US

Trump firm guilty of defrauding tax authorities for more than 15 years

Donald Trump’s real estate company has been found guilty of running a criminal scheme to defraud tax authorities for 15 years.

The scheme operated by The Trump Organization included avoiding paying personal income taxes on perks such as rent-free apartments and luxury cars.

“The smorgasbord of benefits is designed to keep its top executives happy and loyal,” prosecutor Joshua Steinglass told
jurors during his closing argument on Friday.

The firm, which operates hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world had pleaded not guilty.

The former US president was not personally charged in the case.

The Trump Organization had argued that chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, 75, ran the scheme to benefit himself.

He is on paid leave and testified that he received more than $1m in salary and bonus payments this year.

The firm will be sentenced on 13 January. Trump Organization lawyer Alan Futerfas told reporters the company would appeal.

While the firm now faces paying a fine, it is considered unlikely that it would cause serious damage to a company of its size. The group comprises about 500 business entities.

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However, the conviction could make lenders and partners think twice.

The Trump Organization also faces a fraud lawsuit brought by New York state Attorney General Letitia James.

And Donald Trump himself is being investigated by the US Department of Justice over his handling of sensitive government documents after he left office in January 2021 – and attempts to overturn the November 2020 election, which he lost to Joe Biden.

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