Friday, January 13, 2023

Donald Trump’s company has been fined $1.6 million after executives evaded taxes

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The fine — which was the maximum allowed by law — was the only penalty a judge could impose on the Trump Organization after it was convicted of 17 tax crimes last month, including conspiracy and falsifying business records.

Judge Juan Manuel Merchan gave the company 14 days to pay. However, a person convicted of the same crimes would have served years in prison, the AP reports.

Trump himself was not on trial and denied any knowledge of a small group of executives dodging taxes on perks including rent-free housing, luxury cars and private school fees.

Prosecutors said such items were part of what they called the Trump Organization’s “deluxe executive pay package.”

The company has denied the wrongdoing and said it would appeal.

In a statement following the fine, the company said, “These politically motivated prosecutors will stop at nothing to apprehend President Trump and continue the endless witch hunt that began the day he announced his presidency.”

Neither the former president nor his children, who helped run the Trump Organization, were in the courtroom.

While the fines – less than the cost of an apartment in Trump Tower – are not severe enough to affect the company’s operations or future, the conviction is a black mark on Trump’s reputation as a savvy businessman as he launches a campaign to regain it of the White House starts .

Outside the courtroom, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg — a Democrat — said he wished the law had allowed a heavier sentence.

“I want to be very clear: we don’t think that’s enough,” he said. “Our laws in this state must be changed to capture this type of systemic and egregious fraud that has been going on for decades.”

In addition to the company, only one executive was charged in the case.

Former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty to tax evasion for $1.7 million in compensation last summer, was sentenced Tuesday to five months in prison.

The criminal case concerned financial practices and wage agreements that the company stopped when Trump was elected president in 2016.

During his years as the company’s chief moneyman, Weisselberg was given a rent-free apartment in a Trump-branded building in Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River.

He and his wife drove Mercedes-Benz cars leased from the company. When his grandchildren went to an exclusive private school, Trump paid their tuition. A handful of other executives received similar perks.

Assistant District Attorney Joshua Steinglass had told the jury Trump had a role and shown them a lease that the Republican himself had signed for Weisselberg’s apartment.

“Mr. Trump specifically sanctions tax fraud,” Steinglass had argued.

Weisselberg also tried to take responsibility on the witness stand, saying no one in the Trump family knew what he was doing.

He choked as he told the jury, “It was my personal greed that led to this.”

During the trial, attorneys for the Trump Organization repeated the mantra: “Weisselberg did it for Weisselberg.”

However, the company struck a different tone in a statement on Friday. It said: “Allen Weisselberg is a victim.

“He was threatened, intimidated and terrorized. He had a choice of pleading guilty and serving 90 days in prison or serving the rest of his life in prison. All this with a company car and the usual benefits.”

Last month, the Jan. 6 House Committee voted to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department over Trump’s role in initiating the violent uprising in the US Capitol.

The FBI is also investigating Trump’s safekeeping of classified documents.

It was one of the biggest news stories of our time – and it’s still not over. So what did Boris Johnson know about the infamous Downing Street parties? With fresh revelations from our #10 sources, in their own words, listen to the inside story

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