Ivanka Trump tells New York fraud trial she had no role in Donald Trump’s financial statements

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Ivanka Trump has told a New York court that she had no role in preparing her father’s financial statements, following the evidence of her adult brothers in the fraud trial that will decide the future of Donald Trump’s business empire.

The former president’s daughter served as executive vice president in the Trump Organization from 2011 to 2017.

She has been called to answer questions in the civil trial, which has been hearing evidence for weeks that the Trumps routinely overinflated the value of their assets in financial statements.

The case, brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, alleges that Donald Trump’s annual “statements of financial condition” routinely included fraudulent figures intended to get better deals on loans and insurance.

“I was not involved in his statement about the financial situation,” Ivanka Trump said during even-tempered testimony that contrasted with her father’s angry exchange with the judge earlier this week.

Before Ivanka Trump left the company to work for her father in the White House, where she was an unpaid consultant, she helped set up a lending relationship between the Trump Organization and Deutsche Bank.

The bank’s private wealth management arm eventually loaned the company hundreds of millions of dollars, with loan terms that required Donald Trump to file his financial statements every year.

Ivanka Trump was questioned by Louis Solomon of the New York Attorney General’s office.(Reuters: Jane Rosenberg)

Ivanka Trump said she did not recall ever providing asset value information for the depositions or reviewing them before they were completed.

She recalled being shown “a few documents and correspondence that referred to financial statements, but I was not involved in that.”

“Those weren’t things I was aware of,” she said when asked about financial statements that referenced some apartments, which she had options to buy, in a Trump-owned building on New York’s Park Avenue.

Lawyers for New York state claim that Donald Trump gave his daughter a deep discount on the apartments, even though he claimed on his financial statements that they were worth much more.

Donald Trump appeared on Monday (local time) after his sons Eric and Don Jr. had given testimony last week. The brothers also said they had minimal knowledge of the statements.

Forced to appear despite attempts to evade it

Ivanka Trump was initially a co-defendant in the civil case.

But an appeals court dismissed her as a defendant in June, saying the claims against her were too old.

However, her attempts to avoid giving evidence were unsuccessful. The court disagreed with Trump family lawyers’ suggestion that the attorney general “unnecessarily dragged Mrs. Trump into a highly publicized lawsuit for the obvious purpose of intimidating both Mrs. Trump and her father.”

Ivanka Trump is flanked by security as she walks past throngs of photographers on either side of her in the courthouse.

Ivanka Trump was an executive vice president in the Trump Organization.(AP: Yuki Iwamura)

Judge Arthur Engoron has already ruled against her father, her brothers and the Trump Organization. In a preliminary decision, he resolved the lawsuit’s main claim by ruling that they were liable for fraud.

He ordered that some of the Trump family businesses’ licenses be revoked, preventing them from doing business in New York. However, that order is suspended while the trial takes place.

The judge has yet to rule on six other claims. These include allegations of conspiracy, falsifying corporate documents and specific insurance fraud. He is also considering punishment.

The attorney general is seeking a fine of at least US$250 million ($390 million).

She also wants a permanent ban on Donald Trump and his sons running businesses in New York, and a five-year commercial real estate ban on Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization.

‘She was very involved’

Outside court, Ms. James said Ivanka Trump secured and negotiated loans “to obtain favorable terms based on fraudulent statements of financial condition.”

“She will try to distance herself from the company today, but unfortunately the facts will reveal that she was in fact very intimately involved,” she said.

Letitia James smiles as she walks through the courthouse past photographers standing behind a fence.

Letitia James claims the Trump Organization overestimated the value of assets to get better deals from banks and insurers.(Reuters: Yuki Iwamura)

Donald Trump, who remains the comfortable frontrunner for the Republican Party’s 2024 presidential nomination, denies any wrongdoing, as do his sons.

During a hostile lawsuit earlier this week, Donald Trump insisted that his financial statements actually understate his net worth.

He argued that properties including his Mar-a-Lago estate and the Doral golf course, both in Florida, were undervalued.

However, he acknowledged that his Trump Tower residence in New York and his Seven Springs estate north of the city were overvalued. But he said that wouldn’t matter because the paperwork included notes saying the estimates might not be correct.

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