Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS
Donald Trump. Picture: REUTERS

Washington — US President Donald Trump dismissed allegations in a New York Times report that he had got vastly more money from his father than admitted — in possible violation of tax laws — as "very old" and "boring".

Trump blasted the article as a "hit piece" and said he had "never seen" the accounting practices utilised by the newspaper in its reporting.

"The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before," Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning. "They used the concept of ‘time value of money’ in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!"

The time-value of money, a basic financial concept, means a dollar today is worth more than a dollar in the future. That is because it can be invested today and create more money in the future. The New York Times analysis, however, largely relied on a different concept — a basic adjustment for inflation.

Trump appeared to be criticising reporting that found he received the equivalent of at least $413m in today’s dollars from his father, the late real estate developer Fred Trump, who died in 1999. Donald Trump has long claimed he had only received a $1m gift from him and had repaid it with interest.

The president’s tweet was the latest from Trump and his team attacking the newspaper over the report without specifically refuting claims about the findings, which included that Fred Trump backstopped his son’s businesses during times of financial distress. The article also questioned the legality of some of the tax practices used.

"The New York Times’ allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100% false," Charles J Harder, a lawyer for Trump, said in a statement. "There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate."

But New York state tax authorities said they have opened an investigation to determine whether Trump and his family had created their real estate empire through "instances of outright fraud", evading taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars.

Under New York and federal law, there is no statute of limitations to pursuing civil tax cases if authorities suspect an intent to evade taxes. Generally, the activities described by the paper would be too old to lead to a criminal inquiry.

In a statement on Tuesday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said "Fred Trump has been gone for nearly 20 years and it’s sad to witness this misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times." She added that "many decades ago the IRS [US Internal Review Service] reviewed and signed off on these transactions".

Bloomberg