Trump may have committed tax fraud by fabricating a loan to avoid paying income taxes on nearly $50 million

President Donald Trump may have fabricated a loan to avoid paying taxes on nearly $50 million of income, Mother Jones reported in a bombshell investigation published on Thursday.

The controversy appears to be related to the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and a shadowy shell company Trump owns called Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC. Media reports have found that the company does not earn revenue and is essentially worthless. Trump has said on his financial-disclosure forms that he owes more than $50 million to the company, which he controls.

Trump and the Trump Organization have not commented much on the loan, but Mother Jones noted that the president, then a Republican candidate, told The New York Times in 2016 that he bought the loan from a group of banks several years ago and that instead of retiring it, he decided to keep it outstanding and pays interest on it to himself.

A 2008 lawsuit cited by Mother Jones revealed that the majority of the project was financed by Deutsche Bank, which put up $640 million. A hedge fund called Fortress Investment Group also provided $130 million of funding. So in total, Trump owed a little over $800 million to both institutions.

Mother Jones’ investigation found that Trump was able to clear his debt with Deutsche Bank and Fortress Investment Group over the next several years but that Fortress ultimately agreed to accept just $48 million back for the loan it had made to Trump, which by that time was worth around $100 million.

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