The company that the Trumps keep continues to deserve serious scrutiny. That’s not just a figure of speech. This week, it’s been publicly revealed that the U.S. Department of Justice has sued former Ivanka Trump business partner Moshe Lax for his role in a massive scheme to avoid taxes.
The suit was filed last month, and covers the family’s handling of Lax’s late father’s estate. The allegations include 10 distinct schemes that were “designed to hide the Lax family assets from the IRS and other creditors and make it appear as though the Estate was insolvent.” The government is seeking over $60 million in unpaid taxes.
The efforts Lax, his late father Chaim and his sister Zlaty Schwartz undertook include a web of fake transactions that were designed to make it appear as though the value of the estate was being eaten up when, in fact, it wasn’t. A business Ivanka Trump had a stake in was part of one such faked deal.
Lax is alleged to have transferred an about $21 million stake in Madison Avenue Diamonds from his father’s estate to a holding company at some point between 2008 and 2012, at which time Ivanka was still part of the business, although she’s since relinquished her stake.
Neither she nor any Trump-related entity are named in the government’s suit against Lax, although a host of other entities are. The government includes as parties to their lawsuit the holding company Lax transferred his family stake in Madison Avenue Diamonds to and creditors of the company, who may still have a claim on some of the assets the government is scrutinizing.
The Ivanka Trump team has indicated in the past that Lax still owes them some amount of money. Trump Organization General Counsel Alan Garten indicated as much to POLITICO in 2017. Now, though, although it’s unclear whether Lax ever paid up, an unnamed Trump spokesperson asserted Trump would not be pursuing any claims on Lax’s assets.
That spokesperson added:
‘The issues in this case have nothing to do with Ivanka or the Ivanka Trump brand. These licensing arrangements were terminated by the Ivanka Trump brand in 2016 prior to Ivanka entering government service.’
Still, the Trump team can’t get off the hook for their association with corruption that easily. The Lax case is not the only similar one to envelop a former Trump associate.
Prominently, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has already faced most of his first criminal trial for fraud in Virginia and still faces a second related trial in D.C.
Although the case hasn’t gone to trial, former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has himself faced a criminal investigation by the government into possible fraud. That case, thanks to Cohen’s work’s interweaving with the president’s, could expose the president to legal scrutiny.
The cases all continue to weigh down on the Trump team and administration ahead of the midterm elections later this year as Democrats continue to push the indicated corruption as a major issue in their efforts to score major electoral victories, as POLITICO notes.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot