USA: Tax fraud: Trump real estate company found guilty

The real estate group of former US President Donald Trump has been found guilty in a trial in New York, among other things, of tax fraud.

USA: Tax fraud: Trump real estate company found guilty

The real estate group of former US President Donald Trump has been found guilty in a trial in New York, among other things, of tax fraud. After around two days of deliberations, a jury found the branched company construct guilty on all 17 charges, as Manhattan's chief prosecutor Alvin Bragg announced yesterday.

The sentence is to be announced on January 13th. Ex-President Trump was not personally accused. However, according to Bragg, this is the first criminal conviction of his group.

"This was a trial of greed and fraud," Bragg said. "In Manhattan, no company is above the law." New York State Attorney General Letitia James said, "We cannot have any tolerance for individuals or organizations that violate the law to line their pockets." Lawyers for the Trump Organization said they would appeal.

Systematically cheated the Treasury for years

In addition to the Trump Organization and another Trump company accused, the long-time CFO of the group, Allen Weisselberg, who had already pleaded guilty, was accused. He had testified that he and other employees had systematically cheated the tax authorities for years. Monetary benefits such as luxury cars and expensive apartments were not taxed.

With his confession, the 75-year-old escaped a possible prison sentence of up to 15 years. Instead, he was ordered to pay a combined total of nearly $2 million in taxes and fines due and received five months in prison and an additional five years' probation.

The Trump Organization and another accused company in the group could face a fine of up to $1.7 million. While the sum shouldn't particularly hurt the company, the group's image could suffer severely. And Trump himself could also harm the verdict.

When he entered the White House in January 2017, the ex-president announced that he was stepping down from the helm of his group of companies, which consists of a large number of companies. He had passed this on to Weisselberg and his sons Don Jr. and Eric Trump.

Trump is considered politically weakened

Three weeks ago, Trump announced that he would run again as a Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election. After his party's poor performance in the US midterm elections, however, he is considered politically weakened.

Trump, who had loudly interfered in the election campaign with extreme positions and public support for right-wing candidates, was also blamed by his own party colleagues for the fact that the Republicans had won fewer seats in Congress in the so-called midterms than was widely expected.

His party was unable to win back the majority in the US Senate and ended up just ahead of the Democrats in the distribution of seats in the House of Representatives.

Not the only problem with the US judiciary

Trump is embroiled in legal battles on several fronts. Shortly before the end of his term in office, angry Trump supporters violently stormed the Capitol in Washington on January 6, 2021, after a presidential rally, where Congress was about to officially seal the election victory of his Democratic challenger Joe Biden. A committee of inquiry in the US House of Representatives is still working on the attack on the Capitol.

Trouble threatens Trump elsewhere: the FBI federal police searched his Mar-a-Lago property on August 8 and confiscated, among other things, confidential and sometimes top-secret documents. Because Trump kept government papers, some of which are subject to strict protections because of their sensitive content, in his private estate, there were investigations into whether he might have broken the law.

Trump denies the allegations and describes the actions of the authorities against him as a politically motivated attempt to deprive him of another presidency.

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