Donald Trump vows to shut controversial Trump Foundation

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image captionA payment from Mr Trump to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi (pictured left) has been under investigation

Donald Trump has announced that he plans to shut his charitable foundation, although an investigation into its practices continues.

The US president-elect said he wanted to avoid "even the appearance" of any conflict of interest.

New York's attorney general is looking into suspected "impropriety" at the Foundation, which Mr Trump denies.

The attorney general's office said Mr Trump could not shut the Foundation while the investigation was continuing.

Mr Trump's statement on Saturday said that "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.

"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."

Mr Trump will be inaugurated on 20 January, succeeding President Barack Obama.

The Republican billionaire beat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 8 November elections.

New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in September that his office wanted to ensure the Foundation was "complying with the laws that govern charities in New York".

"We have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view," Mr Schneiderman told CNN at the time.

US media say Mr Schneiderman's office has been investigating the Trump Foundation since at least June, when it formally questioned a donation made to a group backing Republican Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013.

The $25,000 (£20,350, €23,920) payment was made at a time when Mrs Bondi's office was reportedly considering whether to open a fraud investigation into Trump University.

The fraud investigation never happened, although Mrs Bondi denies the decision was influenced by the donation she received.

Aides to Mr Trump have already admitted the donation was a mistake resulting from clerical errors, according to reports.

What is the Trump Foundation? By BBC's Anthony Zurcher

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The Donald J Trump Foundation is a private charitable organisation started by Donald Trump in 1987 with money he earned from his best-selling book, The Art of the Deal.

Up until about 2005, the foundation was primarily funded by Mr Trump himself, including a million-dollar contribution in 1989. Since then, however, it has been bankrolled almost exclusively by donations from Mr Trump's friends and associates.

According to its 2014 filing with the Internal Revenue Service (the most recent on record) the foundation claimed assets totalling $1,273,895 and brought in $500,849 - almost entirely from a gift from New York ticket-reselling mogul Richard Ebers, a regular contributor. The foundation gave out $591,450.

Other past prominent Foundation donors include Vince McMahon, the professional wrestling impresario and NBC Universal (which aired Mr Trump's show, The Apprentice).

Many of the contributions to Mr Trump's foundation appear to be in lieu of payments to Mr Trump himself. People Magazine gave $150,000 after it received rights to publish photos of Mr Trump's son, Barron. Comedy Central donated $400,000 after Mr Trump appeared on one of its celebrity roasts.

Several dozen charitable groups received contributions in 2014 - about an average number for the foundation. They included the Alliance for Lupus Research, the American Skin Association, the Anti-Defamation League and a variety of veterans' charities.

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