It has been a long-standing practise at Donald Trump’s company to engage in aggressive accounting manoeuvres, which includes classifying many of its executives’ personal expenses as business expenses.
Trump’s personal residences are considered to be a part of the company. His aircraft are also in good condition. More than $70,000 in payments for his haircuts, as well as nearly $100,000 in payments to a hair and makeup artist for Ivanka Trump, fall into the same category as these sums. Following an investigation conducted by the New York Times in 2016, it was revealed that the company classified as an investment property an estate in suburban New York that Eric Trump had once described as “a retreat for the Trump family.”
Because business expenses are not subject to the same taxes as personal income, the Trumps have been able to reduce their tax bills as a result of their tax planning strategies. Some experts believe that the pattern is indicative of tax evasion, while Trump has long maintained that the company has done nothing wrong in this regard.
The Manhattan district attorney announced yesterday that the company, known as the Trump Organization, had crossed the line into illegality on dozens of occasions and that it had been involved in a fraud scheme that had spanned more than sixteen years. Although the charges do not involve any of the Trump family’s expenses such as their homes or hair cuts, they do centre on the company’s longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, who was also personally charged as a result of the charges.
It is clear that the common theme is treating personal expenses as if they were legitimate business expenses, whether or not that is the case in each individual case.
It is still unclear whether or not Trump or his children will ever be charged, but it appears to be a possibility. The investigation, according to Ben Protess, a reporter who has been covering it, is in its early stages and there is no indication that it will be completed any time soon. The C.F.O. and the company are indicted, which leaves Donald Trump as the only person who remains.
A former president can undoubtedly be charged with a crime, despite the fact that many legal scholars believe that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.
A key question is whether Weisselberg, who is 73 and has worked as a bookkeeper for Fred Trump, Donald’s father, for more than 50 years, will continue to be loyal to the Trump family, as he has done so far in his career. If, on the other hand, he chooses to cooperate with investigators, the Trump family could be exposed to significant legal liability.
In terms of politics, there is a significant difference between the case concluding with yesterday’s charges and Trump himself facing criminal prosecution. Despite mounting evidence of Trump’s questionable business practises — including the use of his presidency to benefit his company — evidence of his political supporters has done little to sway their opinions. However, defending himself against criminal charges could consume a significant amount of Trump’s time and attention, complicating any potential presidential campaign in 2024.
As our colleague Maggie Haberman pointed out, “Trump allies say he will be reluctant to say publicly that he will not run for office again until the investigation is completed.” And it appears that his current course will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future.”
A senior member of the district attorney’s office, Carey Dunne, described the Trump Organization’s actions in court as “a sweeping and audacious illegal payments scheme” in her testimony yesterday. According to the indictment, the company provided Weisselberg with $1.7 million in perks, which were recorded as compensation in an internal spreadsheet but were kept off the books in order to avoid paying taxes. Weisselberg also failed to disclose some of the payments in his own tax filings, which raised suspicions. (For a more in-depth explanation of the charges, see this article from the Times.)
Weisselberg has entered a not guilty plea and his attorneys have stated that he intends to fight the charges. Trump Organization attorneys said the charges were politically motivated in a statement, which read: “This case signals that it is now open season for local prosecutors to target federal political opponents and adversaries.”
The following are some of the charges laid out in the indictment:
The Trump Organization spent nearly $1.2 million in untaxed income to provide Weisselberg and his wife with an apartment on the Hudson River, according to court documents. While residing in the city, Weisselberg concealed the fact that he was a resident of New York City, allowing him to avoid paying city income taxes.
It was the company that paid for the education of two of Weisselberg’s relatives to attend Columbia Prep, a private school in Manhattan, at a cost of $359,999. Some of the checks were personally signed by Trump.
For Weisselberg and his wife, the company illegally paid for two Mercedes-Benzes, as well as for beds, televisions, and carpeting installation in their homes, as well as for his and his children’s homes.
Weisselberg received — and then misplaced — cash from the company, which he used to pay for holiday tips.
More information can be found at: Trump’s financial situation may be harmed as a result of the charges. Indictments can have a negative impact on bank relationships, and Trump has a significant amount of money owing on his loans.
THE LATEST NEWS
Other Big Stories
The Times Opinion section has begun a series of articles exploring ideas for revitalising and renewing America’s experiment in democracy. The first three articles are as follows:
The United States used to be known as a land of invention and change. Daniel Immerwahr argues that our politics is sclerotic and that our dreams are modest in today’s world. What exactly happened?
In Astra Taylor’s opinion, “where the American dream used to be owning a home with a white picket fence, now the American dream is getting out of debt.”
Joe Rogan is a media personality with one of the largest platforms in the world. His admirers consider him to be an outsider.
The Devil Wears Prada: Fashion magazine editors used to have their own “fiefdoms,” as the saying goes. That has come to an end.
Modern Love: Some people invest in real estate by flipping houses. She has a way of flipping men. .
How to take the perfect fireworks photo, according to a New York Times classic.
Lives Lived:Boryana Straubel was a self-described math nerd when she was a teenager growing up in Bulgaria. After emigrating to the United States, she rose to the ranks of executive at Tesla and went on to found a jewellery company that makes use of recycled metals. Straubel died when he was 38 years old.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Euro 2020, at last
It is today and tomorrow that the Euro 2020 soccer tournament’s quarterfinals will be played. (The event, like the Toyko Olympics, was postponed but retained the name Tokyo 2020.) –
Winning is a big deal in Europe; only ten countries have done so since the tournament’s inception in 1960, with Germany, Spain, and France being the only ones to do so on multiple occasions.
This year, the month-long event will be spread across the continent, with games taking place in a variety of locations. It’s still too early to call Switzerland out of contention. Other contenders include Spain, Belgium, Italy, Denmark, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.
Predicting a winner is a difficult task. Belgium’s golden generation is still alive and well, but the country’s defence is in decline. Spain is excellent at passing the ball, though at times it may be a little too much. England, on the verge of winning its first major tournament since 1966, appears to be gaining momentum, having defeated Germany in the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time in 55 years. And many of the early favourites, such as Portugal, France, and the Netherlands, have already been eliminated from contention.