Trump defrauded asset value to build real estate empire, judge says

New York | Portal and The New York Times

Donald Trump is guilty of fraud by overstating the value of his assets in bank statements to banks and insurance companies, judge Arthur Engoron ruled this Tuesday (26) as part of an ongoing case initiated by the Attorney General of the State of New York. York (USA) in September last year.

According to Engoron, the former US president and his company’s directors repeatedly lied about financial reports and assets to obtain loans with better terms and cheaper insurance, strategies that violated the law. The Republican’s defense says he will appeal the decision.

The inflated values ​​include Trump’s resort in MaraLago, Florida, his penthouse in Trump Tower in Manhattan, and several other buildings and golf courses owned by the Republican his net worth would have been exaggerated by up to US$2.2 billion in some statements Dollar.

“He [Trump] “claims that if property values ​​have increased in the years since the financial statements were filed, the numbers at that time were not inflated,” Engoron wrote. “He also seems to suggest that the figures cannot be inflated because he was able to find a ‘Saudi Arabia buyer’ must pay whatever price he suggests.”

Engoron’s decision comes ahead of a trial scheduled to begin next Monday (2) and could mean a smoother path for Attorney General Letitia James, author of the fraud lawsuit against Trump.

The judge’s decision limits the scope of the trial scheduled for the 2nd, since in practice he found that the hearing was not necessary to determine whether the essence of the Attorney General’s arguments was valid, that is, that there was fraud in the case present. Therefore, the process must fundamentally deal with the amount of damages.

The former president denies unlawful behavior and accuses the Democratic Party’s James of political persecution. His lawyers say the banks that lent Trump money probably wouldn’t be victims because they would have made a profit.

Ergoron ordered sanctions against Trump’s lawyers for making arguments he had already rejected each of them must pay $7,500.

Trump could delay and complicate the process even further. The former president has already sued Engoron and is waiting for an appeals court to decide the suit’s fate later this week if the appeals court rejects Trump’s lawsuit, he will have to deal with the rest of the case in court.

The attorney general began investigating the former president in March 2019 and filed a lawsuit against him last September, accusing him of committing “significant” fraud in declaring the value of his buildings, hotels and golf clubs, among other things.

The lawsuit, which also names two of Trump’s children and his company as defendants, seeks a fine of about $250 million and the separation of the Trump family from leadership of the company, the Trump Organization.

The case is a civil lawsuit in New York state that is unrelated to the four criminal cases against the former president. In one of these criminal cases, Trump is accused of illegally taking secret national security documents with him after leaving the White House.

An investigation into the possession of confidential documents also affects American President Joe Biden. In January, secret papers from when he was a senator and vice president of the country were found in an office belonging to Biden and in his home in the state of Delaware.

According to ABC News, around a hundred witnesses have already been interviewed as part of the federal investigation, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken. According to the station, some of the interviews took place last week.