Fight looms over national privacy law
Justice Dept sues Ivanka’s former business partner in fraud case
The Department of Justice (DOJ) sued a friend and former business partner of White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump for allegedly trying to defraud the government out of millions of dollars in taxes.
The DOJ's tax division filed the lawsuit last month against Moshe Lax, accusing the New York businessman of a scheme to defraud more than $60 million in unpaid taxes, Politico first reported Friday.
Lax, his sister Zlaty Schwartz and his late father, Chaim Lax, are accused of using "sham transactions" so the family could inherit his father's wealth and avoid paying taxes on assets to the Internal Revenue Service.
The president's eldest daughter is not named in the lawsuit or accused of any wrongdoing, Politico noted.
"The issues in this case have nothing to do with Ivanka or the Ivanka Trump brand," a spokesperson for Ivanka Trump's brand told the outlet.
"These licensing arrangements were terminated by the Ivanka Trump brand in 2016 prior to Ivanka entering government service," the spokesperson continued.
Ivanka Trump wrote about creating Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry with Moshe Lax in her 2010 memoir.
"My new associate was an entrepreneur through and through," she wrote. "I admired that about him."
Madison Avenue Diamonds, a business Ivanka Trump once had an ownership stake in through Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, is mentioned in the DOJ's case, according to Politico.
During the time Ivanka Trump was involved in the business, Moshe Lax allegedly used Madison Avenue Diamonds to defraud the government by transferring partial interest in the business to a holding company for nothing in return.
Moshe Lax was once a close friend of the Trump family, including Tiffany Trump, and attended the president's inauguration festivities last year.
Moshe Lax introduced Ivanka Trump to her husband, Jared Kushner, more than a decade ago, Politico said.
The businessman also reportedly told acquaintances that President Trump had given him financial advice.
A Trump Organization spokesperson would not comment on whether the president ever offered Moshe Lax financial advice.
Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten told Politico last year that Moshe Lax "still owed a significant amount of money" to the Trump family over the business.
Garten and Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller did not comment to Politico about potential debts he still owes the family.