Trump Organisation and CFO to be charged by grand jury on Thursday, report says

Move would mark first charges in a more than two-year probe

According to news reports, prosecutors in New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance's office may unveil an indictment against the Trump Organisation for allegedly failing to pay taxes on corporate benefits and perks.  EPA
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New York prosecutors are expected to charge the Trump Organisation and its long-serving chief financial officer with tax-related crimes on Thursday, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

They would mark the first criminal charges in a more than two-year investigation by the Manhattan district attorney into alleged fraud at former president Donald Trump's company.

The newspaper said Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organisation are expected to be charged with the evasion of taxes on fringe benefits, citing people familiar with the matter.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James have been investigating whether Mr Weisselberg and other executives avoided paying taxes on perks such as private-school tuition from the Trump Organisation, US media have reported.

The Wall Street Journal said that Mr Trump himself is not expected to be charged, although a criminal indictment would deal a major blow to the ex-Republican president who has condemned the probe as politically motivated.

The Trump Organisation is an unlisted family holding company that owns golf clubs, hotels and luxury properties.

Mr Trump handed over the reins of the business to his two eldest sons and to Mr Weisselberg when he went to the White House in early 2017.

Mr Weisselberg, 73, is often described as the keeper of the company's secrets.

New York prosecutors have been trying to have him to co-operate with their broad investigations into the Trump Organisation's finances.

The Manhattan District Attorney's office is probing whether the company regularly overvalued or undervalued its assets, particularly several properties in New York state, to either receive bank loans or reduce their taxes.

Michael Cohen, Mr Trump's former personal lawyer, has alleged that they did — allegations that could constitute possible tax evasion or insurance fraud.

The investigations also centre on eight years of Mr Trump's tax returns, obtained by the prosecutors in February after a long legal battle that went to the Supreme Court.

Mr Vance's probe initially focused on hush payments made to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump before the investigation was expanded.

Mr Cohen, jailed for tax evasion and violating campaign finance laws, was one of Mr Trump's closest confidants before turning against his former boss and deciding to co-operate with prosecutors.

Updated: July 01, 2021, 5:20 AM