The trial for fraud and tax evasion of the Trump Organization, Donald Trump’s family business, opens this Monday, October 24, 2022 in New York, an embarrassing spectacle for the former president who is however not personally targeted by this criminal component.
This trial, which will begin with the selection of jurors, relates to accusations of irregularities in the accounts of the company since 2005, and of compensation received by leaders of the group having been hidden from the tax authorities.
Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, 75, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of fraud and tax evasion involving $1.76 million in unreported income between 2005 and 2021.
This close friend of Donald Trump is accused of having taken advantage of undeclared benefits in kind, including an apartment in an upscale neighborhood of Manhattan, the rental of two Mercedes for him and his wife, or cash for his vacation.
He will be one of the key witnesses in the trial against the company, which is currently run by two of the former president’s sons – Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump – and which owns investments in real estate, hotels and golf courses, among others. Two subsidiaries, Trump Corporation and Trump Payroll Corp, are targeted.
“Allen Weisselberg admitted in court to using his position at the Trump Organization to defraud taxpayers and enrich himself personally”Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg said in August, when the ex-financial director pleaded guilty.
“The agreement reached with the justice directly links the Trump Organization to a wide range of criminal activities”he added.
According to the agreement, Mr. Weisselberg must notably pay nearly 2 million dollars in taxes, with penalties and interest, and testify at the trial.
He has so far always refused to testify against Donald Trump personally.
The Trump Organization, which pleaded not guilty, is accused of having kept parallel accounts, under the supervision of Mr. Weisselberg, to conceal the salary supplements he and other leaders received.
If the facts are proven, the company could be condemned to a heavy fine.
Donald Trump, who has not officially announced his candidacy for the 2024 presidential election but does not hide his ambitions, is not himself targeted by this trial, unlike another civil part.
This other investigation, also relating to suspicions of tax fraud within the Trump Organization, is led by the Attorney General of the State of New York, Letitia James.
The latter announced in September lawsuits against Donald Trump and his children Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump. She is seeking $250 million in reparations on behalf of New York State.