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After bombshell report, New York tax department opens fraud investigation into Trump and his family

In the wake of a New York Times report on the Trump family’s business dealings, New York state tax officials have announced that they’re launching an investigation into the allegations.

“The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” a spokesman from New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said in an email to CNBC.

On Tuesday, the Times reported that Trump and his family were involved in instances of “outright fraud” when they transferred millions of dollars from the real estate business of Trump’s father, Fred Trump, to his children without paying the taxes that were due.

The announcement by the Department of Taxation and Finance came within just hours of the Times’ bombshell report.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump claimed that the only financial help he received from his father was a “small loan of a million dollars.” But the Times’ story revealed that Trump has received at least $413 million from his father throughout his life.

As the New York Daily News points out, a significant chunk of the money Trump received was due to his setting up “sham companies to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from his dad while also helping him take improper tax deductions by undervaluing his real estate holdings.” Experts have described several of the transactions as “outright fraud.”

Trump and his siblings received over $1 billion in gifts from his parents which were subject to New York’s 55 percent tax rate. But Trump only ended up paying around 5% percent tax on the figure.

Trump’s lawyer, Charles Harder, outright denied the allegations as “extremely inaccurate.”

“President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” Harder said in a statement. “The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon the aforementioned licensed professionals to ensure full compliance with the law.”

The New York State Tax Department is currently investigating Trump’s charity, The Trump Foundation. His former lawyer, Michael Cohen, is also under investigation by the same department.

Featured image via Michael Vadon/Flickr

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