Thursday , April 25 2024

Trump posts $175m bond in New York fraud case

03-04-2024

NEW YORK: Former US President Donald Trump has posted a $175m (£140m) bond in his New York civil fraud case, staving off asset seizures by the state.

He was found in February to have fraudulently inflated property values, and was ordered to pay a $464m penalty.

Posting bond means New York’s attorney general cannot enforce the penalty, by freezing bank accounts or taking property, until his appeals are heard.

The Republican denies wrongdoing and says the case is a political hit job.

Trump was originally ordered to post bond amounting to the full penalty but it was reduced to $175m last week after his lawyers said it was “impossible” to secure a bond of that size.

If the three judges on the appeal panel rule against him, he will have to come up with the full $464m or risk the dismantling of his fabled property empire.

For now at least, Trump is spared the humiliation of seeing his real estate assets such as Trump Tower in Manhattan and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida taken away from him.

In a statement, his lawyer Alina Habba said: “As promised, President Trump has posted bond. He looks forward to vindicating his rights on appeal and overturning this unjust verdict.”

The fraud case against Trump was filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, in 2022.

Justice Arthur Engoron, also a Democrat, broadly sided with James’ argument that Trump should pay a steep price for fraudulently misrepresenting his assets in order to get more favorable loans and interest rates over the course of years.

Trump argued the case had no victims because the banks got repaid with interest and no financial institution sued him for the exaggerated estimates of his net worth.

Justice Engoron also barred Trump from running a New York business for three years.

He was also prohibited from getting loans from New York financial institutions over the same period.

The ruling placed Trump, who has said in depositions and on social media that he has $400m or $500m in cash on hand, under a serious financial crunch.

Forbes Magazine currently estimates his net worth at $5.7bn it soared after the parent company of his social media platform Truth Social went public last week.

Around the same time he lost the fraud case, Trump had to secure a $91m bond after losing an unrelated defamation lawsuit brought by the writer E Jean Carroll.

It could take months, or longer, for the business fraud case to be decided, raising the possibility the decision could come in the midst of his presidential campaign.

In the meantime, Trump’s first criminal trial over his alleged attempt to fraudulently conceal hush-money payments to an adult film star ahead of the 2016 election – is scheduled to begin on 15 April in Manhattan.

He has also been charged in two additional cases with trying to overturn his 2020 election loss against President Joe Biden and over his handling of classified documents after leaving office. (Int’l Monitoring Desk)

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