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Trump finance chief Allen Weisselberg under criminal investigation by NY attorney general, report says

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The Independent
The Independent
 2021-05-20

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The New York attorney general’s office has spent months criminally investigating Allen Weisselberg , the long-serving chief financial officer of former president Donald Trump ’s business empire, CNN reports .

Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office have also been pursuing a separate criminal investigation into the Trump Organization, including Mr Weisselberg’s conduct as CFO.

The Independent has reached out to Mr Weisselberg for comment on this breaking news story. He has not been accused of wrongdoing.

Mr Trump said on Wednesday in a statement that the probes into his businesses and associates were a “political and partisan Witch Hunt” that amounted to an “investigation ... in search of a crime.”

Jennifer Weisselberg, the Trump executive’s former daughter-in-law, has reportedly been cooperating with investigators since last fall. She has alleged that Mr Weisselberg and Mr Trump helped fund the lavish lifestyle that she and her ex-husband Barry Weisselberg, who worked at the Trump Organization, enjoyed. This reportedly included tuition payments at New York private schools and rent-free stays in Trump Organization apartments, which could raise potential red flags for investigators.

"I know for a fact Donald wrote those checks," she told CNN in April.

The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment, though Mr Trump has previously denounced the investigations into his business.

Both investigations have been running since 2019 and significantly expanded over time. New York attorney general Letitia James ’s probe began as a civil investigation into whether the Trump Organization variously over- and understated the value of certain assets to gain tax and other financial advantages.

On Tuesday, her office announced it was joining Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr’s criminal investigation of the Trump Organization, which began by focusing on alleged hush money payments Mr Trump paid to women who said they had affairs with him before he became president.

It has since grown to include investigations into the wider practices of the Trump Organization, Mr Weisselberg, and whether employees were given special perks as a means to evade payroll taxes.

Earlier this year, after an intense legal battle, the Supreme Court cleared the way for Mr Vance’s office to subpoena Mr Trump’s tax returns and other financial documents related to his business dealings.

The two officers working together is fairly uncommon, and if they secure a criminal conviction, that would be even more unprecedented: no former president has ever been indicted for criminal conduct .

The former president faces nearly 30 lawsuits and ongoing investigations since he has left office, ranging from his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election to his business dealings.

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