News World US Donald Trump Trump company, boss to face criminal charges

Trump company, boss to face criminal charges

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The charges are expected to be revealed within hours, and Allen Weisselberg will face court. Photo: Getty
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Former US president Donald Trump’s namesake company and its chief financial officer have been indicted, a person familiar with the matter says.

They are the first charges to arise from a more than two-year probe by New York prosecutors of Mr Trump and his business dealings.

The charges by a Manhattan grand jury against the Trump Organisation and its CFO Allen Weisselberg are expected to be unsealed on Thursday (US time).

Mr Weisselberg was expected to surrender to authorities on Thursday morning, the person said. He would be formally charged in the New York Supreme Court in Manhattan on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Trump himself is not expected to be charged this week, his lawyer has said. However, the blowback from the case could complicate the former president’s political future as he considers a 2024 White House run.

The criminal case stems from the probe by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in collaboration with New York state Attorney-General Letitia James.

It is expected to focus on whether Mr Weisselberg and other officials received perks and benefits such as rent-free apartments and leased cars without reporting them properly on their tax returns, people familiar with the probe have said.

A spokesman for the Manhattan District Attorney declined to comment. A lawyer for Mr Weisselberg also declined to comment.

Lawyers for Mr Trump and the Trump Organisation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Mr Trump’s lawyer, Ronald Fischetti, told Reuters on Monday that prosecutors suggested the charges would be related to taxes and fringe benefits and said Mr Trump himself would not be charged in the indictment.

Mr Trump travelled to the Texan city of Weslaco, near the Mexican border on Wednesday to criticise President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. He had no response to questions shouted by reporters about the criminal charges.

In a statement on Monday, Mr Trump called prosecutors biased and said his company’s actions were “in no way a crime.”

The Trump Organisation could face fines and other penalties if convicted.

Charges could increase pressure on Mr Weisselberg to co-operate with prosecutors, which he has resisted. Mr Weisselberg is a close Trump confidant, making his co-operation potentially crucial to any future case against the former president.

Mr Vance, a Democrat, has in his nearly three-year investigation examined an array of potential wrongdoing, including whether Mr Trump’s company manipulated the value of its real estate to reduce its taxes and secure favourable loan terms.

Before entering the White House in 2017, Mr Trump put his company into a trust overseen by his adult sons and Mr Weisselberg, who has maintained tight control over its finances. It is unclear what role Mr Trump now has at the company.

-AAP