NY attorney general says Trump Organization probe is now criminal

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The New York attorney general’s office said on Tuesday it has now opened a criminal investigation into former President Donald Trump’s company, increasing the legal risk for Trump and his family.

Attorney General Letitia James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization falsely reported property values to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature,” said Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.”

The Trump Organization, the former president’s family-owned business, could not immediately be reached for comment. Trump has said that the investigation overseen by James, a Democrat, is politically motivated.

James has been investigating whether the Trump Organization inflated the values of some properties to obtain better loans, and lowered their values to obtain property tax breaks.

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is already in the middle of a wide-ranging fraud investigation. In February, following a protracted legal battle, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. obtained the former president’s tax returns. Prosecutors have focused on Trump’s business dealings and those of his associates, including his chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, and Weisselberg’s family.

Vance has said the statute of limitations for bringing charges against the company will soon expire. His term also ends on Dec. 31.

If one or both of the prosecutors believe there is enough evidence to charge the former president, his associates, or his company, an official complaint will likely be filed by the end of the year.

Trump, Weisselberg, and the Trump Organization have denied any wrongdoing and have said the prosecutors are politically motivated.

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