NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Attorney General’s Office told a court Tuesday night that its investigators uncovered evidence that President Donald Trump’s company used “fraudulent or misleading” asset valuations to obtain loans and tax benefits.
The court filing says state authorities have not yet decided whether to take legal action in connection with the allegations, but investigators are to interview Trump and his two oldest children as part of the investigation. .
Trump and his lawyers say the investigation is politically motivated.
In court papers, Attorney General Letitia James’ office gave its most detailed account yet of its investigation into allegations that Trump’s company repeatedly misrepresented the value of assets to secure loan terms. favorable or reduce its tax burden.
The Trump Organization, she said, had overstated the value of land donations made in New York and California on documents submitted to the IRS to justify several million dollars in tax deductions.
The company misreported the size of Trump’s Manhattan penthouse, saying it was nearly three times its actual size – a difference in value of about $200 million, James’ office said, citing testimony from testimony from longtime Trump finance chief Allen Weisselberg, who was indicted last year. tax fraud as part of a parallel criminal investigation.
James’ office detailed its findings in a lawsuit seeking to force Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and son Donald Trump Jr. to comply with subpoenas demanding their testimony.
Investigators, according to court documents, had “developed significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or deceptive asset appraisals to obtain a multitude of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions.
Messages seeking comment were left for the Trumps’ attorneys.
Trump’s legal team sought to block the subpoenas, calling them an “unprecedented and unconstitutional move.” They say James is wrongfully trying to obtain testimony that could then be used in the parallel criminal investigation, overseen by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.
Trump sued James in federal court last month, seeking to end his investigation. In the lawsuit, his attorneys claimed the attorney general, a Democrat, violated the Republican’s constitutional rights in a “thinly veiled effort to publicly slander Trump and his associates.”
In the past, the Republican ex-president has denounced the James investigation and the Bragg investigation as part of a “witch hunt”.
In a statement late Tuesday, James’ office said it had not decided whether the evidence presented in Tuesday’s court documents warranted legal action, but the investigation should continue unhindered.
“For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and litigation to try to thwart a legitimate investigation into its financial dealings,” James said. “So far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests that Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic gain.”
Although James’ civil investigation is separate from the criminal investigation, his office has been involved in both, sending multiple attorneys to work side-by-side with prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
A judge has already sided with James on other issues related to the investigation, including having another son of Trump, Trump Organization leader Eric Trump, testify after his lawyers abruptly quashed a expected deposition.
Last year, the Manhattan District Attorney filed tax evasion charges against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg, its longtime chief financial officer.
Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he and the company evaded taxes on lucrative employee benefits paid to executives.
Both investigations are at least partly related to allegations made in news reports and by Trump’s former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, that Trump had a habit of misrepresenting the value of assets.