The New York attorney general’s office said a civil investigation has found evidence that the company of former US President Donald Trump used “misleading or fraudulent” asset assessments to obtain loans and tax credits.
State authorities have not yet decided whether to file a civil lawsuit over the allegations, according to court documents, but investigators need to question Trump and his two oldest sons as part of the investigation.
The Trump Organization issued a statement calling the investigation “baseless” and politically motivated.
In court documents, Attorney General Letitia James’s office provided its most detailed description yet of its lengthy investigation into allegations that the Trump Corporation repeatedly miscalculated the value of its assets to obtain favorable terms in the form of loans or reduce its tax burden.
According to prosecutors, the Trump Organization exaggerated the value of land donations in New York and California in documents submitted to the US Treasury Department’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to justify the multi-million dollar tax deductions.
James’s office said, citing the testimony of the person who had been the company’s chief financial officer for many years, Allen Weisselberg.
The person who was a financial officer was charged last year with tax fraud in a parallel criminal investigation.
James’ office detailed its findings in a court order to compel Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr to cooperate with the subpoenas.
In court documents, investigators said they “gathered significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset assessments to obtain a variety of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions.”
“The only person misleading the public is Letitia James,” the Trump Organization said in its statement.
“It has failed New Yorkers by basing its campaign entirely on a promise to punish Trump at any cost without an iota of evidence and in violation of every conceivable moral standard,” the Trump Organization said.
“Three years later, she is facing the harsh reality of having no case at all,” he added.
Trump’s legal team tried to block the subpoenas, which he called an “unconstitutional and unprecedented move.” Lawyers say James is improperly seeking testimony that can be used in the parallel criminal investigation, which is being overseen by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump sued James in federal court last month in an effort to end his investigation. In the lawsuit, his attorneys alleged that the attorney general, a Democrat, had violated the former Republican president’s constitutional rights in a “disguised attempt to publicly criticize Trump and his cronies.”
The former president has in the past dismissed the James and Bragg investigations as a “witch hunt”.
In a statement issued Tuesday night, James’ office said it had not yet decided whether to pursue the trial, although evidence gathered so far shows that the investigation should continue unimpeded.
“For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used stalling and litigation tactics to try to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial operations,” James said. “To date, our investigation has uncovered significant evidence indicating that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization have falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented these values to financial institutions for financial gain.”
Although the civil investigation of James is separate from the criminal investigation, his office was involved in both and sent several attorneys to work with the Manhattan attorney general’s office.
James’ office said he could pursue “a wide range of remedies” under state law against companies found to have committed business fraud, “such as revoking a license to do business in the state, interfering with the removal of a member or director of the board and reportedly (… Profits earned illegally.
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