Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified that the president ‘inflated’ his wealth way back 2013, The New York Times reports. According to Cohen, Trump sought to acquire a loan from Deutsche Bank to buy the NFL team, the Buffalo Bills. In order to get this loan, the businessman-turned-politician had ‘grossly overstated’ his financial statements which he submitted to Deutsche Bank, US News states.
Russ Beuttner and Susanne Craig report that this alleged inflation came in the form of a ‘mysterious’ additional asset that reflected on his financial statements. This added asset was ‘brand value’ amounting to $4 billion as per Trump.
In the summer of 2014, Trump started his bid for the NFL team along with 2 other competitors. According to the US News, the financial statement he submitted to the Deutsche Bank shows that his net worth in 2012 was $4.55 billion and spiked in 2013 when he has a net worth of $8.66 billion after the inclusion of the ‘brand value’ asset. The team ended up with Terry and Kim Pegula who owns the NHL Buffalo Sabres.
Whilst the now-president failed to acquire the Bills, this wealth overstatement allowed him to enter Forbes’ list of wealthiest people. The asset in question also allowed him to reduce is real estate assets, thus lowering his real estate taxes without significantly affecting his standing in the list.
Meanwhile, former federal prosecutor Duncan Levin says that this accusation is a ‘criminal type of behaviour.’ Moreover, US News states that Trump could be charged under New York state law, as well as under federal law.