Trump fined $10,000 a day unless he cooperates with tax investigation

New York | A New York judge on Monday ordered former US President Donald Trump to pay $10,000 a day as long as he refuses to submit accounting and tax documents as part of a civil investigation with his group.

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“This is a huge victory, a court has ruled in our favour, convicting Donald Trump of obstruction,” New York state attorney general, Democrat-elect Letitia James wrote on Twitter.

“Donald Trump has to pay $10,000 a day for every day he continues to defy a court order to deliver documents to my office,” said the attorney general, who has been investigating since March 2019. Possible fraud in the Trump Organization’s tax practices, which include buildings, hotels and golf courses in particular.

“We intend to appeal,” Alina Heba, one of US President Donald Trump’s lawyers, replied in an email to AFP. According to her, “All documents related to the subpoena were submitted to the Attorney General months ago.”

On February 17, Letitia James obtained that New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron had ordered billionaire Republicans and his two children, Donald Jr and Ivanka, to testify under oath as part of this investigation, as she suspects fraudulent tax practices. The decision was appealed against by the Trump family, who accuse Leticia James of political motives.

Trump Tower

But the court also requested before March 31 a series of accounting and tax documents on the Trump Organization. Facing the Trump camp’s disapproval, Letitia James hit back before the same Supreme Court judge, asking the former president to take responsibility for “obstructing his refusal to comply with the court order.”

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The New York attorney general suspects that the Trump Organization “fraudulently” overestimated real estate when applying for bank loans and undervalued tax authorities to pay lower taxes.

Among the assets targeted are two golf courses, or even a luxury apartment in Trump Tower in Manhattan that would have been declared three times larger than its actual size, an overestimated estimate of nearly $200 million.

Letitia James can sue the Trump Organization for damages if wrongdoing is found, but she cannot take the case to criminal proceedings.

Parallel to this civil investigation, the Manhattan Attorney General’s Office is conducting a separate criminal investigation into possible financial fraud within the Trump Group. The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, a loyal supporter of the former president, have been accused of tax evasion and have pleaded not guilty. The trial is scheduled to begin this year.

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