey. (Photo Brian Marcus/Fred Marcus Photography via Getty Images)
Donald Trump, president and chief executive of Trump Organization Inc. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, center, speaks as his sons Donald Trump Jr., left, and Eric Trump, right, listen during a caucus night rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Trump's dominating victory in the Nevada caucuses pushes him further out ahead of his nearest competitors for the Republican presidential nomination, giving his unorthodox candidacy a major boost heading into Super Tuesday contests next week. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
20/20 - Donald Trump and his family - including wife Melania Trump and his children - sit down for an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters in a special edition of 20/20 airing Friday, Nov. 20 (10-11pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) DONALD TRUMP, JR., IVANKA TRUMP, ERIC TRUMP, TIFFANY TRUMP, BARBARA WALTERS
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 28: Marla Maples (L) and Tiffany Trump have dinner at Sumosan on July 28, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images)
BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission of #455504994 with alternate crop.) (L-R) Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Yunaska attend The Eric Trump 8th Annual Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club Westchester on September 15, 2014 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 18: Donald Trump, Eric Trump and Lara Yunaska attend the New York Observer's 2013 Young Philanthropy event at PH-D Rooftop Lounge at Dream Downtown on April 18, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Laura Cavanaugh/Getty Images)
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"This is a top priority at the organization and the structure that is ultimately selected will comply with all applicable rules and regulations," a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in a statement.

Federal conflict-of-interest law does not apply to the president, but most White House occupants in the last few decades have voluntarily placed their assets in a blind trust to avoid any suggestion of impropriety.

Experts in government ethics said that giving over control to Trump's children would do virtually nothing to prevent potential conflicts of interest, since there's usually no daylight between one's personal interest and the interest of one's immediate family members.

"It doesn't meet any of the standards of a blind trust if the kids are running the company," said Kenneth Gross, a Washington lawyer who specializes in advising political clients on compliance and ethics.

Gross noted that the official transition team roles that Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump now have would appear to complicate matters further.

"If they're going to be involved in government functions - and they're starting down that road - and running the business, that's going to make it very difficult to separate the government and business functions and deal with the conflicts of interest," Gross said.

All three children already have roles in the Trump Organization, according to the company's website. Ivanka Trump is executive vice president of development and acquisitions, charged with domestic and global expansion of the company's real estate interests.

Donald Trump Jr is an executive vice president, and works to expand the company's real estate, retail, commercial, hotel and golf interests nationally and internationally. Eric Trump is executive vice president of development and acquisitions, responsible for new project acquisition, development and construction globally.

Typically, a blind trust involves turning over assets to an independent financial manager with no prior relationship to the owner. In addition, a blind trust derives its name from the idea that the owner would no longer know what assets are sold or bought. For instance, someone with extensive stock holdings would have no way of knowing which companies' shares he or she still owned in a blind trust.

Trump's portfolio includes interests in hundreds of limited liability companies, many overseas, as well as numerous real estate properties both domestic and foreign.

Short of selling the entire Trump empire, experts said, he will find it difficult to create a trust sufficiently "blind" to avoid the possibility of any conflicts. (Reporting by Emily Stephenson, David Lawder and Joseph Ax; Editing by Eric Beech and Leslie Adler)


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