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Trump Secures $175m Bond In NY Fraud Case

Former US President Donald Trump has secured a $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case, averting asset seizures by the state.

In February, he was found to have artificially inflated property values and was slapped with a $464 million penalty.

The posting of the bond means New York’s attorney general cannot enforce the penalty, such as freezing bank accounts or seizing property, until his appeals are addressed.

The Republican Party has consistently denied any wrongdoing, branding the case as a politically motivated attack.

Initially, Mr. Trump was instructed to post the full penalty as bond. However, last week, this amount was reduced to $175 million after his legal team argued that securing such a substantial bond was “impossible.”

Should the three-judge panel overseeing the appeal rule against him, he would be required to produce the full $464 million or risk the potential dismantling of his renowned property empire.

For now, Mr. Trump is spared the indignity of seeing assets like Trump Tower in Manhattan and his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida seized.

In a statement, his attorney, Alina Habba, remarked, “As promised, President Trump has posted a bond. He looks forward to vindicating his rights on appeal and overturning this unjust verdict.”

According to court filings, Mr. Trump obtained the bond through the Los Angeles-based company Knight Insurance Group.

However, the specifics of the collateral used for the bond were not disclosed.

When contacted by the BBC for comment, the insurance group declined to provide any information. Its chairman, Don Hankey, informed Forbes that the former president provided a mix of cash and investment-grade bonds to secure the loan.

Hankey stated, “I’d never met Donald Trump. I’d never talked to him on the phone. I heard that he needed a loan or a bond, and this is what we do.”

The fraud case against Mr. Trump was initiated by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Democrat, in 2022. Justice Arthur Engoron, also a Democrat, largely sided with James’ argument, asserting that Mr. Trump should face significant consequences for misleadingly representing his assets to obtain more favorable loans and interest rates over several years.

Mr. Trump contended that the case lacked any victims since the banks were repaid with interest, and no financial institution sued him for overestimating his net worth.

Justice Engoron additionally barred Mr. Trump from conducting New York business for three years and prohibited him from obtaining loans from New York financial institutions during the same period.

This ruling has put Mr. Trump, who has claimed to possess $400 million to $500 million in liquid assets in depositions and on social media, under considerable financial strain.

Forbes Magazine presently estimates his net worth at $5.7 billion, a figure that surged following the public offering of the parent company of his social media platform, Truth Social, last week.

Around the same time he lost the fraud case, Mr. Trump had to procure a $91 million bond after losing an unrelated defamation lawsuit filed by writer E. Jean Carroll.

The resolution of the business fraud case could take months, potentially coinciding with his presidential campaign.

In the interim, Mr. Trump’s first criminal trial, concerning his alleged attempt to conceal hush-money payments to an adult film star ahead of the 2016 election, is scheduled to commence on April 15 in Manhattan.

He faces additional charges in two separate cases related to his efforts to overturn his 2020 election defeat against President Joe Biden and his handling of classified documents after leaving office.

Mr. Trump has entered a plea of not guilty in all these cases.

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