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Trump executive ‘could face charges in matter of days’ as criminal tax probe enters final stages

·2 min read
File image: Former US President Donald Trump points at the media while speaking at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina, US, on 5 June, 2021 (REUTERS)
File image: Former US President Donald Trump points at the media while speaking at the North Carolina GOP convention dinner in Greenville, North Carolina, US, on 5 June, 2021 (REUTERS)

The long-serving chief financial officer of the Trump Organisation could face charges in a matter of days, according to a US media report, as a criminal tax probe against him has entered the final stages.

A grand jury has been hearing the evidence about Allen Weisselberg, whose personal tax returns have been obtained by prosecutors providing a complete picture of his finances, reported the New York Times.

The executive has been under intense scrutiny from prosecutors in New York, who are said to be seeking his cooperation with a larger investigation into the financial dealings of Donald Trump and his organisation.

The case has been in process for months. In March 2021, news reports had said that state prosecutors in New York investigating Mr Trump’s financial dealings were sharpening their focus on Mr Weisselberg and his family.

The NYT report said that the investigation is exploring if he failed to pay taxes on benefits that the former president provided to him and his family including apartments, leased cars, and tens of thousands of dollars in tuition fees for at least one of his grandchildren.

It said that prosecutors working for District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr, a Democrat, have been trying to pressure Mr Weisselberg and cut a deal with him to be a witness against Mr Trump. However, so far, their efforts have remained unsuccessful and Mr Weisselberg remains employed by the Trump Organisation.

Sources close to the matter were quoted as saying that Jeffrey S McConney, who is Mr Weisselberg’s top lieutenant, was recently questioned before a jury that is hearing evidence in the Trump inquiry.

Mr Weisselberg, 73, is two years younger than Mr Trump and was also the accountant of Fred Trump, the former president’s father. He has been working at the Trump Organisation for decades.

Mr Weisselberg has not commented publicly on the ongoing tax probe, and his lawyer Mary Mulligan declined to comment on Tuesday’s developments, according to the Times.

The prosecutors are trying to construct a detailed picture of Mr Weisselberg’s financial life. But whether he turns into a witness against Mr Trump or not, if any problematic financial detail is found against him it could also lead to trouble for the former president.

So far, the extent of the charges that prosecutors are considering against Mr Weisselberg and whether they will seek his indictment is not clear.

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