The billion dollar question at heart of Trump fraud trial.
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The billion dollar question at heart of Trump fraud trial.

Trump calls Mar-a-Lago the “Mona Lisa” of properties, but how much is it really worth? Civil fraud trial that threatens his family business revolves around this question.

From a tax assessment of $18m (£14.3m) to a courtroom witness saying it would sell for more than $1bn (£797m), no one can agree on the magic number.

As the 10-week trial in New York progresses, the prosecution and defence have contested the value of Mr Trump’s private club in Florida, as well as the line between legitimate and fraudulent real estate valuations.

Trump, his two adult sons, and the Trump Organization are accused of inflating the value of assets by $2 billion so they could get better interest rates on loans.

According to New York Attorney General Letitia James, these friendly rates saved Mr Trump’s businesses over $150m over a decade. It is her intention to ban him from doing business in the state.

Before the trial even started, Judge Arthur Engoron, a Democrat, ruled the financial documents at the heart of these allegations “clearly contain fraudulent valuations”.

One count of the pre-trial ruling has already been appealed by Mr Trump. It is now up to the judge to decide six more counts of fraud, all of which require evidence of intent.

On Sunday evening, the former president announced that he had nothing more to say in a case he calls politically motivated.

Again, it was the allegation that he had inflated the value of Mar-a-Lago that he seemed to be most offended by: “They claimed that Mar-a-Lago was only worth $18,000,000, when it was actually worth 50 to 100 times that amount.