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Accountants drop Trump firm

Accountants drop Trump firm

Former US president Donald Trump. Photo: AFP

Donald Trump’s longtime accountants have ditched the former US president as a client, saying a decade’s worth of financial statements could not be relied upon, court documents showed Monday.

Mazars, a global audit, accounting and consulting group, informed the Trump Organization in a letter on February 9 that it would no longer work for the company, which is being probed by New York prosecutors for alleged fraud.

It was revealed in court by New York state attorney general Letitia James as she asked a judge to force Trump to comply with subpoenas seeking testimony in her investigation.

James announced in January that her civil inquiry into Trump’s family firm had uncovered “significant evidence” of misleading business practices, including the fraudulent valuation of assets.

Mazars wrote that James’s findings had contributed toward it deciding that accounts for Trump for the years ending June 30, 2011 to June 30, 2020 “should no longer be relied upon.”

The accounting firm added that an investigation of its own and “information received from internal and external sources” had also played a part in it reaching that conclusion.

The letter added that in part because of the decision regarding the statements, Mazars “are not able to provide any new work product to the Trump Organization.”

The financial records are at the heart of James’s investigation and a criminal probe by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

The twin inquiries are investigating whether the Trump Organization defrauded lenders into providing favorable loans.

James, a Democrat, said in January that her ongoing inquiry had found that the Trump Organization fraudulently overvalued multiple assets to secure loans and then undervalued them to minimize taxes.

She said the company had “misrepresented” the valuation of assets to financial institutions including the Internal Revenue Service, banks and insurers for “economic benefit.”

If James finds evidence of financial misconduct she can sue the Trump Organization for damages but cannot file criminal charges.

The probe, however, is running alongside a similar criminal investigation by the Manhattan DA for possible financial crimes and insurance fraud.

In July 2021, the Trump Organization and its long-serving finance chief, Allen Weisselberg, pleaded not guilty to 15 felony fraud and tax evasion charges.

AFP