Monday, May 27, 2024
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Footnote in Monitor’s Letter Suggests Possible Tax Evasion by Donald Trump

In a recent report by The Daily Beast, a footnote in a letter written by former federal judge Barbara Jones, who is serving as the court-appointed special monitor in Donald Trump’s New York business fraud case, appears to raise the possibility of significant tax evasion by the former president.

The letter, originally reported by The Messenger and delivered to Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, outlines Jones’ findings while reviewing Trump’s business dealings through the Trump Organization. Jones described the financial information provided by Trump’s team as “incomplete” or “inconsistent” with multiple “errors,” but she also noted that Trump and his businesses have been cooperative with her investigation.

However, hidden in the sixth footnote of the 12-page letter is what The Daily Beast suggests could be a clue pointing to potential tax evasion involving $48 million in income. Jones wrote that this substantial sum, which Trump has claimed for years to owe as a debt to one of his companies, may not have existed at all.

Jones stated, “When I inquired about this loan, I was informed that there are no loan agreements that memorialize the loan, but that it was a loan that was believed to be between Donald J. Trump, individually, and Chicago Unit Acquisition for $48 million.” She added that, according to the Trump Organization, they have determined that this loan never existed and would be removed from future filings.

Trump Organization attorney Alan Garten countered, stating that an “internal loan” existed, wherein Trump “leant money to the entity that he owns.” Garten also claimed that there were inaccuracies in the monitor’s letter, which they planned to address with the court.

However, The Daily Beast noted that Trump had listed the debt as over $50 million in financial disclosures as recently as October. If Jones’ claims are accurate, this would imply that Trump intentionally submitted inaccurate disclosures related to a significant debt in filings with the federal government. Tax lawyer Martin Lobel stated that this could potentially amount to tax evasion.

The $48 million has faced scrutiny before, with Trump previously claiming that he purchased an outstanding loan and kept the debt outstanding, choosing to pay interest on it to himself. However, Mother Jones reported in 2019 that a substantial portion of Trump’s debt was forgiven by a hedge fund he owed money to after he paid about half of it, effectively engaging in a process known as “debt parking” to avoid income taxes on the forgiven amount.

Experts have raised questions about the legality of such actions, with Georgetown University law professor Adam Levitin describing it as “pretty brazen” and suggesting that it could be considered fraud if Trump didn’t actually buy the loan.

Jordan Libowitz, communications director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, expressed concerns about Trump’s actions, stating, “It appears that Trump knowingly and intentionally broke the law. The only question is how many laws.”

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Monday, May 27, 2024

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