Donald Trump’s company has been fined 1.6 million dollars (£1.3 million) as punishment for a scheme in which the former US president’s top executives dodged personal income taxes on lavish job perks – a symbolic, hardly crippling blow for an enterprise boasting billions of dollars in assets.
A fine was the only penalty a judge could impose on the Trump Organisation for its conviction last month for 17 tax crimes, including conspiracy and falsifying business records.
The amount imposed by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was the maximum allowed by law, an amount equal to double the taxes a small group of executives avoided on benefits including rent-free apartments in Trump buildings, luxury cars and private school tuition.
Mr Trump himself was not on trial and denied any knowledge of his executives evading taxes illegally.
While the fine – less than the cost of a Trump Tower apartment – is not big enough to impact the company’s operations or future, the conviction is a black mark on the Republican’s reputation as a savvy businessman as he mounts a campaign to regain the White House.
Neither the former president or his children, who helped run and promote the Trump Organisation, were in court for the sentencing hearing.
Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass said the fine constitutes “a fraction of the revenue” of the Trump Organisation and that the scheme was “far-reaching and brazen”.
Press Association – Michael R Sisak