Individual-1’s mysterious $50 million loan to himself suggests (more) tax fraud

CBS News / YouTube WATCH NOW President Donald Trump Holds...
CBS News / YouTube

Mother Jones starts to look at what others considered an entirely hinky path though Trump’s Chicago investments.

Donald Trump’s massive debts—he owes hundreds of millions of dollars—are the subject of continuous congressional and journalistic scrutiny. But for years, one Trump loan has been particularly mystifying: a debt of more than $50 million that Trump claims he owes to one of his own companies. According to tax and financial experts, the loan, which Trump has never fully explained, might be part of a controversial tax avoidance scheme known as debt parking. Yet a Mother Jones investigation has uncovered information that raises questions about the very existence of this loan, presenting the possibility that this debt was concocted as a ploy to evade income taxes—a move that could constitute tax fraud.

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To fend off his biggest creditor, Trump attempted a brazen legal gambit. He sued Deutsche Bank, accusing the firm of causing the housing crisis and economic meltdown that was supposedly inhibiting his ability to sell units in the Chicago project and repay his debts. Eventually, Trump settled his financial differences with Deutsche by repaying some of the money he owed the bank and refinancing the rest through the bank’s private banking arm, according to records filed with the Cook County Recorder of Deeds. That is, Trump took out a new loan through Deutsche’s private bank to cover his debt to the firm’s commercial lending side. 

Here’s what is publicly known about this mystery debt: On the personal financial disclosure forms that Trump must file each year as president, he has divulged that he owes “over $50 million” to a company called Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC. The forms note that this entity is fully owned by Trump. In other words, Trump owes a large chunk of money to a company he controls.

[…]

To recap: Trump claims he bought a debt related to his Chicago venture, but neither of the two loans associated with this property appear to have been purchased. The Deutsche Bank loan was refinanced. The Fortress debt, according to sources with knowledge of the transaction, was canceled. And this raises a question: Did Trump create a bogus loan to evade a whopping tax bill on about $48 million of income?

www.motherjones.com/…

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