- Donald Trump’s company and CFO have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.
- The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg were charged with having schemed since 2005 to defraud tax authorities.
- The charges include tax fraud and falsifying business records.
Donald Trump’s namesake company and longtime financial chief pleaded not guilty on Thursday to criminal charges in a sweeping indictment from a probe by Manhattan’s district attorney into the former U.S. president and his business practices.
The Trump Organization and its chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg were charged with having schemed since 2005 to defraud federal, state and local tax authorities by awarding “off the books” benefits to company executives, enabling them to avoid paying taxes.
Weisselberg, who has worked for Trump for 48 years, was able to avoid paying taxes on more than $1.7 million of income, including housing expenses, tuition and auto lease payments, according to the 15-count indictment.
The charges include tax fraud and falsifying business records. They were announced one day after a grand jury indicted Trump’s company and Weisselberg.
“This was a 15-year long tax fraud scheme involving off the books payments,” prosecutor Carey Dunne said at the arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court.
“It was orchestrated by the most senior executives who were financially benefiting themselves and the company, by getting secret pay raises at the expense of state and federal taxpayers,” he said.
The indictment could undermine the relationships of Trump’s company with banks and business partners.
It could also complicate Trump’s political future, as he resumes holding rallies and mulls a 2024 White House run.
Cyrus Vance, the district attorney, began his still-ongoing investigation nearly three years ago, and has been working in recent months with the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.
Vance and James are Democrats, and both attended Thursday’s arraignment. Weisselberg, 73, wore handcuffs as he was led to the courtroom.