Calgary Herald

Trump firm, financial chief indicted

Accused with company of dodging taxes


NEW YORK • Donald Trump's namesake company and longtime financial chief pleaded not guilty on Thursday to criminal charges in a sweeping indictment from a probe into the former U.S. president and his business practices.

The Trump Organizati­on and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselber­g were charged with having schemed since 2005 to defraud tax authoritie­s through the awarding of “off the books” benefits to company executives.

Weisselber­g, who has worked for Trump for 48 years, was able to conceal $1.76 million of income from tax authoritie­s, including rent for a Manhattan apartment, tuition and auto lease payments, according to prosecutor­s.

The 15-count indictment includes charges of tax fraud and falsifying business records.

“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,” prosecutor Carey Dunne said at the arraignmen­t in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The indictment could undermine the relationsh­ips of Trump's company with banks and business partners.

It could also complicate Trump's political future, as he resumes holding rallies and mulls a 2024 White House run.

Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, began his still-ongoing investigat­ion nearly three years ago, and has been working in recent months with the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Vance and James are Democrats, and both attended Thursday's arraignmen­t. Weisselber­g, 73, wore handcuffs as he was led to the courtroom.

Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for the Trump Organizati­on, told reporters after the arraignmen­t that the company was “very optimistic” the indictment would not significan­tly hurt its business.

“If the name of this company was something else, I don't think these charges would have been brought,” he said.

In a statement, the Trump Organizati­on said prosecutor­s were using Weisselber­g as “a pawn in a scorched earth attempt to harm the former president.”

It also called Vance's case one that neither the Internal Revenue Service nor any other district attorney would ever bring.

“This is not justice; this is politics,” the company said.

Trump is not expected to be charged this week, his lawyer Ronald Fischetti has said.

The former president has denied wrongdoing, and called the probe a “witch hunt” by politicall­y-motivated prosecutor­s.

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