Donald Trump received at least $413 million from his father's property empire and participated in "dubious" tax schemes in the 1990s including some which were fraudulent, The New York Times has claimed.
According to the Times, Trump's wealth was largely inherited from his parents and was increased through shady tax practices and, in some cases, "outright fraud".
The Times report said that much of that fortune came to Trump because he helped his parents evade taxes, setting up a fake corporation with his siblings to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their mom and dad.
"The New York Times's allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false, and highly defamatory", Donald Trump's lawyer, Charles Harder, wrote in a statement.
The report, which could potentially explain why Trump has resolutely refused to release his tax returns, has reportedly caught the notice of investigators from NY, where the Trump Organization is headquartered. "Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions", the statement said, before touting Trump's economic policies and his success at making trade deals. "The facts upon which The Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate". The returns and tax positions that the Times now attacks were examined in real time by the relevant taxing authorities.
President Donald Trump sold himself to voters during his presidential campaign as a self-made billionaire whose fortune was earned through hard work and business acumen.
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"We must see Trump's tax returns to know just how far and how deep the crimes go", Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr.
Addressing the tax evasion claims, the president's lawyer said: "President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters". Officials with the New York Attorney General's Office and the Manhattan District Attorney's Office declined to comment. That would have amounted to a 55-percent tax on gifts, or $8 million, according to the report.
The Trumps' appraiser, Robert von Ancken, concluded at the time that a portfolio of 25 apartment complexes and other properties were worth $93.9 million.
The Times story identifies several avenues through which Fred Trump's wealth was passed to his children.
The Times reported that Fred Trump created a total of 295 revenue streams to enrich his children that were initially divvied up evenly among his four progeny.