Matthew Calamari under investigation by Manhattan DA: WSJ

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Matthew Calamari stands in the lobby of the Trump Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, New York.

Former president that of Donald Trump A former bodyguard, who is now a top executive at the Trump family business, is reportedly under investigation by prosecutors in Manhattan.

According to the Wall Street newspaper, executive of the Trump organization Matthew Calamari is being reviewed by the New York District Attorney’s Office as part of their broader investigation to determine whether the company and / or its officers have committed fraud. Here, the apparent focus is on whether the Trump Organization and senior officials circumvented tax laws by offering employees benefits that were never factored into tax returns.

Prosecutors’ interest in Calamari can be compared to their interest in Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, who was reportedly targeted with the aim of returning him as part of the larger investigation into allegations that Trump’s family overvalued and undervalued certain assets in order to receive undue discounts or benefits.

No charges have been filed against Weisselberg or Calamari, but the former was subpoenaed at the end of March of this year. The office headed by Cyrus Vance, Jr. convened a grand jury at the end of May, which will be convened for a period of six months.

Of WSJreport of Rebecca ballhaus and Corinne Ramey:

In recent weeks, prosecutors have informed Mr. Calamari and his son, Matthew Calamari Jr., that they should hire their own lawyer, people familiar with the matter said. The eldest, Mr. Calamari, who works as the chief operating officer of the Trump Organization, and his son, the company’s chief security officer, were previously represented by a lawyer who also represented other employees of the the Trump Organization, one of the people said.

Such a recommendation is often a sign that prosecutors’ interest in a topic is intensifying, but does not mean that the Calamari will be charged with wrongdoing.

The Calamaris have hired Nicolas Gravante Jr., head of commercial litigation at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, some people said.

Calamari, a mainstay of the Trump family, briefly participated in the 45th President’s presidential campaign in 2016 and was paid just over $ 4,000 in July of that year, according to records gathered by the Federal Election Commission. He started working as Trump’s bodyguard in 1981 and eventually impressed his boss so much that Trump praised him in a 2004 financial self-help book / memoir: “Trump: How to Get Rich”.

The COO’s potential role in the fraud investigation became a matter of public knowledge – and of the Crown’s interest – last summer after the former lawyer testified in Congress, Trump’s friend and fixer. Michael cohen.

representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) put arrows in at least two prosecutors’ quivers, asking Cohen directly if he knew if Trump “ever supplies[d] swollen assets at an insurance company.

“Yes,” Cohen replied.

“Who else knows the president did this?” Asked the Bronx-based Democratic Socialist.

Cohen then involved Calamari, Weisselberg and the executive Ron Lieberman.

This brief back and forth quickly led to both Vance’s office and the New York State Attorney General Letitia james (D) to initiate or expand pre-existing investigations into Trump’s family, Eric Trump in particular, and the company that bears their name.

“If he inflates his assets to get a better insurance rate or whatever, he is using a ploy or a trick – which is the language of the law – it’s probably a ploy or a trick to defraud the company. insurance “, expert in computer law and criminal defense lawyer Tor Ekeland Law & Crime said at the time.

“The important thing to note about wire fraud and bank fraud laws is that they are extremely broad and you don’t need to be successful in committing the fraud you were trying to initiate.” , Ekeland explained. “The second you communicate in interstate commerce – with a phone or email, the wires – they’ve got you.”

[image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

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