Former US President Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump
AFP

A grand jury in Manhattan has filed criminal indictments on Wednesday against former US President Donald Trump's company and its longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, according to two people familiar with the indictments.

According to Washington Post, the indictments against the Trump Organization and its CFO, Allen Weisselberg, will remain sealed until Thursday afternoon, leaving the specific charges against them unclear. People familiar with the case said the charges were related to allegations of unpaid taxes on benefits for Trump Organization executives.

Weisselberg is expected to surrender on Thursday morning at the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr, two people familiar with the plan said. The Trump Organization will also be arraigned, represented in court by one of its attorneys.

The case against Trump Organization and Weisselberg represents a dramatic turn in the long-running probes. In an interview on Fox News, Trump called the myriad investigations and impeachments against him "all nonsense".

"New York radical left prosecutors come after me -- you gotta fight," he said.

Trump himself is not expected to be charged this week, the people said, and no others in his orbit are expected to face imminent charges. But the indictments could mark a significant escalation in his legal problems -- both by exposing his company to potential fines and by raising the pressure on Weisselberg, according to Washington Post.

Weisselberg, who has worked for Trump since the 1980s, is considered the most important figure in the Trump Organization. He has been involved in even minor financial transactions, including coordinating Trump's personal gifts to charity.

Weisselberg was a key figure in the investigations by Vance and New York Attorney General Letitia James, as both are trying to determine whether Trump broke the law by misleading lenders or taxing authorities, or by evading taxes on forgiven debts or fringe benefits for employees, according to court papers and people familiar with the cases.

Michael Cohen, who spent years as Trump's attorney and his aggressive defender, turned on Trump in 2018 after coming under investigation himself and pleaded guilty to making hush-money payments during the 2016 presidential campaign to women who said they'd had affairs with Trump years before.

Vance's office opened an investigation in 2018, responding to Cohen's charges that Trump had directed the illegal payoffs, Washington Post reported.

Trump and his organization have never faced criminal charges, but he has been the target of civil lawsuits from the office of the New York attorney general. In one case, he was sued for allegedly defrauding students at Trump University.

That case and others against Trump University ended with Trump paying a USD 25 million settlement in 2016. In 2018, Trump was sued for misusing money in a charity he controlled, a case that resulted in a judge ordering Trump to pay USD 2 million in damages.

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