The Manhattan District Attorney's Office is scheduled to file charges against the Trump Organization, the emporium of former President Donald Trump, on Thursday after concluding a criminal investigation into alleged fraud and tax irregularities. The Republican will not be charged, according to sources familiar with the investigation, but the firm and its financial director, Allen Weisselberg, will be charged with receiving benefits and perks such as apartments, luxury cars and private school fees without declaring the payments in species on your tax returns.
The filing of charges against the Trump emporium had been an open secret in the city for weeks, after the prosecution convened a grand jury to decide whether to appear. Rumors of an imminent indictment had multiplied in recent days. According to the CNN chain and the newspaper The New York Times, the lawyers of the Trump emporium and Weisselberg himself, a loyal servant of the tycoon for decades, will appear in court this Thursday.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who is retiring this year, has been working hard on his latest big case, paralleling New York Attorney General Letitia James' investigations. The two ongoing investigations into alleged tax fraud came together in May, when Vance's office opened a criminal one to determine if the former president could have undervalued some properties of his estate to partially avoid paying taxes. Both instances have been investigating Trump's businesses for possible tax and banking crimes for more than a year, but the confirmation of the collaboration between the two increased the pressure on the Republican. Both James and Vance are Democrats. Outside the White House, last February, Trump called the Manhattan prosecutor's case "fascist" and "politically motivated"; "The greatest witch hunt in US history."
The investigations by the Manhattan Prosecutor's Office began following a statement by Michel Cohen, Trump's former lawyer. In a hearing in Congress, on February 27, 2019, the former collaborator assured that the then president had inflated the value of several of his properties in his statements to the banks that lent him money, with the intention of obtaining better loans and insurance , while undervaluing them in his tax returns with the intention of paying less taxes. The district attorney's office has focused on two of the Trump family's most iconic properties: the Trump International Tower and Hotel in Chicago and the Trump Building in New York. Both instances have also analyzed the records of a farm in the New York county of Westchester.
Vance's case against the Trump Organization received a boost when in February he managed to get the Supreme Court to give the green light to his request to examine eight years of tax returns and thousands of documents, with the aim of determining whether the former president and his family committed tax fraud and swindled banks and insurance companies.
Weisselberg's lawyers declined to comment on the case on Wednesday, as did the Manhattan prosecutor's office. Ronald Fischetti, Trump's lawyer, told Reuters on Monday that he expected the charges to be limited to alleged tax irregularities.
In a statement released Monday, Trump accused prosecutors of bias and claimed that his consortium's activities "never incurred any crime." His lawyer also argued that Vance's case is unfounded, as never in the last century has a prosecutor investigated a company for additional benefits.
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