The United States Supreme Court on Monday, February 22, authorized the transmission to the New York prosecutor of several years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, inflicting a setback on the former US president in this long legal battle.
The highest court in the United States has dismissed an appeal by Donald Trump to block an appeal decision of October 2020 ordering the accounting firm Mazars USA to forward these documents to a grand jury summoned by the democratic prosecutor of Manhattan Cyrus Vance in as part of an investigation into its activities.
“The work continues”, Cyrus Vance reacted laconically in a statement. His investigation is taking place behind closed doors before a grand jury, and the Democratic prosecutor has made virtually no public statement on his progress. No one knows when it will end, or if it will lead to prosecution, which would be a first for a former US president.
Read also: Donald Trump has paid no taxes for 10 of the previous 15 years
Investigation opened in 2018
Unlike other presidents in recent US history, Donald Trump has consistently refused to disclose his tax returns during the four years of his tenure.
These documents could provide details about his wealth and the activities of his real estate company, the Trump Organization.
Cyrus Vance’s investigation, opened in 2018, relates to payments made before the 2016 presidential election by Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michaël Cohen to two women who said they had had sex with the billionaire. The investigation is now also examining possible allegations of tax evasion, insurance fraud, or bank fraud, according to documents filed in court.
According to US media, investigators recently interviewed employees of Deutsche Bank – long the financial backer of Donald Trump and his holding company, the Trump Organization – and his insurance company, Aon.
They also re-interviewed Donald Trump’s ex-personal lawyer Michael Cohen, currently under house arrest serving his three-year prison sentence handed down in late 2018. He told Congress that Trump and his company were artificially inflating or reducing the value. of their assets, to alternately obtain bank loans or reduce their taxes.
A “witch hunt”
If those suspicions were true and Mr. Trump was charged, they would expose the ex-president to possible imprisonment.
Unlike federal crimes, violations of state laws cannot be pardoned by a US president, even though Joe Biden wishes to avoid fueling political tensions.
New York State Democratic Attorney Letitia James is also investigating the allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud, in civil proceedings.
Donald Trump did not immediately react to the Supreme Court’s decision on Monday. But in the past he has called the investigation “Worst witch hunt in US history”.
Breaking with a tradition well established since Jimmy Carter, the real estate developer and ex-reality TV star, who left New York for good to settle in his club in Mar-a-Lago, Florida after leaving the White House on January 20, never published his tax returns.
He often promised to do so, but never followed up, citing the need to wait until the end of a tax administration audit. His lawyers have continued to fight in court to delay the deadline.
In September 2020, the New York Times, after obtaining nearly two decades of tax documents, had published a major survey indicating that the billionaire’s business suffered big losses and pushed him into big debt.
According to the newspaper, Donald Trump avoided paying federal taxes for 11 of the 18 years of records obtained, and paid only $ 750 in 2016 and 2017.
In addition to this investigation by Mr Vance, the 74-year-old ex-president – recently acquitted by the US Senate after an impeachment trial for incitement to insurgency in the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol – faces serious challenges. multiple legal attacks. Most of the actions brought against him take place in civil courts.
A Georgia prosecutor, however, announced in early February the opening of a preliminary investigation into “Attempts to influence electoral operations in Georgia”, a key state where Donald Trump has stepped up pressure on electoral officials to contest his presidential defeat.
Setback for Donald Trump: the Supreme Court authorizes the transmission of his tax returnsOuest-France.fr
#Supreme #Court #authorizes #transmission #tax #returns