US President Donald Trump may call several allegations against him "fake' and "very old and boring," but they often continue to haunt him. In the latest, a class action lawsuit was filed on Monday, October 29, in Manhattan federal court, accusing the president, his company, and his three children of making millions off investment scams.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of four individuals whose identities haven't been revealed, names Eric, Donald Jr., and Ivanka Trump and says they used their brands to urge investors to put their money in unlawful schemes, reported CNN. They are said to have promoted the schemes of three companies in exchange for "secret" payment.
The three companies are said to be ACN Opportunity (a telecommunications marketing company), the Trump Network, (a health product marketing company) and the Trump Institute, which is said to be a seminar program that "purported to sell Trump's 'secrets to success.'" However, the companies haven't been named as defendants.
The 160-page lawsuit clearly states that the Trumps "deliberately misled" investors by making it look like their investments in these companies would garner them great returns. It adds that the Trumps were, in fact, aware that the schemes were unlawful and investors would end up losing the money that they had put in it, the daily said.
While the lawsuit claims that the Trumps were involved in the "racketeering activity," a lawyer for the Trump organisation said that the case was filed as a political agenda, considering it is even funded by nonprofit with ties to Democratic candidates.
Calling it "completely meritless," the lawyer Alan Garten said in a statement: "This is clearly just another effort by opponents of the President to use the court system to advance a political agenda."
Garten also questioned the timing of the lawsuit and said that the case was filed now just to disrupt the November 6 midterm elections.
However, a spokesperson for the plaintiffs said that there was no hidden agenda behind the timing and it was filed "because it is ready now." "We did a thorough investigation and a lot of legal research, and the plaintiffs are eager to file," he added. "No matter when this was filed, the Trump Org would say it was politically motivated."
The lawsuit comes days after an investigation by the New York Times raised questions on the Trump family's tax bills. The NYT revealed that the president and his siblings helped their parents conceal their wealth by setting up a fictitious corporation and declaring false tax deductions. He reportedly also helped undervalue his parents' assets and properties, which then incurred minimal tax bills when transferred to him and his siblings.
While the New York State Department launched a probe into these allegations, the Trump camp labeled the report "misleading" and "defamatory."
Charles J. Harder, a lawyer acting on behalf of the president, told the NYT that these "allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory."
"There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone," he said. "The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate."