source : www.abc.net.au
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.
Most important points:
- Donald Trump, his adult sons and the family business have already been found liable for fraud
- Ivanka Trump has been questioned about related charges and punishments during a civil trial
- She said she did not recall providing valuation information for financial statements that were found to be fraudulent
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 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.”
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.
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.
The process should be completed in December.
Donald Trump also faces four criminal cases, three of which will take place in the first half of next year.
He is due to appear in a Washington court in March, accused of conspiring to overturn his election loss, and in a New York court over his business dealings there.
A federal trial involving classified documents he took with him when he left the White House is scheduled for May in Florida.
A date has yet to be set for a fourth trial in Georgia, where he and his associates face racketeering charges over alleged election interference in that state.
Donald Trump rejects all criminal charges against him.
source : www.abc.net.au