tax fraud | The Trump Organization and the CFO plead not guilty

(New York) The Trump Organization and the company of former president and chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg on Thursday pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of tax evasion, a blow to the former Republican president’s affairs that recalled the entire dossier. “Witch Hunt”.

Catherine Triumvi
France media agency

Allen Weisselberg, 73, a loyalist to former President Donald Trump, arrived at the court at about 2:15 p.m., his hands behind his back handcuffed.

After pleading his innocence and handing over his passport, he was released pending a new hearing on September 20 to prepare for his trial.

According to one of the attorneys general, Carrie Dunn, the company of Donald Trump and this very conservative man, since 2005, have created “a vast and audacious system of illegal payments.”

According to the indictment published after the hearing, Mr Weiselberg and this unlisted company “systematically acted” in a way that undervalued the wages of the latter and other employees not mentioned, in order to pay taxes “significantly less” than the amounts actually owed.

Mr Weisselberg – who has worked in the Trump family since 1973 – is privately accused, between 2005 and 2021, of deliberately withholding about $1.7 million in benefits in kind from the tax authorities.

These benefits include his apartment on the upscale Upper West Side of Manhattan, two Mercedes rentals for himself and his wife, or cash for his vacation.

This invisible man, who officially earned about $940,000 annually between 2011 and 2018, is also accused of lying by claiming he is not a resident of New York City, to reduce his taxes.

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According to legal experts, the most serious charges could lead to up to 15 years in prison.

‘It’s dividing our country’

After the hearing, one of the Trump Organization’s lawyers, Alan Wouterfas, dismissed the entire case as “politically motivated.”

Donald Trump has again accused the two attorneys general heading the case — Manhattan Attorney General Cyrus Vance and New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who are both Democrats — of “continuing a witch hunt,” a term he has used throughout his tenure toward its critics.


Attorney General Cyrus Vance

“This is dividing our country like never before,” said the former Republican president, who maintains ambiguity about the possibility of a new presidential run in 2024.

His allegations were refuted by Attorney General Carrie Dunn.

“Contrary to what the company claims, this is not standard business practice,” Dunn told the hearing. It was organized by executives at the highest level in the company, who benefited financially by getting secret raises. ”

Democratic President Joe Biden, in an interview during a trip to Florida, declined to comment on this issue regarding his predecessor’s affairs.

Trump survived, for now

The indictments announced Thursday are the first fruits of an investigation launched more than two years ago by Cyrus Vance, then joined by Letitia James.

Mr. Vance struggled for months to get the tax returns of the former New York magnate, the first US president since the 1970s not to publish them.

Neither the former president nor any member of his family was involved at this point.

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But Letitia James cautioned after the hearing, but “the investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts wherever they take us.”

Trump’s critics make no secret of their hope that he will be personally challenged. Like his former lawyer Michael Cohen, who was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 and who has since cooperated with investigators against his former boss.

The object of this investigation is not Allen Weiselberg […] “It’s Trump himself,” he told CNN Thursday.

Even if Trump himself is not targeted, the indictments should come as a blow to his company, Beverly Moran, a law professor at Vanderbilt University, told AFP.

She explained that when a company is charged, the banks that finance it usually rush to ask them to pay their debts. She said the Trump Organization – which includes golf clubs, luxury hotels and other real estate – is heavily indebted and could “put her in a difficult financial position”.

Donald Trump was, in 2016, the first billionaire to enter the White House.

When he left for Washington, he refused to give up his business, as ethics experts recommended, simply handing the reins over to Allen Wesselberg and his two oldest sons, Donald Jr and Eric Trump.

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