The New York attorney-general has opened a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization

Legal threats to Donald Trump and his business empire grew after the New York attorney -general pointed out that the long -running investigation of entities carrying potential criminal – and not just civil – misconduct .

The investigation, led by Letitia James, the state’s attorney, is about a two prong legal search of Trump and his business. Another was brought to the office of Cyrus Vance, the Manhattan district attorney, which more often focuses on the criminal as opposed to civil matters.

James’ spokesman said: “We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer civil. We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity with the Manhattan DA.”

In a lengthy statement, Trump dismissed the allegations. are some of the most influential politicians in the history of the United States. “

“There is nothing more corrupt than an investigation to find a crime,” said the former president, claiming that the investigations were calculated to prevent him from raising another bid for the White House.

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The particular focus of the investigations, according to people who have been informed about the matter, is whether the company has committed fraud by increasing the value of certain assets to secure bank loans while reducing them to reduce costs. tax it.

Investigations grew out of reports in 2018 that Michael Cohen, the chief’s once personal attorney, arranged for “hush” money payments for women who claimed to have external relations with Trump. Cohen, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment after pleading guilty to several federal charges, Congress said he was later paid with funds from the Trump Organization listed as legal fees.

Someone who was briefed on James ’probe said the focus on criminal matters did not rule out the possibility that it could still result in civil charges.

Both offices received recently from the former daughter-in-law of Allen Weisselberg, the longtime chief financial officer of the Trump Organization.

It’s not uncommon for the attorney-general’s office to notify a party when a civil matter has been referred for criminal investigation, according to Michael Bachner, a New York defense attorney.

Bachner said it’s unclear whether James and Vance are pursuing the same criminal charge or working together.

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