Trump Organization, CFO to Be Charged Thursday in Vance Probe
(Bloomberg) -- The Trump Organization and Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg were charged by a grand jury in Manhattan Wednesday, in the first cases to emerge from a multiyear investigation of the former president’s company, a person familiar with the matter said.
The charges will remain sealed until Thursday, the person said requesting not to be identified discussing confidential matters. The Washington Post first reported the indictment.
Weisselberg is expected to turn himself into authorities Thursday morning. Neither Donald Trump nor his sons are expected to be included in the charges, which will be detailed in the afternoon, according to people familiar. The case, part of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s criminal probe, will involve unpaid taxes on benefits extended to Weisselberg, including a company car and corporate apartment, one of the people said.
A spokesman for Vance’s office declined to comment. Weisselberg’s lawyer, Mary Mulligan, also declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Trump didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Trump, appearing on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News Wednesday, wasn’t asked about the indictments, but lashed out at New York prosecutors.
”They come after me,” Trump said. “New York radical left prosecutors come after me. You got to always fight. You got to keep fighting. It’s a disgusting thing. It’s very unfair.”
Any charges against Weisselberg, 73, will raise the pressure on the longtime, loyal Trump aide to turn on his boss. Weisselberg has served the family for more than 40 years and is the only person not named Trump whom the ex-president trusts with his money. He’s negotiated Trump’s loans, is a co-signer on his accounts, helps arrange his taxes, and, with Trump’s sons Don Jr. and Eric, oversaw the trust that held all of Trump’s assets while he was in office.
As for the company, “the direct consequences of any criminal conviction could be a massive fine or it could include some type of probation,” said Miriam Baer, a former federal prosecutor now a professor of corporate and white-collar crime at Brooklyn Law School. “It might also include some type of court supervision.”
Vance’s investigation initially looked at the Trump Organization’s reimbursement, through Weisselberg’s office, of hush-money payments made by Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer. In the run-up to the 2016 election, Cohen paid two women claiming to have had affairs with Trump. Trump has denied the affairs.
The district attorney’s investigation has since grown into a review of the company’s dealings with a variety of outside business entities, including Deutsche Bank AG and Ladder Capital, where one of Weisselberg’s sons works. Earlier this year, New York Attorney General Letitia James joined the probe, after spending many months looking at the company’s business practices, including its valuation of properties.
The matter has already been twice to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ordered Trump’s accountants at Mazars LLP to turn over his tax returns and business records to Vance. The D.A. obtained them in February.
Since then, prosecutors have focused on Weisselberg. In an effort to gain leverage over him, they have examined an array of perks that the Trump Organization bestowed on favored employees, including his son, Barry Weisselberg, who managed Trump-run New York City properties like Wollman Rink before those concessions were revoked by Mayor Bill de Blasio this year. He was provided a rent-free apartment in a Trump building starting in 2005, Bloomberg reported.
The Trump Organization also paid the private-school tuitions for Allen Weisselberg’s grandchildren. Such perks are usually taxable as income, and intentional failure to report them would be a crime.
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