Donald Trump makes headlines yet again, but this time it’s not about his previous stint as the POTUS and all the buzz that’s been surrounding it. Unlike much of the previous year’s news cycles, it is not the person but the Trump Organization that is currently under fire.
The Former US President’s company and its finance chief have been charged with tax-related crimes in an unprecedented turn of events. Allen Weisselberg turned himself in to New York authorities last Thursday, where he was later charged with concealing $1.7M worth of income.
The tax scheme lasted for 15 long years and helped Trump’s executives evade taxes by giving benefits such as rent and school fees, all of which were hidden from the authorities. The firm’s lawyers and Mr. Weisselberg have since pleaded not guilty to tax fraud. There were no charges that were brought against Donald Trump, but prosecutors said the former president had signed some of the checks at the center of the case.
The Trump Organization is a family holding company that owns hotels, golf clubs, and other properties. It is the cornerstone of a global brand that fully encompasses TV shows, book deals, and towering skyscrapers. These current criminal charges are the first to arise from long-running investigations into alleged fraud by the Manhattan district attorney and the state attorney general.
District Attorney Cyrus Vance made his inquiry on whether Mr. Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives received benefits such as apartment rentals or leased cars without reporting them properly on their tax returns. The charges include tax fraud and falsifying business records.
Prosecutor Carey Dunne said that this was a “sweeping and audacious” scheme involving off-the-books payments. “It was orchestrated by the most senior executives who were financially benefiting themselves and the company by getting secret pay raises at the expense of state and federal taxpayers,” he added.
Donald Trump and his political allies have said that the investigations are politically motivated. The indictment was served as Mr. Trump has been discussing a potential comeback run for president in 2024. The former US President issued a statement lambasting the announcement:
“The political witch hunt by the radical left Democrats, with New York now taking over the assignment, continues. It is dividing our country like never before,” said Trump.
The Trump Organization made statements regarding Mr. Vance and his “using” of Mr. Weisselberg, who has worked for the organization for nearly 50 years. “This is a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president,” officially claimed the executives of the organization. “This is not justice; this is politics.”
During the court proceedings, prosecutor Carey Dunne denied the company’s claims by saying: “To address what this case is not about; It’s not about politics. This investigation, which is ongoing, has been thorough, careful and proper, and has been limited to subject matters within our New York jurisdiction.”
If the Trump Organization is found guilty, certain business partners might have to draw a line and sever their ties with the said organization. The city of New York has already announced that it will terminate contracts with the firm to run skating rinks, a carousel and a golf course in the aftermath of the US Capitol riots.
The investigations will also take into account eight years of Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, obtained by prosecutors after a long legal battle, which ended in the Supreme Court in February.
Through all of the charges being thrown against him and his company, the former US President has denied any wrongdoing personally or in his business. New York City has already cut business ties with the twice-impeached former president.