Manhattan DA Questions Deutsche Bank, Aon Over Trump Dealings
(Bloomberg) -- Prosecutors from the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. have interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank and insurance broker Aon as part of their investigation of the Trump Organization, according to people familiar with the matter.
The interviews, which were first reported by the New York Times, show that Vance’s probe, which had originally focused on possible books and records violations associated with a 2016 payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Donald Trump years before he became president, has extended to his family company’s interactions with other businesses.
“We can confirm that we received a subpoena from the office of the Manhattan District Attorney,” Aon spokeswoman Nadine Youssef said in a statement. “As is our policy, we intend to cooperate with all regulatory bodies. We do not comment on specific client matters.”
A case by a state prosecutor like Vance would be beyond the reach of the president’s pardon power, which only applies to federal crimes. Trump, who has pardoned a number of political allies, has raised the possibility that he will pardon himself before he leaves office on Jan. 20.
President-elect Joe Biden has already said that he does not plan to involve himself in any decisions by his Justice Department on whether to investigate Trump over an array of potential violations.
Vance’s investigation picked up where a federal case involving Trump left off. In 2018, federal prosecutors secured a guilty plea from Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer. Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple financial crimes, including a violation of campaign finance laws for his role in payments to Daniels and another woman, both of whom claimed to have had sexual encounters with Trump before he ran for president.
The government said the payments, made just before the 2016 election, constituted an illegal campaign contribution. Cohen has said Trump, identified in court filings as “individual one,” directed the payments.
In 2017, after Trump was elected, the Trump Organization repaid Cohen, disguising the money as a monthly retainer. It is against New York state law to falsify books and records as part of an effort to hide misconduct.
For more than a year, Vance’s office has been waging a legal battle to get access to eight years of the Trump Organization’s tax filings. That matter is now before the Supreme Court.
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