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FirstFT: Trump found guilty of ‘repeated fraud’

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Good morning.

Donald Trump, his eldest sons and his business organisation orchestrated a “persistent and repeated fraud” in which they vastly inflated the value of properties in Manhattan and Florida, as well as golf courses in the US and Scotland, a New York state judge ruled yesterday.

Judge Arthur Engoron said a Park Avenue skyscraper and a property on Wall Street were unlawfully inflated and ordered that several of Trump’s New York businesses be dissolved, accusing them of continuing to “disseminate false and misleading information” even after a monitor was appointed by the court last November.

Christopher Kise, a lawyer for Trump, called the decision “outrageous” and “completely disconnected from the facts and governing law”.

The ruling was handed down just days before a case brought by New York attorney-general Letitia James is due to go to trial and adds to the mountain of legal woes facing the former president.

Trump travels to Michigan today where he will hold a rally. Yesterday Joe Biden addressed striking members of the United Auto Workers union outside a General Motors plant in Belleville, Michigan, as the 2024 presidential campaign heats up.

Trump has decided to campaign in the crucial battleground state tonight instead of appearing in the second debate for Republican 2024 presidential hopefuls in California, where Nikki Haley is hoping for another breakout moment. Here’s what to expect.

Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:

  • Economic data: Orders for durable goods, or products that last more than one year, are expected to have slipped 0.5 per cent in August after falling 5.2 per cent in July, their largest drop since 2020.

  • SEC: US Securities and Exchange Commission chair Gary Gensler will appear before Congress, testifying at the House financial services committee’s hearing on the regulator’s oversight.

Five more top stories

1. PwC’s Australian partners overlooked rule-breaking by “rainmaker” colleagues in the pursuit of revenue growth, according to an independent report on a scandal involving the misuse of government tax secrets. The report assailed an “overly collegial” culture in which too much power was concentrated in the Australian firm’s chief executive. Here’s how the firm responded to the damning findings.

2. McKinsey will pay another $230mn to settle most of the remaining claims related to its work to “turbocharge” opioid sales, bringing the total it has paid out for its alleged part in the US overdose epidemic to more than $870mn. The agreement with a host of cities, counties and school districts must be approved by a court in the coming months. Here’s more on the consultancy’s settlement.

3. The US Federal Trade Commission and 17 states have sued Amazon, accusing the $1.3tn ecommerce giant of illegally using monopoly power to overcharge consumers, hobble competitors and increasing fees to sellers on its marketplace so that it extracts almost half of every dollar they make. Here’s more on one of FTC chair Lina Khan’s biggest tests in her fight against Big Tech.

4. Wells Fargo has partnered with asset manager Centerbridge to launch a $5bn private credit fund that will lend to mid-sized US companies. The new fund is targeting $2.5bn of equity commitments, with roughly $2bn already contributed by Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund and the Canadian pension fund British Columbia Investment Management. Here’s more on the latest attempt by a bank to get into the rapidly growing private credit market.

5. JPMorgan Chase has agreed to settle with the US Virgin Islands and Jes Staley to resolve legal battles over its dealings with Jeffrey Epstein’s human trafficking operation. JPMorgan said it would pay $75mn to settle the USVI case. Terms of the settlement with Staley were not disclosed. Read more on the legal settlement.

Today’s big read

Linda Yaccarino
X offers ‘intoxicating liberation, freedom to move quickly and to innovate and iterate in real time’, says Linda Yaccarino. © Robyn Twomey

In early June Linda Yaccarino began the toughest job in tech: to bring advertisers back to the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. Critics say the new chief executive has become a puppet in Elon Musk’s unpredictable regime. Over the course of four exclusive interviews Yaccarino responded to her doubters.

We’re also reading . . . 

  • China’s economy: Martin Wolf argues China needs to redistribute wealth on a significant scale if it is to avoid the Japan trap.

  • The divide over wfh: When lockdowns were lifted, executives at British engineering group Dyson took a granite-hard approach to calling staff back to work in the office.

  • German politics: Far-right party Alternative for Germany has used a scuffle at a high school party to stoke anti-migrant sentiment in the town of Görlitz — and nationwide.

Chart of the day

Sterling fell to a six-month low against the dollar yesterday, putting it on track for its worst month since last year’s “mini” Budget, amid fears high interest rates will tip the UK into recession. “Rate support for the currency has vanished,” said one analyst. Here’s more on what economists are forecasting for the pound.

Take a break from the news 

The late antiques dealer and interior designer Robert Kime once observed that an inevitable part of collecting is that it is often necessary to “sell something to get something better”. But where to sell your items, and how? FT fashion editor and collector Lauren Indvik lays out your options.

© Zebedee Helm

Additional contributions from Tee Zhuo and Benjamin Wilhelm

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