After the election of Donald Trump as US President, the Trump Organization checked all company methods for illegalities, according to long-time CFO Allen Weisselberg.
"Mr. Trump became president and everyone looked at our company differently, including himself," Weisselberg testified before a court in New York, according to US media reports. "We felt at the time that we should review all of our methods that we had been using for years and make sure we corrected anything that needed correcting."
A lawsuit against Weisselberg and the Trump Organization has been going on in New York for about three weeks, among other things for tax fraud. The Trump Organization and another accused company in the group could face a fine of up to $1.7 million. Trump himself has not been charged.
Weisselberg admitted in his testimony that he and other employees had systematically cheated the tax authorities for years. Benefits such as luxury cars and expensive apartments were not taxed. Trump and members of his family signed many of the checks themselves, but were not part of the fraud, Weisselberg said.
In June 2021, Weisselberg resigned from his position as chief financial officer of the Trump Organization. A few weeks later he pleaded guilty to a total of 15 charges - including conspiracy, tax fraud, grand theft and falsifying business documents. The 75-year-old escaped a possible prison sentence of up to 15 years. Instead, he had to pay a total of almost two million US dollars in taxes and fines due and received five months in prison and five additional years of probation. In return, he agreed to testify against the company in the trial, but not against Trump himself.
When he took office as US President in January 2017, Trump announced his retirement from the top of his group of companies, which consists of many smaller companies. He had passed this on to Weisselberg and his sons Don Jr. and Eric Trump.