Donald Trump fined $350m and banned from running a business in New York

Donald Trump fined $350m and banned from running a business in New York

Donald Trump must pay $354.9 million in penalties for fraudulently overstating his net worth to dupe lenders, a New York judge ruled on Friday.

Justice Arthur Engoron also banned the former US president from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation for three years.

The lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James accused Trump and his family businesses of overstating his net worth by as much $3.6 billion a year over a decade to fool bankers into giving him better loan terms.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and called the case a political vendetta by James, an elected Democrat. Trump is expected to appeal Friday's ruling by Engoron.

The civil fraud case could deal a major blow to Trump's real estate empire as the businessman turned politician leads the race for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Joe Biden in the November 5 US election.

Engoron ruled in September that Trump had engaged in fraud and ordered his business empire be partially dissolved. The full implications of that order are still unclear, and Trump is appealing.

Friday's ruling came after a contentious three-month trial in Manhattan. Trump’s lawyers has already indicated he will appeal.

During defiant and meandering testimony in November, Trump conceded that some of his property values were inaccurate but insisted banks were obligated to do their own due diligence.

He used his occasional court appearances as impromptu campaign stops, delivering incendiary remarks to reporters and insisting his enemies are using the courts to prevent him from retaking the White House.

Trump is cruising to the Republican nomination despite a host of other legal troubles.

He is under indictment in four criminal cases, including one in New York related to hush money payments he made to a porn star ahead of the 2016 election.

The judge overseeing that case on Thursday set a March 25 trial date despite the objections of Trump's lawyers, who sought to delay it due to Trump's crowded legal and political schedule.

Trump has also been charged in Florida for his handling of classified documents upon leaving office and in Washington and in Georgia for his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all four cases.

During the New York civil case, Trump lashed out in the courtroom on January 11 against both the judge and James while proclaiming his innocence.

"You have your own agenda," Trump scolded Judge Engoron, who told Trump's lawyer "control your client." The judge during the trial had fined Trump $15,000 for twice violating a gag order against disparaging court staff.