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FBI raids, occupies ‘my beautiful Mar-a-Lago home’, says ex-US President, Trump

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) searched the home of ex-United States President Donald Trump on Monday.

The 76-year-old Republican was not present and was in the New York City area, his associates hinted.

A furious Trump described the operation at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida as a “raid”.

In a statement, the billionaire businessman informed the public that the agents broke open his safe.

The former leader said his Palm Beach property was “under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents”.

“After working and cooperating with the relevant government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” he noted.

Alleging an attempt to influence the midterm elections, Trump likened the FBI’s action to the Nixon campaign bugging during the Watergate scandal.

But the raid is most likely connected to the investigation of the January 6, 2021 invasion of the Capitol.

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Trump’s supporters went into a rage after he insisted the election was “stolen” and charged them to go “stop the steal”.

A number of the previous administration’s officials have testified before a grand jury on the deadly insurrection.

The National Archives and Records Administration earlier recovered 15 boxes of records from the Mar-a-Lago mansion.

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Guinea’s military junta dissolves government, seals borders

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Guinea, which is currently led by transitional President Mamady Doumbouya, is expected to hold elections to restore democratic rule in 10 months

Guinea’s military junta, which seized power in a coup in September 2021, has dissolved the government.

The announcement was made through a presidential decree read on state TV on Monday by the presidency’s Secretary General, Brig Gen Amara Camara.

Mr Camara did not disclose the reason for the dissolution or say when a new government will be put in place.

Ministers in the dissolved government were ordered to surrender their passports and official vehicles.

Their bank accounts have additionally been frozen.

The junta also instructed security agencies to “seal” all the country’s borders until government ministries have been fully handed over to the junta.

Lower-level officials will temporarily manage state ministries until a new government is appointed, Mr Camara said.

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The dissolved government was led by Bernard Goumou, who had been appointed prime minister by coup leader Mamady Doumbouya.

In September 2021, Col Doumbouya led Guinea’s armed forces to overthrow elected President Alpha Condé, after a series of protests over Mr Conde’s controversial bid for a third term.

Guinea and several other countries in West and central Africa have been hit by coups in recent years.

Others include Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Gabon.

The coups have been strongly condemned by the West African regional bloc Ecowas, as well as the African Union and the UN.

Guinea is expected to hold elections to restore democratic rule in 10 months, when the 24-month transition period set by the junta and Ecowas expires.

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SEE ALSO:  Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso withdraw from ECOWAS over suspension
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Family Dispute: Man guns down father, brother, 10 other relatives

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Family Dispute: Man guns down father, brother, 10 other relatives
• A man with a gun
A 30-year-old man killed 12 relatives, including his father and brother in Iran, official media reported on Saturday, in a rare mass shooting in the country.

They said the man, who was not identified, used a Kalashnikov assault rifle and was later shot and killed by security forces in the south-central province of Kerman.

They said the cause of the shooting, in a remote rural village, was a family dispute. They did not elaborate.

Mass killings are rare in Iran, where hunting rifles are the only weapons people are allowed to possess. Two years ago, a dismissed employee of a state institution in western Iran shot and killed three people and injured five before killing himself.

Reuters

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Trump ordered to pay $355m for lying about his wealth in staggering civil fraud ruling

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Trump ordered to pay $355m for lying about his wealth in staggering civil fraud ruling
 • Ex-US President Trump
A New York judge ordered Donald Trump on Friday to pay $355 million in penalties, finding that the former president lied about his wealth for years in a sweeping civil fraud verdict that pierces his billionaire image but stops short of putting his real estate empire out of business.

Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision after a trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit punishes Trump, his company and executives, including his two eldest sons, for scheming to dupe banks, insurers and others by inflating his wealth on financial statements. It forces a shakeup at the top of his Trump Organization, putting the company under court supervision and curtailing how it does business.

The decision is a staggering setback for the Republican presidential front-runner, the latest and costliest consequence of his recent legal troubles. The magnitude of the verdict on top of penalties in other cases could dramatically dent Trump’s financial resources and damage his identity as a savvy businessman who parlayed his fame as a real estate developer into reality TV stardom and the presidency. He has vowed to appeal and won’t have to pay immediately.

Trump’s true punishment could be far costlier because under state law he is also required to pay interest on the penalties, which James said puts him on the hook for a total of more than $450 million. The amount, which would be paid to the state, will grow until he pays.

The judge made clear, however, that the Trump Organization will continue to operate, backing away from an earlier ruling that would have dissolved Trump’s companies.

SEE ALSO:  Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso withdraw from ECOWAS over suspension

Engoron, a Democrat, concluded that Trump and his company were “likely to continue their fraudulent ways” without the penalties and controls he imposed. Engoron concluded that Trump and his co-defendants “failed to accept responsibility” and that experts who testified on his behalf “simply denied reality.”

“This is a venial sin, not a mortal sin,” Engoron wrote in a searing 92-page opinion. “They did not rob a bank at gunpoint. Donald Trump is not Bernard Madoff. Yet, defendants are incapable of admitting the error of their ways.”

He said their “complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological” and “the frauds found here leap off the page and shock the conscience.”

Trump said the decision was “election inference” and “weaponization against a political opponent,” complaining to reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida that he was being penalized for “having built a perfect company, great cash, great buildings, great everything.”

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James, a Democrat, told reporters “justice has been served” and called the ruling “a tremendous victory for this state, this nation, and for everyone who believes that we all must play by the same rules — even former presidents.”

“Now, Donald Trump is finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating, and staggering fraud. Because no matter how big, rich or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law,” James said.

Trump still owns the Trump Organization, but he put his assets into a revocable trust and relinquished a leadership role when he became president in 2017, putting his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. in charge of day-to-day operations. Engoron’s ruling imposes a three-year ban on Trump serving as an officer or director of any New York company and bars his sons for two years, effectively requiring the company to find new leadership, at least temporarily.

SEE ALSO:  Trump ordered to pay $355m for lying about his wealth in staggering civil fraud ruling

The monetary penalties involve what Engoron said were “ill-gotten gains” that Trump attained by making himself seem richer. They include money Trump saved by securing lower loan interest rates and profits from the sale of properties that he might not have been able to develop without that financing.

AP

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