Status: 27/09/2023, 03:21 a.m.
A judge in the U.S. accuses Donald Trump of fraud. © Artie Walker Jr./AP/dpa
Ex-US President Trump is said to have cheated on the information about the value of his company and his private possessions. But it wasn't just about showing off, but about tangible financial benefits.
New York - Former U.S. President Donald Trump has manipulated the goodwill of his Trump Organization for years, according to a New York judge and thus committed fraud.
The ex-president, his sons and senior executives had systematically set the value of the company too high in annual reports in order to get more favorable conditions for loans and insurance contracts, according to a preliminary decision by Judge Arthur Engoron on Tuesday.
For example, Trump had given the size of his apartment in Trump Tower for years as around 2800 square meters, although it was only a good 1000 square meters. As a result, the property was overvalued by up to 200 million US dollars. The value of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida is said to have been inflated by as much as 2300 percent in the financial documents.
Trump's son speaks out
The judge ordered, among other things, that the trade licenses of Trump and his sons be withdrawn. This is likely to make it more difficult for the family to continue doing real estate business in New York in the future.
"Today, I have lost all faith in the New York legal system. Never before have I seen such hatred of a judge for a person - an action coordinated with the attorney general to destroy a man's life, company and achievements," wrote Trump's son Eric on X, formerly Twitter. "We've run an extraordinary company, we've never missed a loan payment, we've brought hundreds of millions of dollars to banks, and we've developed some of the most famous real estate in the world. But the persecution of our family continues."
Next Monday, the civil case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump is to begin. She wants Trump to pay $250 million in reparations and stop doing business in New York. A final verdict is expected in December. "Today, a judge ruled in our favor and found that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have been engaged in financial fraud for years," James wrote on X on Tuesday. "We look forward to presenting the rest of our case in court."
Numerous conflicts with the U.S. judiciary
Trump has been fighting numerous conflicts with the U.S. judiciary for decades. Even as a construction mogul, he was involved in legal disputes. During his presidency from 2017 to 2021, he was repeatedly targeted by the judiciary. Since the end of his presidency, Trump has been struggling on several fronts with legal problems or investigations that could have legal consequences for the 77-year-old. In next year's presidential election, Trump wants to run again.
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Fancy a voyage of discovery?
Experts believe it is unlikely that one of the often multi-year proceedings with opportunities for revision and renegotiation before the election in November 2024 would lead to a conviction. However, the civil lawsuit for fraud could at least hurt Trump politically: After all, he always scores points with his voters by presenting himself as a successful entrepreneur. If this narrative now turns out to be a lie, its luster could fade, at least in some constituencies. Dpa