Eric Trump, the son of former US President Donald Trump, appeared in court in New York on Thursday in his father’s fraud case. He initially stated that he knew nothing about his father’s finances, but was later forced to correct this statement.
The civil proceedings determine the fines that Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, must pay for misleading banks and insurance companies. A New York judge previously ruled that the former president grossly overstated the value of his assets and the amount of his wealth on paper, resulting in his company and himself receiving favorable tax rates, lower insurance premiums and loans on favorable terms.
Eric Trump was scheduled to testify in the case on Thursday. According to the New York State Attorney General, the second of Trump’s three children was responsible for overseeing “all aspects of management and governance” within the Trump Organization and thus was aware of the inflated valuations of the holding company’s assets. However, Eric Trump denied in court on Thursday that he was involved in business deals that inflated the value of his father’s empire. “I have no knowledge of the statements regarding the financial situation,” he testified. “I didn’t know anything about anything until this thing showed up.”
However, Trump’s son was quickly forced to change that statement when prosecutors discovered emails showing that a then-employee informed Eric Trump of the evaluation of Seven Springs, a Westchester property where he lived for a time with his wife.
Trump did not deny the authenticity of these correspondence. “We are a large organization, a large real estate organization,” he said. “Yes, I’m sure we have financials. Sure,” he sounded somewhat sarcastic. He noted that he did not know the purpose of the Seven Springs assessment.
Donald Jr., Trump’s eldest son, has previously appeared in court in this case. He accused the Trump Organization’s accountants of making mistakes. Later, Trump’s daughter Ivanka will also have to take the witness stand.
The New York Attorney General is demanding that Trump be fined nearly $250 million (236 million euros). The trial may continue until December 22.
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