Mazars USA ordered to hand over Trump tax returns
17 Sep 2019
Mazars USA has been issued with a court subpoena requiring the firm to supply details of Donald Trump’s personal and business tax returns covering an eight year period, in the latest stage in a lengthy legal battle to obtain information about the president’s tax affairs
17 Sep 2019
Despite pledging to release his tax returns during his campaign to become president in 2016, Trump has so far failed to do so. All previous presidential nominees have routinely done so for the past 40 years.
Now the Manhattan district attorney’s office has subpoenaed the president’s accountants, Mazars USA, to hand over returns for the eight years from 2011, as part of a criminal investigation it launched last month.
This is looking at whether Trump and his family business paid $130,000 (£104,750) to his former lawyer Michael Cohen, which was then used as ‘hush money’ during the election campaign, to ensure that porn star ‘Stormy Daniels’ ceased discussing an affair which she claimed to have had with the president. Trump denies the allegations.
Part of this investigation is focused on whether the Trump Organisation falsely accounted for the payments as a legal expense. In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.
In a statement Mazars USA said: ‘Mazars USA will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.
‘We believe strongly in the ethical and professional rules and regulations that govern our industry, our work and our client interactions. As a matter of firm policy and professional rules we do not comment on the work we conduct for our clients.’
Marc Mukasey, a lawyer for the Trump Organisation, said: ‘We are evaluating and will respond as appropriate.’
Since he took office, there has been a campaign to force Trump to provide details of his tax returns, with Democrats suggesting he may be trying to conceal details of his actual financial worth, the source of his wealth and possible conflicts of interest involving his business partners.
Trump has claimed that ongoing Internal Revenue Service audits mean he cannot make his returns public, even though such audits do not stop individuals from releasing their returns.
Congressional Democrats have already subpoenaed six years of Trump returns from the Treasury department, as well as demanding certain documents from Mazars USA, along with information from two banks, to support their own inquiries.
By Pat Sweet