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Thursday, May 26, 2022
Home88 NewsNew York AG says Trump's company misled banks, tax officials

New York AG says Trump’s company misled banks, tax officials

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NEW YORK (AP) — The New York attorney general’s office late Tuesday told a court its investigators had uncovered evidence that former President Donald Trump’s company used “fraudulent or misleading” asset valuations to get loans and tax benefits.

The court filing said state authorities haven’t yet decided whether to bring a civil lawsuit in connection with the allegations, but that investigators need to question Trump and his two eldest children as part of the probe.

Trump and his lawyers say the investigation is politically motivated.

In the court documents, Attorney General Letitia James’ office gave its most detailed accounting yet of a long-running investigation of allegations that Trump’s company exaggerated the value of assets to get favorable loan terms, or misstated what land was worth to slash its tax

The Trump Organization, it said, had overstated the value of land donations made in New York and California on paperwork submitted to the IRS to justify several million dollars in tax deductions.

The company misreported the size of Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, saying it was nearly three times its actual size — a difference in value of about $200 million, James’ office said, citing deposition testimony from Trump’s longtime financial chief Allen Weisselberg, who was charged last year with tax fraud in a parallel criminal investigation.

James’ office detailed its findings in a court motion seeking to force Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. to comply with subpoenas seeking their testimony.

Investigators, the court papers said, had “developed significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions.”

Messages seeking comment were left with lawyers for the Trumps.

Trump’s legal team has sought to block the subpoenas, calling them “an unprecedented and unconstitutional maneuver.” They say James is improperly attempting to obtain testimony that could be used in the parallel criminal investigation, being overseen by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.Get the Everyone’s Talking newsletter in your inbox.

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Trump sued James in federal court last month, seeking to put an end to her investigation. In the suit, his lawyers claimed the attorney general, a Democrat, had violated the Republican’s constitutional rights in a “thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates.”

In the past, the Republican ex-president has decried James’ investigation and Bragg’s probe as part of a “witch hunt.”

In a statement late Tuesday, James office said that it hasn’t decided whether to pursue legal action, but said the evidence gathered so far shows the investigation should proceed unimpeded.

“For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and litigation in an attempt to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial dealings,” James said. “Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.”

Although James’ civil investigation is separate from the criminal investigation, her office has been involved in both, dispatching several lawyers to work side-by-side with prosecutors from the Manhattan D.A.’s office.

James’ office said that under state law, it could seek ”a broad range of remedies” against companies found to have committed commercial fraud, “including revoking a license to conduct business within the state, moving to have an officer or director removed from board of directors, and restitution and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains.”

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