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Trump ex-lawyer being investigated for tax fraud: report
[NEW YORK] President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, who is under federal investigation in New York, is being investigated for possible tax fraud, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
Federal authorities are examining whether Cohen's income - potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars - from his taxi medallion business was under-reported in federal tax returns, the newspaper said.
The report also alleged that prosecutors were investigating whether employees of Sterling National Bank improperly allowed Cohen to obtain loans for his taxi business even though he failed to provide adequate documentation.
Convictions for tax and bank fraud carry potentially hefty prison terms, which the newspaper said could put additional pressure on Cohen to cooperate with prosecutors in the event that he is charged.
The US attorney's office in Manhattan declined to comment.
"In light of the ongoing investigation, I am unable to respond," said Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis.
Speculation has mounted in US media that Cohen, who once declared he was so loyal he would "take a bullet for the president," is willing to cooperate with prosecutors and how much Mr Trump has to fear should he do so.
The federal investigation has focused on his business dealings and reportedly whether payments he made violated campaign finance laws.
He was involved in efforts to hush up allegations from a former Playboy model about an affair with Mr Trump and paid US$130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels to silence her own claims of an alleged one-night stand with Trump in 2006.