SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 20 May 2024, Monday |

Trump company’s CFO surrenders ahead of expected criminal tax charges

The top financial officer of the Trump Organization surrendered to authorities on Thursday, as he and Donald Trump’s namesake company prepare to face the first criminal charges stemming from a long-running investigation against the former president.

Allen Weisselberg, a longtime Trump business associate who assisted in the management of Trump’s real estate enterprise during his administration, entered a Manhattan criminal court building.

According to a source familiar with the situation, Weisselberg and the Trump Organization are anticipated to be charged later today in the investigation by the district attorney, Cyrus Vance.

In a statement, the Trump Organization accused prosecutors of using Weisselberg as a pawn to go after the former president, ABC News said. A copy of the statement was not immediately available.

Trump himself is not expected to be charged this week, though prosecutors have said their probe into his company is continuing, his lawyer Ronald Fischetti has said.

The former president, a Republican,has denied wrongdoing, and called the probe a “witch hunt” by politically-motivated prosecutors. Vance is a Democrat.

Thursday’s charges are expected to focus on whether Weisselberg and other executives received perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars, without reporting them properly on their tax returns, people familiar with the probe have said.

Investigators from the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James have also been cooperating with Vance’s office.

Prosecutors suspected the allegations would be related to taxes and fringe benefits, Fischetti said on Monday.

“This is going to be their first strike,” Fischetti said.

Weisselberg’s lawyer, Mary Mulligan, has declined to comment on probable accusations.

Trump labeled prosecutors “biased” and said his company’s activities were “in no way a crime” in a statement released on Monday.

The case’s fallout might hamper Trump’s political future as he explores a run for the White House in 2024.

The Trump Organization could face fines and other penalties if convicted.

FOCUS ON PERKS, GIFTS

Charges could increase pressure on Weisselberg to cooperate with prosecutors, which he has resisted.

The assistance of Weisselberg could be vital in any future action against his old boss.

The Trump Organization is a private family-owned company that owns and runs hotels, golf courses, and resorts all over the world.

The indictment could jeopardize the Trump Organization’s connections with financial institutions and commercial partners.

In November 2016, Trump, a Republican, was elected president.

He put his company into a trust controlled by his adult sons and Weisselberg, who has retained tight control over company finances, before joining the White House in January 2017.

Weisselberg and his son Barry have received perks and gifts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to court papers, public records, and subpoenaed documents, including several real estate benefits.

The matter could be investigated as a corporation conspiracy to pay people off the books in order to hide assets over a long period of time.

Vance has looked at a number of possible wrongdoings, including if Trump’s company altered the value of its real estate to save money on taxes and get better credit conditions.

Trump’s current position with the company is unknown.

    Source:
  • Reuters