The investigation into hush money for alleged Trump affairs had begun. Now the first criminal charge against the corporate empire of the ex-US president is on the table.
After years of investigation, the New York Public Prosecutor’s Office is bringing criminal charges against the Trump organization’s business practices for the first time. In the indictment published on Thursday in a New York court, the group and its CFO Allen Weisselberg are accused of systematically evading taxes for at least 15 years.
In the case of Weisselberg, this involves taxes on services worth more than $ 1.7 million. The 73-year-old and the Trump organization pleaded “not guilty”. Weisselberg presented himself to the authorities on Thursday.
According to the media, his former daughter-in-law provided decisive information against the chief financial officer. Among other things, this testified to the investigators that Weisselberg’s son received a free apartment and a generous salary while working for the Trump organization.
Will Trump also be charged?
“The purpose of the system was to compensate Weisselberg and other executives of the Trump organization in a way that was ‘off the books’,” the indictment said on Thursday. Accordingly, the beneficiaries received significant parts of their income in an indirect and disguised manner, which was not reported to the tax authorities.
The total of 15 charges include aggravated theft and tax fraud. The prosecution hopes to get Weisselberg to cooperate and testify against Trump in order to improve his own prospects in the case. In addition to family members, Weisselberg is a key figure in the company. No charges were brought against Trump personally on Thursday. However, this could theoretically happen at a later point in time.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has been investigating Trump and the Trump Organization since 2019. Initially it was about hush money payments to the porn actress Stormy Daniels and the former “Playboy” model Karen McDougal, who say they had affairs with Trump years ago. The investigation was then expanded to include possible tax, banking and insurance fraud.
Trump has denied all allegations and speaks of politically motivated investigations against him. In a statement, the Trump Organization accused the prosecutor of wanting to use Weisselberg as a pawn sacrifice. Attempts should be made to leave scorched earth behind and harm the former Republican President. “This is not justice; this is politics,” the message said.
Meanwhile, it is eagerly awaited whether the proceedings initiated on Thursday are only the first surcharge for further charges, possibly for members of Trump’s family or ultimately even the former head of government himself. New York Attorney General Letitia James emphasized that it is “ongoing criminal justice Investigation “act:” This investigation will continue and we will follow the facts and the law wherever they lead.
Luxury hotels, golf clubs, residential buildings
The real estate business of the ex-president is bundled in the Trump Organization, which consists of hundreds of individual companies. She owns luxury hotels, golf clubs, residential buildings, and commercial real estate in the United States and abroad. Probably the most famous property is the Trump Tower in New York, where Trump lived for a long time. The 75-year-old also used to own a number of casinos.
Trump took over the family business from his father, Fred Trump, in the 1970s. After winning the 2016 presidential election and taking office in January 2017, he handed over management of the business to his sons Donald Junior and Eric. The company reportedly has tens of thousands of employees.