Trump Organization investigation ‘now criminal’, says New York attorney general

The case was originally civil but has escalated to criminal, according to the state’s top prosecutor

Donald Trump’s company is facing a criminal investigation in New York as an inquiry into its financial affairs became “no longer purely civil”, the attorney general said.

The inquiry, launched by the state’s top prosecutor Letiticia James, is looking into the former US President’s property firm.

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Democratic prosecutor Ms James has been scrutinising Mr Trump's financial dealings before he took office.

Ms James has accused Trump's company of covering up wrongful financial dealings (Picture: Getty Images)

The former US President said the inquiry was part of a political vendetta against him.

The civil inquiry began in March 2019 and looked into claims that Mr Trump had inflated the value of his assets to banks when seeking loans, and understated them to lower his taxes.

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‘Probe no longer purely civil in nature’

On 18 May, a spokesperson for Ms James, Fabien Levy, told the BBC: “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the Organization is no longer purely civil in nature.

"We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA. We have no additional comment."

The statement did not say what evidence had turned the inquiry from civil to criminal in nature, or if Mr Trump himself could be personally implicated in any allegations.

The NY attorney’s office has also been seeking documents on four Trump Organization properties in Manhattan, upstate New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Investigation obtained Mr Trump’s tax returns

In August, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said in court documents that his office was investigating alleged "protracted criminal conduct" at the Trump Organization.

His legal filing cited newspaper articles about purported bank and insurance fraud at the company.

Mr Vance reported in February that he had now obtained Mr Trump’s tax returns to assist in his investigation, after a long battle.

Mr Trump came under intense scrutiny for failing to reveal his tax returns during his presidency, of which he never published during his four years in office.

The Manhattan District Attorney has also been investigating whether any of Mr Trump's financial records were doctored to hide hush-money payments to two women in 2016 who say they had affairs with him.

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