Trump Organisation, CFO charged for alleged tax fraud

SABC News

Image: ReutersTrump Organisation’s CFO, Allen Weisselberg.

Donald Trump’s namesake company and longtime financial chief pleaded not guilty on Thursday to what a New York prosecutor called a “sweeping and audacious” tax fraud, arising from a probe into the former US president’s business and its practices.

The indictment against the Trump Organisation and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg is the first in a nearly three-year investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, which New York Attorney General Letitia James joined in May.

It could undermine the Trump Organisation’s relationships with banks and business partners, and complicate Trump’s political future as the Republican resumes addressing rallies and mulls a 2024 White House run.

Trump himself has not been charged, and renewed his claim that the probe was a political “witch hunt.” Vance and James are Democrats. Prosecutors accused the Trump Organisation and Weisselberg of having since 2005 defrauded tax authorities by awarding “off the books” benefits to company executives.

Weisselberg, 73, was charged with concealing $1.76 million of income, including rent for a Manhattan apartment, lease payments for two Mercedes-Benz vehicles and tuition for family members, with Trump signing checks for the tuition himself. Prosecutors said this enabled Weisselberg, who has worked for Trump for about 48 years, to evade roughly $900 000 in taxes and collect $133 000 in refunds he did not deserve.

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