New York prosecutor taps FTI for forensics in Trump investigation

06 January 2021 2 min. read

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office has selected FTI Consulting to provide forensic accounting services in the DA’s criminal investigation of President Trump and his business operations.

The Washington, DC-based financial consulting firm will examine the Trump Organization’s property deals and check for anomalies, according to a report from The Washington Post. FTI Consulting will advise the DA on whether Trump’s company manipulated the value of assets to obtain favorable tax breaks, an anonymous source close to the matter told the Post.

Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jr opened the investigation in 2018 to look into alleged hush-money payments that Trump made to two women who, during the 2016 presidential campaign, claimed to have previously had affairs with him.

The DA’s investigation has since expanded to the Trump Organization’s broader activities, with examination of potential bank, tax, and insurance fraud. The New York Times earlier this month reported that the DA’s office has been interviewing employees at Deutsche Bank, a major lender to Trump’s company, as well as insurance broker Aon.

New York prosecutor taps FTI for forensics in Trump investigation

Vance is also locked in a legal battle with Trump’s lawyers to gain access to eight years of Trump’s personal and business tax returns from accounting firm Mazars USA. In July, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s argument that he is immune from state court proceedings, and a federal appeals court in October said that Trump can’t block enforcement of the DA’s subpoena for his tax records. The matter is once again before the Supreme Court, with Trump’s lawyers requesting a stay of proceedings.

Trump has labeled Vance’s investigation as politically motivated. Vance is a Democrat.

The inclusion of outside firm FTI can offer a greater illusion of neutrality to the proceedings, with the incorporation of analysis from a professional external party.

FTI provides consulting services across the areas of restructuring, economics, forensic and litigation, communications, and technology. The firm has more than 6,000 global employees.

Aside from the Manhattan DA’s investigation, Trump is also under scrutiny by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is overseeing a civil investigation into the Trump Organization’s business dealings.

Trump has recently been distributing pardons to friends and allies such as Paul Manafort and Roger Stone as he prepares to vacate the White House this month. The president has also floated the unprecedented idea of pardoning himself. Trump’s pardon power, however, applies only to federal crimes and not state crimes, so he can’t wave away the New York investigations.