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Friday, November 04, 2005

Frist set up Blind Trust for Children

Frist set up blind trust for children

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., set up a qualified blind trust allowing his children to avoid the estate tax.

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The trust includes at least $350,000 worth of shares of HCA, the healthcare corporation founded by his family and was created with assets owned by Frist's mother before she died, The Hill, a Washington newspaper, reported Friday.

The fund allows the Frist family to claim a generation-skipping-tax exemption. The report said such qualified blind trust funds are a common way to bypass the estate tax.

Frist has his stock assets in a primary blind trust. The Senate Ethics Committee approved a second qualified blind trust from his mother's estate in December 2000. A Frist adviser told The Hill, it was Frist's mother's wishes the assets be set aside for her grandchildren.

Frist's stock transactions are at the center of a federal investigation. Frist said he ordered trustees to divest both blind trusts of HCA stock to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest when his Senate business involves the healthcare industry. But shortly after the transactions were made, HCA stock took a sharp downward turn after an earnings warning. Frist denies any wrongdoing in the stock deals.