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Trump Organization and its CFO indicted by Manhattan grand jury, report says


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The Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, its longtime finance chief, were indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Manhattan, The Washington Post reported.

The indictments against the organization and Weisselberg will stay sealed until Thursday afternoon, the report said. The Post also reported, citing sources, that Weisselberg is expected to surrender Thursday morning.

Weisselberg is expected to be arraigned in front of a state judge later that day, according to the Post. The Trump Organization is also expected to be arraigned.

The charges reportedly center around allegations of Weisselberg and other Trump Organization executives receiving benefits without reporting them properly on their tax returns, unnamed sources told the Post.

Former President Donald Trump is not expected to be charged this week, the report’s sources said, but the indictments could bring possible fines and legal problems to his company. However, prosecutors hope Weisselberg will exchange testimony against Trump for reducing his own risk, another source told the Post.

A representative for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. declined CNBC’s request for comment. Trump Organization lawyer Ronald Fischetti had no immediate comment. Weisselberg’s lawyer, Mary Mulligan, did not comment on the matter.

Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg looks on as then-U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York, May 31, 2016.

Carlo Allegri | Reuters

The investigation of the Trump Organization originally was focused on how the New York company accounted for a hush-money payment Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid to porn star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 presidential election.

But since then, the probe has expanded into allegations by Cohen that the Trump Organization misstated the value of various real estate assets to benefit from lower tax obligations or to receive more favorable terms on loans and insurance related to those properties.

In recent months, the Manhattan DA’s office has also looked at how various fringe benefits received by Trump Organization executives were accounted for by the company and whether executives paid taxes on those benefits.

Fischetti in an email to CNBC last week said, “In my more than 50 years of practice, never before have I seen the District Attorney’s Office target a company over employee compensation or fringe benefits.”

“The IRS would not, and has not, brought a case like this,” Fischetti said.

“Even the financial institutions responsible for causing the 2008 financial crises, the worst financial crisis since the great depression, were not prosecuted.”

Cohen, who pleaded guilty in 2018 to multiple federal crimes, has repeatedly met with investigators from the Manhattan DA’s office to assist them with their probe of the Trump Organization.

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Bellie Brownhttps://businesstimes.org
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