Crypto-trading platform Coinseed will close down after being sued by New York for selling ‘worthless’ tokens and moving investor money without permission

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New York State Attorney General Letitia James during a news conference in New York on May 21, 2021.

Cryptocurrency trading platform Coinseed is shutting down after being sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James earlier this year for fraud.

“I’m announcing that I am winding down the business due to a lawsuit from the NYAG,” Del Davaasambuu, Coinseed cofounder and CEO, said in a statement found on the landing page of the company website.

The saga began on February 17 when James filed a lawsuit against the company for defrauding investors out of more than $1 million via undisclosed fees and through the sale of “worthless” CSD tokens, Coinseed’s cryptocurrency.

On May 6, James took legal action to halt operations of Coinseed, alleging that the company allocated investors’ money into dogecoin without permission.

According to a filing, Coinseed on April 16 converted all investor assets into bitcoin “without notice or authorization” and disabled all functionality in the application so that they will not be able to withdraw their money. Later on the same day, Coinseed traded the bitcoins for dogecoin.

The office of the AG said it received more than 170 complaints from investors who were concerned about protecting their assets in the first three months after filing the lawsuit.

Then on June 7, the office of the attorney general secured a court order to halt what it called the illegal and fraudulent operations of Coinseed.

“When platforms operating illegally in New York seek to trade on investors’ money, we will use every tool at our disposal to stop their unlawful actions,” James said in a statement.

But Davaasambuu maintains his company did nothing wrong.

“There are still no regulations about how to classify cryptocurrencies and what kind of licenses they should obtain to run a business in the US,” he said in a post on the company’s website. “We don’t even have a clear guidance on how to pay crypto-related taxes.”

He added that after their initial coin offering in 2017, James and her office were “constantly harassing” them.

“We couldn’t even list our token in other exchanges because of their constant pressures and bullying,” he said. “Coinseed is a small startup with little money and we couldn’t hire good lawyers to fight them in the court which would cost millions of dollars.”

The CEO called James a “business-abuser” who chased after him and his company until all his team members left. Davaasambuu also blamed the series of events for the breakdown in his mental health.

Davaasambuu added that user funds will be returned soon once they hire a team of lawyers. Coinseed’s payment providers terminated their account in February, he said, due to the lawsuit.

He also said that the “fatal” mistake he made since founding his company in 2017 was living in New York.

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New York attorney general claims victory against NRA after it dropped lawsuit against her

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In this Aug. 6, 2020 file photo, New York State Attorney General Letitia James takes a question at a news conference in New York.

  • The National Rifle Association dropped its lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James.
  • NRA lawyers sued James and her office, claiming her investigation was politically motivated.
  • “We were victorious,” James’ office said in a statement, according to Law & Crime.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The National Rifle Association on Friday dropped its lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James and her office.

“The NRA dropping its countersuit today in federal court is an implicit admission that their strategy would never prevail,” James said in a statement to legal news outlet Law & Crime.

“The truth is that Wayne LaPierre and his lieutenants used the NRA as a breeding ground for personal gain and a lavish lifestyle,” she continued. “We were victorious against the organization’s attempt to declare bankruptcy, and our fight for transparency and accountability will continue because no one is above the law.”

According to CNN, the NRA said in a statement the suit was “voluntarily” withdrawn in the US District Court for the Northern District of New York “in favor of pursuing the same claims against James in New York State court in Manhattan.

The organization filed a similar lawsuit against James in New York state court earlier this year, according to CNN.

Lawyers for the NRA sued James and her office in August 2020, claiming James and her office were illegally investigating the organization for political reasons.

“There can be no doubt that the James’s actions against the NRA are motivated and substantially caused by her hostility toward the NRA’s political advocacy,” lawyers for the NRA claimed in the filing the lawsuit last year.

As Law & Crime reported, that lawsuit was filed the same day James’ office filed a petition seeking the dissolution of the NRA over claims of fraud at the organization, including that longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre and others improperly organization funds for pay for things like travel and “expensive meals.”

A federal judge last month dismissed the NRA’s request to declare bankruptcy and said its petition to do so had not “been filed in good faith” and that the NRA attempted to file bankruptcy to avoid litigation in New York.

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Kodak’s CEO engaged in insider trading when he purchased stock in the company while negotiating with the White House for a $655 million loan, NY AG says

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  • New York Attorney General Letitia James said Kodak CEO Jim Continenza engaged in insider trading last summer when he purchased 46,737 shares of the company.
  • The CEO made the purchase while he was leading secret discussions with the White House for a loan, James said. Public news of the loan sent the stock soaring.
  • Kodak said Continenza was not in possession of material non-public information, and he has never sold a share.
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The CEO of Kodak unlawfully traded stock in the company while negotiating a confidential $655 million loan with the White House in the beginning of the pandemic, New York Attorney General Letitia James said this week.

The AG said she filed a petition with the New York County State Supreme Court to have Kodak CEO Jim Continenza publicly testify about his purchase of 46,737 shares of Kodak early last summer.

Continenza made the purchase while he was leading secret discussions with the Trump White House and the federal government for a $655 million loan to enable Kodak to repurpose assets to purchase chemicals that would make COVID-19 medicines, James said.

“Just over a month after Continenza’s stock purchase, Kodak signed a public letter of interest with the federal government for the loan – which by then had grown to $765 million – causing Kodak stock to soar,” said James. “The day after the news was announced, Kodak’s stock price reached a high of $60 per share – more than 27 times what Continenza had paid for the stock mere weeks earlier. “

Kodak shares spiked as much as 2,190% in the two days after the loan announcement on July 28. Kodak also gained as much as 26% the day before information about the loan was made public.

In a public response to James, Kodak said Continenza was not in possession of material non-public information and his stock purchase was pre-approved by Kodak’s General Counsel in accordance with Kodak’s insider trading policy. The CEO has purchased Kodak stock in “virtually every open window period and has never sold a single share,” the company said.

“In addition to being wrong on the facts, the Attorney General’s novel and highly problematic legal theory that seeks to impose liability in the absence of intent would have a chilling effect on directors and executives of every public company, who could never invest in their own companies without fear of having good-faith decisions, pre-approved by counsel, second-guessed by regulators and charged as insider trading,” said Kodak.

However, James said that Continenza’s trading wasn’t in compliance with the policy.

“Kodak’s insider trading policy requires pre-clearance to be sought by email at least one day prior to the trading and for the requester to ‘receive’ a ‘response’ approving the trading – neither of which occurred,” the AG said.

Kodak disclosed James’ threatened lawsuit last month. James is the latest to investigate the Kodak loan. The US international Development Finance Corp reviewed the loan in 2020 but found no wrongdoing, according to the Wall Street Journal. The SEC also opened an investigation last summer that is ongoing, according to Kodak’s filings.

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The New York Attorney General’s announcement about a ‘criminal’ Trump Organization probe could flip more witnesses

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Prosecutors in New York are examining the finances of former President Donald Trump.

  • The New York AG’s office said its investigation into the Trump Organization is criminal in nature.
  • The unusual announcement could help shake out more cooperating witnesses, legal experts say.
  • By working closely with the Manhattan DA, the NYAG signaled a low chance of legal turf fights.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The New York Attorney General’s unusual announcement that its investigation into the Trump Organization is now criminal could be part of a strategy to shake loose more cooperating witnesses, according to legal experts.

Late Tuesday night, a spokesperson for the attorney general’s office first told CNN that its investigation was being conducted “in a criminal capacity.”

The spokesperson also said prosecutors were working with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, which has so far been running its own separate investigation into former president Donald Trump’s and the Trump Organization’s finances.

“We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature,” Fabien Levy, New York State Attorney General Letitia James’s press secretary, told Insider. “We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA.”

The statement struck legal observers as unusual.

The New York Attorney General’s and Manhattan District Attorney’s offices rarely make public comments about the progress of ongoing investigations – unless they’re highlighting some victory in court. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. commented on winning Supreme Court cases to subpoena Trump’s tax documents, and New York Attorney General Letitia James addressed the subpoena of Eric Trump. Both offices declined Insider’s requests for comment beyond Levy’s statement.

An attorney representing Jennifer Weisselberg, a cooperating witness in both investigations who was married to the son of the Trump Organization’s CFO, said he had already been in contact with attorneys from the criminal division of James’ office.

Duncan Levin told Insider the notion that James’ investigation was criminal in nature “did not come as news” to him, nor was it news that her attorneys were teaming up with Vance’s.

“They’ve told us previously that they’re coordinating their efforts with the DA’s office,” he said. “We understand that they’re in touch with each other and that they’re coordinating their investigations together. We’ve known that for a while.”

Shaking loose more cooperating witnesses

Prosecutors in both offices are said to be examining whether the former president or his company committed financial crimes by keeping two sets of books: one that presented a rosy portrait of finances to secure favorable insurance and loan terms, and another that showed more dire figures in order to evade taxes.

Jeff Robbins, a former attorney for the US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, oversaw money-laundering probes as a federal prosecutor. He said the statement from James’ office was likely designed to “shake loose” more people in Trump’s orbit who could cooperate.

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Michael Cohen leaves federal court on Aug. 21, 2018, in New York.

Some potential witnesses or cooperators may have decided there was limited risk in ignoring prosecutors’ phone calls in a civil investigation; there’s a bigger risk if they don’t cooperate with a criminal investigation, he said.

“One possible calculation in making this announcement yesterday is to announce to those people: ‘You know what, the time for standing on the sidelines is over,'” Robbins, now the co-chair of the Congressional Investigations practice at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, told Insider.

High-profile people in Trump’s orbit already know that prosecutors have been seeking their cooperation. Michael Cohen, for example, has testified around a dozen times for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office. Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization CFO, appears to have rebuffed requests for cooperation.

But peripheral figures – former rank-and-file employees, tax preparers, insurance analysts, accountants – can still be helpful for prosecutors, according to Randy Zelin, a professor at Cornell Law School and white-collar criminal defense attorney at Wilk Auslander LLP. He said Tuesday’s announcement could bring them out of the shadows.

“The announcement is meant to do a couple of things, the most important of which just to continue to shake people up,” Zelin told Insider. “Anyone who in Trump’s orbit hearing that announcement is probably, aside from the sphincter tightening, they’re immediately on the phone with their lawyer.”

Robbing Trump and his company of a strategy to challenge potential charges

It’s not clear whether the Manhattan DA or New York AG will bring charges and, if they do, what those charges may be. Prosecutors could charge Trump personally; charge only the Trump Organization; charge certain executives; or they may not bring charges at all.

In a 909-word statement Wednesday, Trump derided the investigations as illegitimate and politically motivated.

The announcement of closer cooperation between the two offices could make it harder for Trump or the Trump Organization to evade litigation, however.

Defendants often try to dismiss or delay court proceedings based on jurisdictional issues. Vance’s office may have the authority to bring certain charges that James’s office doesn’t, and vice versa.

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Donald Trump boards the elevator in Trump Tower in 2017.

It’s common for defendants to argue the prosecutor who brought a case doesn’t have the authority to do so, and ask a judge to dismiss the case on those grounds. Prosecutors also sometimes try to take credit for major cases by claiming they have the sole authority to bring charges.

But the announcement that James’ office is working with Vance’s suggests they’ve worked out jurisdictional turfs between themselves, Zelin told Insider, making it less likely that Trump or his company can tie up their potential cases in the courts.

“There are times when there’s a clash of egos. And there are times when egos get put aside and there’s enough for everyone,” Zelin said. “I think here – when you’re talking about going after the former president of the United States, which in and of itself is going to be a daunting task – the agencies are very happy to say, OK, let’s divide and conquer here.”

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Four women who’ve accused Cuomo of sexual harassment have been issued subpoenas by New York attorney general

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • Four women who said Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed them have received subpoenas.
  • The subpoenas represent the next step in the investigation into the claims led by the attorney general’s office.
  • Since December, several women have come forward against Cuomo, who’s repeatedly denied all allegations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Four women who’ve levied accusations of sexual harassment against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have received subpoenas, the New York Times reported.

Attorney General Letitia James’ office issued the subpoenas, marking the latest step and potentially opening another door in the office’s probe into the allegations.

James’ investigation began in March in response to pressure from lawmakers demanding that Cuomo resign, which the governor has repeatedly vowed he would not do.

Third-party investigators brought on by James to complete the probe have not yet said when they plan to release the results to the public. The Times, speaking to a person familiar with the investigation, reported that the investigation is expected to be finished by the end of this summer.

Since December, Cuomo has been hit one after the other with several sexual harassment accusations.

The first was from a former aide, who said she had been sexually harassed by the governor “for years.” At the time, Lindsey Boylan, who worked for the governor between 2015 and 2018, did not divulge specific information about the circumstances and declined to speak to journalists.

But months later, Boylan broke her silence in a Medium post, saying Cuomo had touched her inappropriately and kissed her without her consent.

Cuomo’s office has repeatedly denied her claims. “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” Cuomo’s press secretary Caitlin Girouard said in a statement.

Since Boylan’s accusations surfaced, at least 10 other women have come forward with similar allegations of their own against the governor. Cuomo has also denied all the allegations from the women who’ve come forward.

Earlier this week, Cuomo once again responded to allegations of sexual harassment at a press briefing, during which he offered his own definition of sexual harassment.

“Harassment is not making someone feel uncomfortable,” the governor said, speaking to a reporter who asked about workplace harassment. “That is not harassment. If I just made you feel uncomfortable, that is not harassment. That is you feeling uncomfortable.”

The independent investigators hired to conduct the probe are “authorized to utilize any of its resources as it deems appropriate,” documents obtained by the New York Daily News said.

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A Texas judge has thrown out the NRA’s bankruptcy case, clearing the way for New York’s attempts to dissolve the group

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National Rifle Association (NRA) Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Oxon Hill, Md.

  • A Texas judge rejected the NRA’s attempt to go bankrupt, siding with New York state prosecutors.
  • Prosecutors said the bankruptcy filing was an attempt to squirm out of other litigation.
  • In August, the New York Attorney General’s office accused the NRA of corruption and negligent oversight.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A Texas judge is throwing out the National Rifle Association’s bankruptcy filing, saying that the case was filed in “bad faith” in an effort to avoid litigation in New York.

Judge Harlin Hale’s decision to throw out the case came after New York Attorney General Letitia James and others questioned the legitimacy of the bankruptcy filing. Law 360 first reported the ruling.

The NRA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on January 15 after James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the gun rights organization, alleging it abused its legal status as a nonprofit. In its August filing, New York prosecutors accused the group of corruption and said its longtime CEO Wayne LaPierre “instituted a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight.”

While reports of financial troubles have dogged the NRA for years, its bankruptcy filings showed it was financially solvent and had assets worth roughly $50 million more than its debts. The organization tried to restructure in Texas, claiming New York had a corrupt regulatory environment.

Prosecutors for James’s office viewed the bankruptcy filing as an attempt to squirm out of the litigation. Hale’s decision sides with those prosecutors, effectively giving a green light to James’s office to continue its lawsuit.

“A judge has ruled in our favor and rejected the @NRA’s attempt to claim bankruptcy and reorganize in Texas,” James said in a tweet Tuesday. “The @NRA does not get to dictate if and where it will answer for its actions, and our case will continue in New York court. No one is above the law.”

In court hearings, attorneys for the NRA have accused James of waging a political campaign against the organization. Closely aligned with Republican politicians, the NRA rallies its members to thwart gun safety laws typically supported by Democratic politicians. Research consistently shows that strict gun laws reduce gun violence. The NRA’s attorneys said that Texas, controlled by Republicans, would offer a regulatory haven for the organization.

The Justice Department stepped into the dispute earlier in May, saying the “evidentiary record clearly and convincingly establishes” that LaPierre failed to provide proper oversight and manipulated personal expenses so that they looked like business expenses.

Hale’s ruling permits the NRA to file for bankruptcy again, but he said that he would likely appoint a trustee to oversee the group if it does rather than leave LaPierre in control of the organization’s finances.

LaPierre is dealing with several other headaches in addition to litigation from the New York Attorney General’s office. In October, the Wall Street Journal reported he was under IRS investigation for possible criminal tax fraud. And in April, the Trace and the New Yorker published footage of him struggling to kill an elephant. The NRA said the publication of the video was intended to embarrass him.

This article has been updated.

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A crypto-trading platform being sued for fraud by New York stands accused of moving all of its clients’ assets into dogecoin without telling them

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Dogecoin was started as a joke in 2013.

  • The New York state attorney general this month took legal action to immediately halt the continued illegal and fraudulent operations of Coinseed.
  • The sate AG alleges Coinseed moved investors’ money into dogecoin without permission.
  • Over 130 complaints from investors have that reinforce the allegation have poured into the NYAG office.
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New York Attorney General Letitia James on May 6 took legal action to halt operations of cryptocurrency trading platform Coinseed.

The state AG alleges that Coinseed allocated investors’ money into dogecoin without permission.

Per the filing first viewed by Bloomberg, Coinseed on April 16 converted all investor assets into bitcoin “without notice or authorization” and disabled all functionality in the application, so that they will not be able to withdraw their money.

In the evening of the same day, Coinseed traded the bitcoins for dogecoin, described as “an extremely volatile virtual currency” in the filing, and which at that time was experiencing a sharp selloff.

“[The Office of Attorney General] has received dozens of complaints from investors describing that [Coinseed] conducted these unauthorized trades and transferred all investor assets into dogecoin,” the filing said.

An example of an investor complaint on April 17 was included. The investor alleged that Coinseed transferred all his cryptocurrency to dogecoin without his permission and blocked his ability to withdraw his money. From a $20,000 balance the night before, he said the transfer to dogecoin immediately dropped his balance to $7,000.

Four other complaints followed a similar narrative.

“Unregulated and fraudulent virtual currency trading platforms have no place in New York,” the Attorney General said in a statement.

She continued: “Three months ago, we filed this case against Coinseed and its executives alleging that they violated New York state laws and illegally squandered investors’ monies. However, in the months since we filed our suit, the greed perpetrated by Coinseed and its CEO has not only continued but grown.”

In February, the office of James filed a lawsuit against Coinseed and its two top executives.

At that time, James accused Coinseed of defrauding investors out of more than $1 million via undisclosed fees and through the sale of “worthless” CSD tokens. CSD tokens were Coinseed’s own cryptocurrency.

But in the last month, dogecoin has had a stellar performance. It is up more than 70% since the middle of April and is now the fifth-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization according to CoinGecko. It may also be enjoying institutional backing soon.

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk tweeted a poll Tuesday asking if his followers want Tesla to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.

Still, James has alleged in her filing that Coinseed has “drained both bank and virtual currency accounts that held investor deposits and moved investor assets overseas.”

The AG said that in the nearly three months since James filed her lawsuit, they received over 130 complaints from investors regarding Coinseed’s conduct.

The Office has therefore asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. They have also asked the court to appoint a receiver to oversee all assets in an effort to safeguard investments as the lawsuit proceeds.

Coinseed CEO Delger Davaasambuu, however, told The Block that the complaints were “full of false accusations.” The CEO maintained that Coinseed left New York in 2019 and has not accepted any users from New York since 2018.

As the meme cryptocurrency with the Shiba Inu as its mascot skyrocketed an astronomical 10,000% year-to-date, more and more people are jumping in.

A report published by the blockchain intelligence provider TRM Labs on Monday detailed how fraudsters manipulated Musk’s dogecoin promotion during his anticipated hosting of the iconic Saturday Night Live Show on May 8 and pocketed dogecoin worth $5 million.

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The investigators looking into sexual harassment claims against Gov. Cuomo have wide, sweeping powers and are paid as much as $750 per hour

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

  • The investigators reviewing sexual harassment claims against Gov. Andrew Cuomo are being paid as much as $750 per hour.
  • Attorney General Letitia James hired the independent investigators after several women came forward with allegations Cuomo.
  • The Daily News reported that the investigators have wide, sweeping power to conduct the probe freely.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The investigators leading the probe into the numerous sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are being paid as much as $750 an hour.

According to the New York Daily News, which obtained internal documents through FOIA requests, the investigators have wide, sweeping powers to conduct the investigation.

Attorney General Letitia James hired out the independent investigators after several women came forward with allegations that the governor made inappropriate and sexually harassing remarks or advances toward them.

Former Acting US Attorney for New York’s Southern District Joon Kim and employment discrimination attorney Anne Clark are in charge of spearheading the probe.

Their offices are “authorized to utilize any of its resources as it deems appropriate to carry out” the investigation, the documents say, according to the Daily News.

Both firms have been retained for a period of at least six months, the Daily News reported. But James is able to extend the contracts as she deems necessary.

Their work comes at a hefty cost, documents obtained by the Daily News reveal. Top-level partners working on the investigation receive as much as $750 per hour. Even mid- and lower-level partners are raking in large sums of money to carry out the probe. Mid-level partners, for example, get $575 per hour, and junior-level partners $500. Senior associates will receive $450 per hour and junior associates $325, the Daily News reported.

The investigators will prepare and deliver weekly progress reports to First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy. At the end of their investigation, they will produce a written report with all their findings and conclusions, the Daily News reported.

The investigation was prompted in part by state and federal lawmakers coming out in support of one.

Since December, Cuomo has faced several sexual harassment accusations. The first one was from a former aide who in December said she had been sexually harassed by the governor “for years.” At the time, Lindsey Boylan, who worked for the governor between 2015 and 2018, did not divulge specific information about the circumstances and declined to speak to journalists.

But in February, Boylan broke her silence in a Medium post, said Cuomo had touched her inappropriately and kissed her without her consent.

Cuomo’s office has repeatedly denied her claims. “As we said before, Ms. Boylan’s claims of inappropriate behavior are quite simply false,” press secretary Caitlin Girouard said in a statement.

Since Boylan’s accusations surfaced, at least 10 other women have come forward with similar allegations of their own against the governor.

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Meet Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization CFO prosecutors are reportedly trying to flip

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Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. at a press conference in Trump Tower as Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of The Trump Organization, looks on January 11, 2017.

  • Allen Weisselberg has been the Trump Organization’s longtime loyal CFO and family bookkeeper.
  • The Manhattan DA is reportedly trying to “flip” him for its investigation into Trump’s finances.
  • Weisselberg and his family’s close ties to the Trumps go into legal gray areas.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

During the past several years of criminal investigations, Congressional inquiries, and political battles over Donald Trump’s taxes and business dealings, the one man most intimately familiar with them has remained out of the spotlight.

The mustachioed, press-shy Allen Weisselberg has served as the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer for decades, as well as Trump’s personal bookkeeper. Now, he’s reportedly the subject of a wide-ranging inquiry from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors are looking into “flipping” Weisselberg into cooperating with an investigation into Trump’s finances, according to the Washington Post. Weisselberg, 73, has loyally served the Trump family since the 1970s and is the only person not a member of Trump’s family to oversee his trust while he was president. Prosecutors are reportedly zeroing in on Weisselberg’s two sons, both of whom also have close ties to the company.

Given his vast familiarity with the Trump family’s finances and their network of companies, Weisselberg could be the most important source for any investigation into Trump’s finances.

He’s also worked with prosecutors before.

Weisselberg knows more about the Trump Organization’s finances than anyone else

Weisselberg got his start with the Trump family in the 1970s as a bookkeeper for Fred Trump.

Over the years, he ascended the ranks of the Trump Organization to become its chief financial officer, and has held the keys to the family’s financial life, as well. (While other reports refer to him as an accountant, Weisselberg does not hold a CPA license, according to New York state records.)

“There’s a misconception about The Trump Organization that it’s this big, massive company with 10,000 employees,” Michael Cohen, Trump’s former personal lawyer and a vice president for the Trump Organization, said in Congressional testimony. “It’s not. I mean, the entire company was really run by 12 of us.”

Weisselberg’s name made headlines in 2018 and 2019 as federal prosecutors investigated Cohen’s hush-money payments ahead of the 2016 election to women who accused Trump of having affairs with them.

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Michael Cohen.

Cohen released a tape purporting to show Weisselberg discussing how to facilitate the payments and what they might mean for the Trump Organization. And while Cohen ultimately pleaded guilty to federal crimes in connection with the scheme, The Wall Street Journal reported Weisselberg himself received immunity for cooperating with the investigators in the Southern District of New York who prosecuted Cohen, avoiding charges.

While the Manhattan District Attorney’s office likely has all the documents they need for their investigation, Jeff Robbins, a former federal prosecutor who oversaw money-laundering investigations, said that having someone like Weisselberg guide them through all the evidence could be enormously helpful.

“I’m sure the records have been turned over by the hundreds and thousands,” Robbins told Insider. “However, it sure makes it a lot easier if you have somebody who can walk the prosecutors through the documents and explain the sequence, and who would have had direct conversations with Trump.”

Unlike Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, two of Trump’s eldest children who play leading roles in his company, Weisselberg has made few forays into politics. New York state voter registration records reviewed by Insider show that he’s a registered Republican living in Manhattan’s Upper West Side (the building previously carried Trump branding that has since been removed), but he didn’t donate to any of his boss’ presidential campaigns.

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In this Aug. 21, 2018, file photo, Michael Cohen leaves federal court, in New York.

But he did donate to two of Trump’s political rivals. FEC records published by the Center for Responsive Politics show that Weisselberg donated to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York’s 2010 campaign and to former Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona’s presidential campaign in 2008. Both donations predated Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and Trump himself donated to Schumer’s campaigns in the 1990s.

Weisselberg also donated to former Illinois Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, a Democrat who led the House’s powerful Ways and Means Committee, in 1994. The donation came a month before Rostenkowski was criminally indicted for his role in a corruption scandal that ultimately led to his resignation and a guilty plea on mail fraud charges.

Weisselberg and his wife have a home, a short drive away from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club, in Boynton Beach, Florida. They’re currently involved in a lawsuit with their homeowner insurance company over damage following 2017’s Hurricane Irma.

Mary Mulligan, an attorney representing Weisselberg at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman LLP, declined to comment for this story.

His family’s financial ties with the Trump Organization go into legal gray areas

The Trumps have always seemed to have a porous wall between their personal finances and their businesses and foundations. In 2019, Trump paid $2 million to settle a lawsuit the New York Attorney General’s office brought, alleging he used resources from The Trump Foundation to boost his political fortunes.

These gray areas reportedly extend to Weisselberg and his family. And they also run into possible legal conundrums.

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In this file photo taken on January 11, 2017, US President-elect Donald Trump along with his children Eric (L) Ivanka and Donald Jr.(R) arrive for a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, accompanied by Allen Weisselberg (2nd R), chief financial officer of The Trump Organization.

In November 2000, according to Bloomberg News, Trump gave a unit at Trump Parc East, a condominium building at 100 Central Park South, to Weisselberg and his wife, Hilary. Records reviewed by Insider show it had a sale price of $152,500, an eye-poppingly low price for prime Manhattan real estate.

The couple sold it to their son Jack Weisselberg in 2003 for $148,000, who sold it for $570,000 in 2006, Bloomberg News reported.

Jack Weisselberg works as a finance director at Ladder Capital, his LinkedIn page says. The firm is one of Trump’s primary real estate lenders, loaning him $280 million to finance four of his Manhattan properties, according to records reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

Barry Weisselberg, another one of Allen Weisselberg’s sons, has even closer and more complicated financial ties with the Trumps. He’s an employee at the Trump Organization, having managed the Wollman ice skating rink in Central Park, which until recently was run by the company through a contract with New York City.

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Workers clear the ice at Wollman Rink in Central Park, after the city severed several contracts with the Trump Organization, in New York City, U.S., January 14, 2021.

He, too, received an apartment at the Trump Parc East building. According to Bloomberg News, Barry and his now-ex-wife Jennifer Weisselberg received it as a wedding gift in the mid-2000s from Trump and paid for only utilities, at around $400 per month. When the couple moved out, it was rented out for nearly $5,000 per month, and a Trump-owned entity sold it for $2.8 million in 2014, according to Bloomberg.

But while Barry and Jennifer Weisselberg both lived there, Barry listed it as a corporate apartment in his divorce proceedings, Bloomberg News reported. Their tax returns, though, according to Bloomberg News, didn’t always list the apartment as a corporate perk. The designation may mean that Barry Weisselberg and the Trump Organization itself may have not paid the correct amount of taxes on the apartment, Bloomberg’s Caleb Melby reported.

That apartment – and its tax ramifications – are a subject of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.’s investigation, according to the Washington Post.

“On the question of where Allen Weisselberg stands in the evidence pyramid, he stands right below Donald Trump himself,” Robbins, now an attorney at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, told Insider. “So it does appear to be an exploration on the part of the DA’s office as to whether or not they can flip Allen Weisselberg by leveraging one of his two sons.”

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Pedestrians pass the Trump Parc East building Tuesday, May 31, 2016, in New York.

The investigation into the Weisselbergs grew out of Vance’s investigation into the Trump Organization’s business dealings with other companies, including Deutsche Bank and Ladder Capital. Jack Weisselberg is also a subject of the probe, though it’s unclear if he had any role in loans Ladder Capitol gave to the Trump organization, according to Bloomberg News.

The Trump Organization also gave Barry Weisselberg an Upper East Side townhouse while he was in the divorce process in 2018, according to Bloomberg News. It isn’t clear how Weisselberg and the Trump Organization treated it in tax filings.

While Allen Weisselberg seems to have been loyal to the Trump family for years, Robbin said the pressure on his family could flip him.

“The likelihood of him cooperating goes up significantly if, in fact, the prosecutors have criminal charges that can reasonably be brought against his sons,” Robbins said. “For the simple human reason that what father would not do something unpleasant in order to help his sons out of a legal jam?”

Apartments seem to be a common perk for Trump employees. Cohen also had an apartment in one of Trump’s buildings while working for the mogul, and former communications director Hope Hicks stayed in one “rent-free” during Trump’s 2016 campaign. Matthew Calamari, Trump’s loyal longtime head of security, also has a home in the Trump Parc East building, according to records reviewed by Insider.

Jake Weisselberg and representatives for Ladder Capital didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment. Barry Weisselberg couldn’t be reached for comment. Jennifer Weisselberg didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

He’s cooperated with prosecutors in the past

Weisselberg’s name hasn’t been particularly important in the Manhattan DA’s court battles over Trump’s tax records. But he has played a role in different investigations from federal and state prosecutors.

The CFO testified for federal prosecutors in Manhattan who secured Cohen’s guilty plea. Weisselberg helped the Trump Organization reimburse Cohen the $130,000 hush-money payment he made to Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who said she had sex with Donald Trump during Melania Trump’s pregnancy.

Weisselberg’s name didn’t appear in the charging documents against Cohen, and he was never charged for his participation in the scheme.

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Michael Cohen, U.S. President Donald Trump’s former attorney, arrives for his sentencing at United States Court house in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 12, 2018.

Cohen hasn’t forgiven Weisselberg. When the news broke that prosecutors were looking into Weisselberg’s family, he took to Twitter.

“Remember that Allen Weisselberg received (federal) immunity from the SDNY to provide information and testify against me for the @StormyDaniels payment. #KarmaBoomerang,” Cohen wrote.

In a separate investigation, for Trump’s now-defunct charity foundation, Weisselberg testified for prosecutors working for New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Weisselberg told prosecutors he had little knowledge of the Trump Foundation’s operations and testified he had no knowledge that he was on the Trump Foundation’s board of directors in a deposition transcript reviewed by Insider.

He did, however, testify that the foundation was used to boost Trump’s campaign in 2016. James’ office used the testimony in its lawsuit against the Trump Foundation where a judge forced Trump to pay a $2 million fine.

Weisselberg’s vast knowledge of Trump’s finances has made him a target in civil lawsuits, as well.

He was a defendant in a 2017 lawsuit from William Weinstein, a New York resident who sought to create a mechanism to ensure that Trump wouldn’t take foreign profits as president through the Trump Organization. It was dismissed in short order, with the judge ruling that Weinstein didn’t have the standing to sue. Trump has steadfastly refused to release financial records, and The New York Times reported that Trump has paid far more in foreign taxes over the past two decades than in US taxes.

He’s been less helpful in an ongoing investigation from the New York AG

Weisselberg also testified in a different, ongoing investigation into Trump’s finances from James’ office, sitting for a deposition under subpoena in July and August 2020.

In that case, he was less forthcoming.

A court filing from the New York Attorney General’s office suggests that Weisselberg was questioned about the tax categorization of forgiven loans to the Trump Organization, but wasn’t very helpful.

“When examined by [the office of the attorney general], however, Mr. Weisselberg testified that he had no first-hand knowledge of this fact, had not reviewed the relevant documents to confirm that any such understanding was true, could not identify any return on which the forgiveness was treated as income, and instead was relying solely upon his recollection of conversations he had years earlier with the Trump Organization’s accountants concerning the tax treatment of the amount of the debt that was forgiven,” the filing says.

Letitia James Donald Trump Cyrus Vance
Former President Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The Trump Organization refused to furnish the relevant tax documents, attorneys for the AG office wrote in the filing.

Weisselberg was similarly unhelpful when asked about Seven Springs, a property in upstate New York that Trump has reportedly treated as a tax write-off for nature conservation even though family members have said it’s a personal residence.

The lack of information Weisselberg gave them in his testimony led the attorney general’s office to subpoena the Trump Organization for its tax documents, prosecutors wrote.

Since the Manhattan District Attorney’s office successfully won two Supreme Court battles to obtain Trump’s tax documents, experts say James’ office has a good chance of getting them on its own.

This article has been updated.

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Cuomo reverses course, asks New York Attorney General and top judge to appoint independent investigator over sexual harassment claims

cuomo nursing homes conspiracy
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces two accusations of sexual harassment.

  • New York Attorney General Letitia James asked Gov. Cuomo to allow her office to investigate claims against him. 
  • Two former staffers have accused Cuomo of sexual harassment. 
  • Numerous lawmakers, including Biden, have called for an independent investigation into the claims.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said he planned to revise his widely criticized plan to have a former federal judge with ties to a longtime ally investigate sexual harassment claims against him. 

In a Sunday press release, Cuomo’s office said he would instead ask New York Attorney General Letitia James and Janet DiFiore, the chief judge on the highest court in New York, to name “a jointly select an independent and qualified lawyer in private practice without political affiliation to conduct a thorough review of the matter and issue a public report.” 

“We had selected former Federal Judge Barbara Jones, with a stellar record for qualifications and integrity, but we want to avoid even the perception of a lack of independence or inference of politics,” his office said in a statement.

Cuomo’s announcement Sunday drew a near immediate backlash, however, because of Cuomo’s ties to DiFiore, whom he nominated for her current position atop the New York State Court of Appeals in 2015. Political insiders have previously accused Cuomo of intervening to help DiFiore’s daughter, Alexandra Murphy, secure a seat on the state Supreme Court, the New York Law Journal reported earlier in February. 

James also Sunday called on Cuomo to allow her office to investigate the sexual harassment claims leveled against him by two former staffers. 

“Allegations of sexual harassment should always be taken seriously,” James, a Democrat, said in a tweet Sunday
“There must be a truly independent investigation to thoroughly review these troubling allegations against the governor, and I stand ready to oversee that investigation and make any appointments necessary.”

“Given state law, this can only be accomplished through an official referral from the governor’s office and must include subpoena power,” James continued. “I urge the governor to make this referral immediately.”

Within the past week, two former staffers have accused the New York governor of sexual harassment in the workplace.

In an interview published Saturday with The New York Times, former aide Charlotte Bennett said Cuomo made unwanted sexual advances toward her and asked her inappropriate questions on multiple occasions last year.

“I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me, and felt horribly uncomfortable and scared,” she told the New York Times. “And was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job.”

Bennett’s allegations Saturday followed allegations leveled days earlier in a Medium blog post by Lindsey Boylan, another former Cuomo aide, who said that the governor made unwanted sexual advances toward her, including inappropriate touching, for years.

Boylan said Cuomo kissed her on the lips without her consent in 2018, leading her to resign.

Cuomo denied Boylan’s allegations and said he “never made advances toward Ms. Bennett, nor did I ever intend to act in any way that was inappropriate.” 

Numerous New York lawmakers have called for an independent investigation into the claims against Cuomo. Earlier Sunday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that President Joe Biden supported an independent investigation into the allegations against Cuomo.

“President Biden has been consistent that he believes that every woman should be heard, should be treated with respect, and with dignity. Charlotte should be treated with respect and dignity, so should Lindsey,” she said.

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