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Trump Organization indicted for tax evasion, CFO pleads not guilty


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The CFO of the Trump Organization, the family group of Donald Trump, was indicted Thursday on fifteen counts of tax evasion. Allen Weisselberg, a loyalist to the former US president, has pleaded not guilty.

American justice is slowly but surely approaching Donald Trump’s business. His family group, the Trump Organization, was indicted in Manhattan court on Thursday 1er July, as a legal person for tax crimes. Also targeted by the complaint, the group’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, immediately pleaded not guilty to 15 charges related to tax evasion.

Allen Weisselberg, 73, a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump, arrived in court around 2:15 p.m. (6:15 p.m. GMT) with his hands behind his back, handcuffed.

The indictment seen by AFP targets Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization.

Allen Weisselberg is notably accused of having deliberately concealed from the tax authorities, between 2005 and 2021, some $ 1.7 million in benefits in kind that he received from the Trump Organization, which would have avoided paying nearly a million dollars in federal and local taxes.

He is also accused of having wrongly claimed not to be a resident of New York City, to avoid taxes.

The Trump Organization is accused of helping to cover up these benefits.

Allen Weisselberg’s lawyer, Mary Mulligan, had indicated before the hearing that he would “fight against these charges”.

The Trump Organization has accused prosecutor Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, who has been investigating possible wrongdoing within the group for more than two years, of politically motivated prosecutions.

“Manhattan District Attorney is launching employee benefits lawsuits that neither the tax authorities nor any other attorney would consider launching,” said a spokesperson for the family business, which is headquartered in the tower. Trump, on the famous 5th avenue.

Allen Weisselberg “is used as a pawn by the Manhattan prosecutor (…) to try to harm former president” Donald Trump, he added. “This is not justice, this is politics.”

Among the benefits in kind the CFO is accused of concealing is his apartment in Manhattan’s upscale Upper West Side.

Trump “not yet out of the woods”

These indictments are the first fruits of an investigation launched more than two years ago by Cyrus Vance and in which also participates the Attorney General of the State of New York, Letitia James, also elected Democrat.

Cyrus Vance notably fought for months to obtain the tax returns of the former New York magnate, the first American president since the 1970s not to have published them.

The former Republican president, who maintains ambiguity over a possible new presidential candidacy in 2024 and held his first major meeting last week since leaving Washington, has not been questioned at this stage, nor no member of his family. But “the investigation will continue, and we will follow the facts wherever they take us,” warned prosecutor Letitia James after the hearing.

Donald Trump was, in 2016, the first billionaire to enter the White House. When he left for Washington, he refused to sell his business and simply left the reins to Allen Weisselberg and his two eldest sons, Donald Junior and Eric Trump.

One of the lawyers for the Trump Organization had admitted earlier this week, after being warned of the charges to come this week, that Donald Trump was “not yet out of the woods”.

Many of the former president’s opponents publicly rejoice in his company’s legal setbacks and impatiently wait for him to be directly implicated. His former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, the first in Trump’s entourage to be indicted and then sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 after pleading guilty, tweeted Wednesday “pray for that day.”

With AFP



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