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New York Attorney General Letitia James sued former President Donald Trump, the Trump Organization and others, including the ex-president’s eldest children, for financial fraud on Wednesday, in a lawsuit that includes allegations that the organization made misrepresentations in its purchase of surety bonds and directors and officers liability insurance.
The suit follows a petition filed earlier this year containing some of the allegations.
The wide-ranging lawsuit alleges that the defendants falsely inflated Mr. Trump’s net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company.
Among other things, the lawsuit charges that the Trump Organization and other defendants submitted false and misleading statements, along with other representations, to obtain financial benefit from the Trump Organization’s surety program, which involved surety bonds purchased from Zurich Insurance Group Ltd. placed by Aon PLC, and from its D&O insurers, which included Everest National Insurance Co.
According to the suit, D&O underwriters in 2016 were provided with “no more than fleeting access to Mr. Trump’s Statements, through a monitored in-person review at Trump Tower. Pursuant to a non-disclosure agreement, the Everest underwriter would incorporate information from Mr. Trump’s annual Statement provided by (Trump Chief Financial Officer) Allen Weisselberg for purposes of the annual renewal. At no point during such financial reviews were the underwriters informed about the false and misleading valuations contained within the Statement.”
The lawsuit says notices of claims under the D&O coverage were submitted to units of Tokio Marine HCC, Ryan Specialty Holdings Inc. Swiss Re Ltd, Argo Group International Holdings Ltd. and Allianz Group through Aon. The defendants concealed the existence of at least one governmental investigation, conducted by the New York attorney’ general’s office, the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit seeks to permanently bar Mr. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation; bar Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into any New York real estate acquisitions for five years; and award disgorgement of all financial benefits “obtained through the persistent fraudulent practices,” which is estimated to total $250 million
An attorney for Mr. Trump, Alina Habba, managing partner of Bedminster, New Jersey-based Habba Madaio & Associates, LLP, said in a statement, “Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda. It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place. We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”