Ivanka Trump accuses New York prosecutors of ‘harassment’ over probe into first family’s finances

Matt Mathers
·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

A seemingly rattled Ivanka Trump has accused New York prosecutors of "harassment" after reports emerged that investigations into her father's businesses are circling in on consultancy fees allegedly paid to the future first daughter as part of a tax write-off.

The Trump organisation appears to have paid $747,622 to a consultancy company owned by Ms Trump while she was still working as an executive officer for her father's companies, according to White House disclosure forms she filed in 2017, which have been reviewed by the New York Times.

It is the latest development in two ongoing fraud probes investigating the outgoing president's business dealings and tax records, which show he has paid next-to-nothing in recent years.

Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R Vance Jr, has launched a criminal investigation while New York State attorney, Letita James, is pursuing a civil case.

Both investigations have issued subpoenas to the Trump Organisation in recent weeks asking for records on millions of dollars paid out in consultancy fees. Attorneys Vance and James are Democrats, leading Ms Trump to complain of a political witch hunt.

"This is harassment pure and simple", the first daughter said in a rare intervention very early on Friday morning. "This ‘inquiry’ by NYC Democrats is 100 per cent motivated by politics, publicity and rage."

She added: "They know very well that there’s nothing here and that there was no tax benefit whatsoever. These politicians are simply ruthless."

There is no suggestion that Ms Trump is the focus of either inquiry, both of which her father has also claimed are politically motivated. The Independent has contacted the White House for comment.

The Trump organisation paid out a total of $26 million in fees to unspecified consultants between 2010 and 2018, some of which, it is alleged, went to his daughter Ivanka, the Times reported.

According to the 2017 White House disclosure forms reviewed by the Times, a company called TTT Consulting LLC - owned by Ms Trump - recieved a payment of $747,622 from the Trump Organisation.

That figure matched exactly the consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organisation for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, The Times reported.

The inquiry by Mr Vance’s office started more than two years ago. It was initially set up to look into the Trump Organisation’s role in making payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels – who has claimed she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2016, which he denies.

Ms James’s office, meanwhile, started its investigation after Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael D Cohen alleged he inflated his assets in financial statements to secure bank loans, but lowered their value when seeking tax benefits.

The Justice Department has a longtime policy stating that it is unconstitutional to prosecute a sitting president in federal court, meaning Mr Trump could potentially have to fend off charges of fraud while leading the life of an ordinary civilian after the presidency.

There is also the potential that a Democrat-led Justice Department could pursue matters left uncharged in Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference, such as allegations Mr Trump obstructed justice.

President-elect Joe Biden, a Democrat, has said that he would not direct his Justice Department to pursue charges against Trump — nor would he stand in the way of investigations it might take up on its own.

"I am not going to make that individual judgment," Mr Biden told reporters in August.

Some Democrats have cautioned that indicting Trump could enrage the nearly 74 million Americans who voted for him, complicating Biden's promised effort to heal the nation's political divisions. Former US Attorney general Eric Holder, a Democrat, has warned of the "potential cost to the nation" from prosecuting a former president.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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