Friday, January 28

New York prosecutor wants to hear Trump and his kids in tax evasion case

Former US President Donald Trump, left, and his son Donald Jr, Executive Vice President of the Trump Organization, in New York City in January 2017.

The New York State prosecutor, who is investigating a possible tax fraud by the Trump Organization, wants to hear from former President Donald Trump and his children Ivanka and Donald Junior, a judicial source was told Monday.

According to a New York State Supreme Court document signed by Attorney Letitia James, the ex-president and two of his children are called as witnesses in the large-scale investigation launched in March 2019 on a possible tax fraud within the family group Trump Organization.

“Attorney General James wants Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump to give sworn statements,” a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said.

He assured that “despite numerous attempts by the Trump Organization to delay our investigation (…) our questions will be answered and the truth will be brought to light because no one is above the law”.

On December 7, the Washington Post revealed that Ms. James had asked Donald Trump to come and testify in person in his office on January 7.

Information never officially confirmed.

On December 20, the former Republican president lodged a complaint against the New York attorney, an elected member of the Democratic Party, in an attempt to block her investigation, accusing her of political motives.

In a statement Monday, attorneys for the Trump family accused Ms. James of acting “a threat to our democracy” including “violating basic constitutional rights.”

The New York State Attorney has for nearly three years suspected the Trump Organization of fraudulently overestimating the value of certain properties when it applied for loans to banks and of underestimating the same properties with the tax authorities in order to pay less taxes.

Eric Trump, another son of the billionaire Republican and vice-president of the Trump Organization, was heard by the prosecutor in October 2020.

The family group is also the target of an investigation by the Manhattan federal prosecutor into suspicion of financial crimes and insurance fraud. In this context, the financial director of the Trump Organization Allen Weisselberg, loyal among the faithful of Donald Trump, had pleaded in July not guilty of tax evasion.

Mr. Weisselberg is notably accused of having deliberately withheld from the tax authorities, between 2005 and 2021, some $ 1.7 million in benefits in kind that he received from the Trump Organization, which would have saved him from paying close to ‘$ 1 million in federal and local taxes.

His trial is due to begin in the middle of this year.

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