The New York attorney general’s office has opened a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s company, it confirmed today.
Attorney general Letitia James has been investigating whether the Trump Organisation has obscured property values to bag loans and tax breaks.
It signals an escalation of the legal threat the former Republican president faces, just four months after leaving office, as he is currently part of three known criminal investigations.
“We have informed the Trump Organisation that our investigation into the organisation is no longer purely civil in nature,” spokesman for the attorney general’s office, Fabien Levy, said in a statement this morning.
“We are now actively investigating the Trump Organisation in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.”
The Trump Organisation, the former president’s family-owned business, has been contacted for comment by City A.M. The organisation has not yet released a statement.
As part of a separate case, Manhattan district attorney Cyrus Vance has been probing Trump’s pre-presidency business dealings for over two years.
In court filings, Vance’s office has said it was investigating “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct” at the Trump Organisation, including tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records.
According to the New York Times, Vance has been looking to gain information from Trump’s long-time chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg – who’s bank statements have been subpoenaed.
In February, prosecutors in Georgia launched a criminal investigation into Trump’s attempts to influence the state’s 2020 election results, after a recorded phone call in January revealed Trump pressuring Georgia’s secretary of state to overturn the outcome of voting based on unfounded claims of tampering.
Vance’s inquiry was sparked after Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen paid hush money to two women before the 2016 election, to prevent them from speaking of extramarital sexual encounters they claimed to have had with Trump.
Meanwhile, James has said she opened her inquiry after Cohen testified before congress that the former president’s financial statements were manipulated to save money on loans or cut his property taxes.
Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign finance violations and other crimes and is currently serving a three-year home-based sentence.