World

Trump posts $175m bond in New York fraud case

April 02, 2024
Donald Trump attends his New York business fraud trial
Donald Trump attends his New York business fraud trial

NEW YORK — Former US President Donald Trump has posted a $175m (£140m) bond in his New York civil fraud case, staving off asset seizures by the state.

Trump was originally ordered to pay the full $464m judgment against him, but an appeals court said he could pay the smaller sum within 10 days.

He was found in February to have fraudulently inflated property values.

The Republican denies wrongdoing and says the case is a political witch hunt by the Democratic prosecutor.

If he loses his appeal, Trump will have to come up with the $464m. His lawyers had argued before the appellate court that securing a bond for that amount would be a "practical impossibility".

Monday's bond payment will — for now at least — spare Trump the humiliation of seeing his real estate assets such as Trump Tower in Manhattan and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida taken away from him.

In a statement, his lawyer Alina Habba said: "As promised, President Trump has posted bond. He looks forward to vindicating his rights on appeal and overturning this unjust verdict."

The fraud case against Trump was filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, in 2022.

Justice Arthur Engoron, also a Democrat, broadly sided with Ms James' argument that Trump should pay a steep price for fraudulently misrepresenting his assets in order to get more favourable loans and interest rates over the course of years.

Trump argued the case had no victims because the banks got repaid with interest and no financial institution sued him for the exaggerated estimates of his net worth.

Justice Engoron also barred Trump from running a New York business for three years.

He was also prohibited from getting loans from New York financial institutions over the same period.

The ruling placed Trump, who has said in depositions and on social media that he has $400m or $500m in cash on hand, under a serious financial crunch.

Forbes Magazine currently estimates his net worth at $5.7bn — it soared after the parent company of his social media platform Truth Social went public last week.

Around the same time he lost the fraud case, Trump had to secure a $91m bond after losing an unrelated defamation lawsuit brought by the writer E Jean Carroll.

To delay enforcement of the penalty while he appealed the civil fraud case, Trump initially sought a bond from 30 companies but was unable to secure one, his lawyers wrote in court filings.

In addition to reducing the amount he would need to post last week, the appeals court also suspended the ban on Trump's ability to run a business and get loans while they consider his challenge to Justice Engoron's ruling.

It could take months, or longer, for the case to be decided.

In the meantime, Trump's first criminal trial — over his alleged attempt to fraudulently conceal hush-money payments to an adult film star ahead of the 2016 election — is scheduled to begin on 15 April in Manhattan.

He has also been charged in two additional cases with trying to overturn his 2020 election loss against President Joe Biden and over his handling of classified documents after leaving office.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all of those cases. — BBC


April 02, 2024
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