NYC prose­cu­tor sug­gests probe of Trump’s com­pany

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD - BY LARRY NEUMEISTER

NEW YORK — A New York City prose­cu­tor fight­ing to get Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s tax re­turns told a judge Mon­day he was jus­ti­fied in de­mand­ing them be­cause of pub­lic re­ports of “ex­ten­sive and pro­tracted crim­i­nal con­duct at the Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Man­hat­tan Dis­trict At­tor­ney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is seek­ing eight years of the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent’s per­sonal and cor­po­rate tax records, but has dis­closed lit­tle about what prompted him to re­quest the records, other than part of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­lated to pay­offs to two women to keep them quiet about al­leged af­fairs with Trump.

In a court fil­ing Mon­day, at­tor­neys for Vance, a Demo­crat, said the pres­i­dent wasn’t en­ti­tled to know the ex­act na­ture of the grand jury probe, which they called a “com­plex fi­nan­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

They noted, though, that at the time the sub­poena for the tax fil­ings was is­sued to Trump’s ac­coun­tants, “there were pub­lic al­le­ga­tions of pos­si­ble crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity” at the pres­i­dent’s com­pany “dat­ing back over a decade.”

They cited sev­eral news­pa­per ar­ti­cles, in­clud­ing one in which the Wash­ing­ton Post ex­am­ined al­le­ga­tions that Trump had a prac­tice of send­ing fi­nan­cial state­ments to po­ten­tial busi­ness part­ners and banks that in­flated the worth of his projects by claim­ing they were big­ger or more po­ten­tially lu­cra­tive than they ac­tu­ally were.

Another ar­ti­cle de­scribed con­gres­sional tes­ti­mony by Trump’s for­mer lawyer, Michael Co­hen, who said the pres­i­dent would over­state the value of his busi­ness in­ter­ests to im­press peo­ple or lenders, but then deflate the value of as­sets when try­ing to re­duce his taxes.

The at­tor­neys also cited re­ports of past non-crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tions by New York reg­u­la­tors into whether the con­duct de­scribed by Co­hen amounted to bank or in­surance fraud.

“These re­ports de­scribe trans­ac­tions in­volv­ing in­di­vid­ual and cor­po­rate ac­tors based in New York County, but whose con­duct at times ex­tended be­yond New York’s bor­ders. This pos­si­ble crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity oc­curred within the ap­pli­ca­ble statutes of lim­i­ta­tions, par­tic­u­larly if the trans­ac­tions in­volved a con­tin­u­ing pat­tern of con­duct,” the lawyers said.

Trump’s le­gal team has ar­gued that the sub­poena for his tax fil­ings was is­sued in bad faith and amounted to ha­rass­ment of the pres­i­dent.

Speak­ing to re­porters later Mon­day,

Trump called the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion another at­tempt by Democrats to dam­age him.

“This is just a con­tin­u­a­tion of the witch hunt. It’s Demo­crat stuff. They failed with Mueller. They failed with ev­ery­thing. They failed with Congress. They failed at ev­ery stage of the game. This has been go­ing on for three and a half, four years,” Trump said, re­fer­ring to spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion of al­leged Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the 2016 elec­tion.

The Supreme Court last month re­jected claims by Trump’s lawyers that the pres­i­dent could not be crim­i­nally in­ves­ti­gated while he was in of­fice.

Vance’s lawyers urged U.S. Dis­trict Judge Vic­tor Mar­rero to swiftly re­ject Trump’s fur­ther ar­gu­ments that the sub­poe­nas were im­proper, say­ing the base­less claims were threat­en­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“Ev­ery day that goes by is another day Plain­tiff ef­fec­tively achieves the ‘tem­po­rary ab­so­lute im­mu­nity’ that was re­jected by this Court, the Court of Ap­peals, and the Supreme Court,” Vance’s lawyers said.

Chicago-based pri­vate eq­uity firm GCM Grosvenor said Mon­day it will be­come a pub­licly traded com­pany af­ter a merger with an af­fil­i­ate of the New York in­vest­ment firm Can­tor Fitzger­ald.

GCM Grosvenor, which re­ports $57 bil­lion in as­sets un­der man­age­ment, said it will merge with CF Fi­nance Ac­qui­si­tion, a Nas­daq-listed com­pany. The com­bined firm will use the GCM Grosvenor name and be led by its se­nior man­agers, in­clud­ing Chair­man Michael Sacks.

Can­tor Fitzger­ald, share­hold­ers of CF Fi­nance and other in­vestors will own less than 30% of the new com­pany. The deal val­ues GCM Grosvenor at $2 bil­lion.

Ex­ec­u­tives said the merger, sub­ject to ap­proval of CF Fi­nance share­hold­ers, should close in the fourth quar­ter.

Terms call for Can­tor Fitzger­ald to pro­vide $30 mil­lion and for in­sti­tu­tional in­vestors to buy $195 mil­lion in shares at $10 each.

“We be­lieve that be­com­ing a pub­licly listed com­pany will ben­e­fit our clients, our team mem­bers and all of our stake­hold­ers,” Sacks said. “We have long val­ued hav­ing ex­ter­nal share­hold­ers, and we wanted to pre­serve the ac­count­abil­ity and fo­cus that comes with that.”

Sacks is an in­vestor in Sun­Times Me­dia.

GCM Grosvenor said there will be no change in the firm’s in­vest­ment and op­er­a­tional prac­tices. It said cash from the deal will be used to pay down debt, ex­pand the busi­ness and pay $150 mil­lion to sell­ing share­hold­ers, in­clud­ing Hell­man & Fried­man,

which has had a mi­nor­ity stake in GCM Grosvenor since 2007.

“We have long re­spected the GCM Grosvenor man­age­ment team, their cul­ture and con­tin­ued abil­ity to de­liver for their clients,” said Howard Lut­nick, chair­man of both Can­tor Fitzger­ald and CF Fi­nance. “We look for­ward to their growth and suc­cess as a pub­lic com­pany.”

A source said the new out­side in­vestors in­clude Cit­i­group banker Michael Klein.

Aside from its Chicago base, GCM Grosvenor has of­fices in New York, Los An­ge­les, Lon­don, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Seoul. It in­vests clients’ money in a va­ri­ety of strate­gies.

CF Fi­nance is a type of spe­cial pur­pose ac­qui­si­tion com­pany, some­times called a “blank check com­pany,” that raises money through a stock of­fer­ing to fund a fu­ture merger or ac­qui­si­tion. Its shares closed at $10.43 on Mon­day, down 4 cents for the day.

FRANK FRANKLIN II/AP

Man­hat­tan Dis­trict At­tor­ney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. is seek­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s tax re­turns.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump

Michael Sacks

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.