New York, Sep 21 (EFE).- The New York state Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday a civil lawsuit seeking at least $250 million in damages from former United States President Donald Trump, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization for alleged fraud in the company’s financial statements.
“Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars,” Attorney General Letitia James told a press conference in New York City.
Besides the monetary damages, the suit asks the Manhattan Supreme Court to bar Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump from ever again serving as an officer of a company in New York and to prohibit the companies named from doing business in the state.
“All told, Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, and the other Defendants, as part of a repeated pattern and common scheme, derived more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets included in the 11 (financial) Statements covering 2011 through 2021,” the state AG Office said.
The company, according to the suit, systematically overvalued its assets – mainly real estate – in order to obtain loans and insurance on better terms and to minimize tax obligations.
And Trump’s personal financial statements “for the period 2011 through 2021 were fraudulent and misleading in both their composition and presentation,” the filing says.
Evidence gathered during the 3-year-long probe will be shared with federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service, James said, suggesting that Trump violated federal criminal laws.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has already brought criminal tax fraud charges against the Trump Organization and one of its executives, Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty last month and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
After fighting a subpoena for months, Trump sat down with James on Aug. 10 for a deposition, but the former president declined to answer any questions, invoking his constitutional Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination.
“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” one of Trump’s lawyers, Alina Habba, said Wednesday in a statement.
“We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims,” Habba said.
The lawsuit comes as a court-appointed special master is reviewing documents seized from Trump’s Florida residence by the FBI on Aug. 8 as part of a federal probe to determine whether he unlawfully removed official documents from the White House at the end of his term in January 2021.
Authorities were looking for evidence of possible violations of the Espionage Act, of the destruction or concealment of documents to obstruct an investigation, and of unlawful removal of government materials.
The contents of the more than 20 boxes the FBI removed from Mar-a-Lago included photos and some documents marked Top Secret/SCI (Sensitive compartmented information).
Trump said that before leaving the White House, he declassified all of the materials he took with him to Mar-a-Lago. EFE nqs/dr