A top executive at former US President Donald Trump's family business pleaded guilty to tax evasion charges on Thursday. The guilty plea was part of a deal with prosecutors that could see him become a star witness against the firm in an upcoming trial, reported DW, quoting news agencies AP and Reuters.
Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg admitted to all 15 charges against him, including that he took over $1.7 million (€1.69 million) worth of untaxed perks. These perks included private school tuition for his grandchildren, free rent in a luxury Manhattan apartment, and lease payments for his car.
In return for a relatively light sentence of five months in jail, Weisselberg will be required to testify against the Trump Organization during a trial in the autumn. The case revolves around a 15-year long fraud scheme carried out within the company. Donald Trump himself has not been charged.
Weisselberg, 75, is also required to pay about $2 million in fines and back taxes.
Weisselberg 'directly implicates the Trump Organization'
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement that Weisselberg's plea "directly implicates the Trump Organization in a wide range of criminal activity and requires Weisselberg to provide invaluable testimony in the upcoming trial against the corporation.''
"We look forward to proving our case in court against the Trump Organization,'' he said.
Weisselberg, who was arrested last year, is the only person to face criminal charges so far in the Manhattan district attorney's long-running investigation of the company's business practices.
A grand jury that had been convened to determine whether Trump should also be charged was disbanded by Bragg, though he says the investigation is still ongoing.