Trump to pay $25m settlement over university fraud claims

Sharon Marris, News Reporter

Donald Trump must pay $25m (£20m) to settle lawsuits over his Trump University, a US judge has ruled.

The legal action claimed students on property seminars at the now defunct university were defrauded.

They paid as much as $35,000 (£27,900) for the infomercial-like seminars, lured by what they described as "false promises" of Mr Trump's investing secrets from his "hand-picked" instructors.

Students said they had been constantly pressured to spend more money but that the university had failed to deliver on the promises.

The Trump University closed in 2010.

Mr Trump vowed to fight the fraud claims during his presidential campaign, but then agreed to settle the cases soon after his election win in November.

He said he was too busy for a trial, despite being adamant that he would have won.

Under the terms of the settlement, Mr Trump does not admit any wrongdoing.

Sky News US Correspondent Amanda Walker said: "It was a problem for him during his campaign, with hundreds of people coming forward saying that Trump University was not what it proclaimed to be, that it wasn't a university of any kind.

"Part of that settlement is actually $1m to the state of New York for those misleading claims that it was a university."

During his campaign, Mr Trump even criticised Gonzalo Curiel, who gave the settlement the final nod, implying the Indiana-born judge's Mexican heritage made him biased.

Judge Curiel said the settlement "provides significant and immediate recovery" and that only two of about 7,000 eligible class action members had objected to its terms.

Sky's Amanda Walker said: "The way (Trump's team) is shaping this is that Donald Trump needs to focus on running the country.

"If he hadn't paid up he would have had to testify, that would have become a distraction from his presidency, so now this is out of the way, he can focus on that.

"But for those people who were involved in this case and for those who have criticised his handling of what was called his university, this is an example of his fraudulent activity as a businessman and it's another criticism, certainly from people who didn't agree with him during his campaign, that he's not fit to be president."