United Kingdom

Ivanka Trump questioned under oath in lawsuit over misuse of inauguration funds

Ivanka Trump, the US president's daughter and adviser, was questioned under oath this week as part of a civil lawsuit alleging misuse of non-profit funds for Donald Trump's inauguration four years ago.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine's office disclosed in a court filing that the deposition had taken place on Tuesday.

In a January 2020 lawsuit, Mr Racine claimed Mr Trump's real estate business and other entities misused non-profit funds to enrich the Trump family.

According to the suit, a tax-exempt non-profit corporation called the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee co-ordinated with the Trump family to grossly overpay for event space in the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

Mr Racine's lawsuit alleged that, in one case, the non-profit paid more than $300,000 (about £225,000) to hold a private reception at the Trump hotel for the president's three oldest children – Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric – on the inauguration evening of January 20, 2017.

“District law requires non-profits to use their funds for their stated public purpose, not to benefit private individuals or companies,” Mr Racine said earlier this year.

His lawsuit seeks to recover the $1 million that was allegedly funneled directly to the Trump family business.

A White House spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The inaugural committee has said its finances were independently audited, and that all money was spent lawfully.

Although campaign finance laws restrict the size of campaign contributions, inauguration committees can accept unlimited donations, including from corporations.

The $107 million raised by Trump’s inaugural committee, chaired by real estate developer and investor Thomas Barrack, was the largest in history, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Former Trump campaign aide Richard Gates served as deputy chairman of the inaugural committee.

Mr Gates was one of several Trump associates convicted in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election.

In 2018, Melania Trump cut ties with a key aide and close friend after it emerged she had made millions from planning the presidential inauguration ceremony.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who had been friends with Mrs Trump for years, had her contract with the First Lady cancelled after records showed that her company had been paid $26 million to help plan Mr Trump's inauguration.

Read more: US Department of Justice investigating 'bribery for pardon' scheme at White House

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