The New York attorney general’s office has said it is expanding its civil investigation to include former President Donald Trump’s business empire and is now “actively investigating the Trump organization in a criminal capacity.”
Attorney General Letitia James’s office, which was already conducting a civil investigation into Mr. Trump’s firm, suggested that the investigation was related to an ongoing criminal investigation into him by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Cyrus Vance Jr.
“We have told the Trump organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer of a purely civil nature,” said Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the attorney general, in a statement.
“We are now actively investigating the Trump organization in a criminal capacity with the Manhattan Attorney’s Office,” he said.
For two years, the civil investigation has been investigating whether the Trump Organization manipulated property values to secure loans and gain economic and tax advantages.
The new development represents an additional potential liability for Mr. Trump, who continues to tease the prospect of running for office again in 2024. He has previously said that he will be “extremely serious” when considering a run but cannot yet announce it “from a legal point of view”. ”
A separate investigation by Manhattan’s Mr Vance investigated similar allegations regarding Mr Trump’s business relationships during his roughly two-year tenure prior to the presidency. The allegations were first made by the former president’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen.
In February, the Supreme Court denied an attempt to prevent Mr. Vance’s team from gaining access to Mr. Trump’s tax returns for the past eight years and his financial records, as part of an investigation into potential banking, tax and insurance fraud .
The investigation into Ms. James began in 2019 when Mr. Cohen said in a congressional hearing that Mr. Trump had increased the value of assets for banks to get better insurance and credit deals, while undervaluing them to lower taxes .
Her investigations cover several Trump properties, including the Trump International Hotel and Trump Tower in Chicago and 40 Wall Street in New York City.
Mr Trump previously dismissed the investigation conducted by Democrats James and Vance, calling them politically motivated.