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Sunday, 26 September 2021

Trump's company, CFO charged in tax fraud case

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Trump's company, CFO charged in tax fraud case
Trump's company, CFO charged in tax fraud case

Donald Trump's namesake company and longtime financial chief pleaded not guilty on Thursday to criminal charges in a sweeping indictment, arising from a probe into the former U.S. president's company and its business practices.

This report produced by Chris Dignam.

Donald Trump's longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and lawyers for the former U.S. president's company walked out of Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday after pleading not guilty to what New York prosecutors called "a sweeping and audacious illegal payment scheme." NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES: "The indictment speaks for itself." The Trump Organization and Weisselberg were charged with 15 criminal counts, including tax fraud and falsifying business records, in an alleged scheme that stretches back to 2005 to defraud federal, state and local tax authorities by awarding "off the books" benefits to company executives to avoid paying taxes.

TRUMP LAWYER ALAN FUTERFAS: "We're certainly hopeful that there will not be significant effects." Lawyers for the Trump Organization told reporters that the company was "very optimistic" the indictment would not significantly hurt the former president's business, and claimed repeatedly that the still-ongoing investigation was politically motivated.

FUTERFAS: "If the name of this company was something else, I don't think these charges would have been brought." Prosecutors said at Thursday's arraignment that the alleged scheme "was orchestrated by the most senior executives who were financially benefiting themselves and the company." According to the indictment, Weisselberg, who has worked for Trump for 48 years, allegedly concealed more than $1.7 million in income including rent for a Manhattan apartment, lease payments for two Mercedes Benz vehicles and tuition for family members.

While Trump himself was not charged, the case could complicate what appears to be a likely 2024 White House run.

The former president, who has denied wrongdoing, said in a statement: "The political Witch Hunt by the Radical Left Democrats, with New York now taking over the assignment, continues.

It is dividing our Country like never before!" Trump also faces at least 17 other investigations and lawsuits, including a criminal probe into whether Trump tried to improperly influence Georgia election officials in last year's vote.

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