US President Donald Trump’s troubled charity foundation has agreed to close down amid allegations that he and others illegally misused its funds.
The move was announced by the Attorney General of New York State, Barbara Underwood, who will supervise the distribution of its remaining monies.
She has accused Mr Trump and his three eldest children of using it for private and political gain.
The foundation’s lawyer accused her of attempting to politicise the matter.
This is just one of several legal cases currently swirling around Mr Trump and his family. Others include a wide-ranging special counsel investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia headed by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.
Ms Underwood said the case against Mr Trump and his children Donald Jr, Ivanka and Eric would continue.
In a statement, she said there had been “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation – including unlawful co-ordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and wilful self-dealing, and much more”.
She continued: “This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a chequebook to serve Mr Trump’s business and political interests.”
Under the terms of the deal to shut down the foundation, Ms Underwood said, it could only be dissolved under judicial supervision and could only distribute its assets “to reputable organisations approved by my office”.
She added: “This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone.
“We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law.”
In a statement to the BBC, Trump Foundation lawyer Alan Futerfas – signatory to the deal closing the foundation – said: “Contrary to the NYAG’s [New York Attorney General] misleading statement… the foundation has been seeking to dissolve and distribute its remaining assets to worthwhile charitable causes since Donald J Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election.
“Unfortunately, the NYAG sought to prevent dissolution for almost two years, thereby depriving those most in need of nearly $1.7m.
“Over the past decade, the foundation is proud to have distributed approximately $19m, including $8.25m of the president’s personal money, to over 700 different charitable organisations with virtually zero expenses.
“The NYAG’s inaccurate statement of this morning is a further attempt to politicize this matter.”
Mr Trump and his eldest children have yet to comment.
Last June, Mr Trump indicated on Twitter that he was not willing to settle the case, insisting the foundation had done nothing wrong. (Excerpts from BBC)