Trump Organization charged with tax crimes
The Trump Organization, the family real estate business that catapulted Donald Trump to prominence, was charged Thursday with running a 15-year tax fraud scheme. The charges open up an aggressive new phase in a long-running criminal investigation into the former president and his company.
While the former president himself was not charged, his long-serving and trusted chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, surrendered to the authorities. He is accused of avoiding taxes on $1.7 million in income and faces grand larceny, tax fraud and other charges.
The charges stem from the Manhattan district attorney’s ongoing inquiry into the business practices of Trump and his company. Prosecutors have been looking into whether Trump and the Trump Organization manipulated property values to obtain loans and tax benefits, among other potential financial crimes.
Test of loyalty: Weisselberg is coming under increasing pressure to turn on the Trump family.
Analysis: The charges may hurt Trump’s finances, because indictments can jeopardize relationships with banks and Trump has large outstanding loans.
The E.U.’s vaccine certificates
Digital vaccine cards went into effect in the E.U. to allow residents of member states to travel more freely. But there has been friction over which vaccines qualify — only those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca — and how the certificates are used.
There are already discrepancies in how member states are using the system, with some countries denying airlines access to the vaccine cards because of privacy concerns.
A month after Greece reopened to tourists, coronavirus cases in the country reached a record low while the numbers of visitors, especially from the U.S., continued to climb. But in Portugal, the government is set to reintroduce nighttime curfews in certain cities — including some tourism hubs — as it struggles to cope with the spread of the Delta variant.
Other travel news: The top executive of the airline holding company Air France-KLM has called on the U.S. to relax restrictions on visitors from the E.U. The Biden administration is considering lifting its ban, the press secretary said.
In other developments:
Global support for a minimum corporate tax
A total of 130 nations have agreed to a blueprint in which multinational corporations would pay tax rates of at least 15 percent wherever they operated. The plan would generate $150 billion in additional tax revenue each year, the O.E.C.D. said.
The conceptual framework also includes rules that would force Big Tech companies and other global businesses to pay taxes in countries where their goods or services are sold, even if they have no physical presence there.
Despite earlier wariness, China, Russia and India are among the signatories. But some major tax havens, including Ireland and some Caribbean nations, still have not signed on to the deal, which could weaken its effectiveness.
Details: The Irish government has said that a deal would need to allow small countries to continue to compete with large ones to make up for the loss of any tax advantage.
Statement: “Today marks an important step in moving the global economy forward to be more equitable for workers and middle-class families in the U.S. and around the world,” President Biden said in a statement.
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Activists slammed the TV show “In the Dark” for casting a sighted actress in a blind lead role. The protests invite the question: Is there a right way to act blind?
The most authentic performance of blindness is by turns precise and fumbling, writes Andrew Leland, who has been steadily losing his sight. “For most of the day, blind people are simply people, until they encounter an obstacle or someone says something that returns them to awareness of their difference.”
From the Annals
In the 1950s, the hamlet of Cherry Grove, on New York’s Fire Island, was a refuge for gay men and lesbians. See dozens of enlarged photos from the era.
100 years of China’s Communist Party
China yesterday celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Communist Party. Xi Jinping, the country’s leader, delivered a defiant speech in which he declared China’s rise unstoppable, as a crowd of 70,000 people waved flags, sang and cheered in unison.
The event was staged to convey a powerful nation at ease while the rest of the world struggled with the pandemic. “The Chinese people will never allow foreign forces to bully, oppress or enslave us,” Xi said, clad in a Mao suit. “Whoever nurses delusions of doing that will crack their heads and spill blood on the Great Wall of steel built from the flesh and blood of 1.4 billion Chinese people.”
The party’s longevity has baffled its critics, and as The Economist reports, no other dictatorship has transformed so much — from a famine crisis in the Mao Zedong era to the world’s second-largest economy. Economic growth and a sharp decline in rural poverty in many places, more than ideology, have won the hearts of many citizens.
For this week’s event, officials are rewriting parts of history and clamping down on criticism in order to glorify the party’s contributions to Chinese citizens. But some party members wonder if Xi is doing enough to move the country forward. They also worry that he has done away with the checks and balances, introduced under Deng Xiaoping, that helped the party avoid embarrassing mistakes and left the economy to flourish.