The Trump Organization is being investigated in a "criminal capacity" by the New York state attorney general's office, a spokesman said Tuesday, as prosecutors advance their probe into former president Donald Trump's business dealings.

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"We have informed the Trump Organization that our investigation into the organization is no longer purely civil in nature," a spokesman for Attorney General Letitia James' office said.

"We are now actively investigating the Trump Organization in a criminal capacity, along with the Manhattan DA," spokesman Fabien Levy said.

The organization is the holding company of hundreds of Trump entities, ranging from hotels to golf courses.

Trump, who left the White House in January, denies wrongdoing and has previously described the investigation into his finances by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat, as "a continuation of the greatest political witch hunt in the history of our country."

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James' office has meanwhile also been investigating allegations of bank fraud and insurance fraud through civil proceedings.

Bolstering its legal team, the Trump Organization in early April hired a veteran criminal defense attorney, 84-year-old Ronald Fischetti.

The district attorney's investigation initially focused on hush payments made to two women who allege they had affairs with Trump, but had expanded to allegations of tax evasion, and insurance and bank fraud.

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That investigation is being carried out behind closed doors in front of a grand jury, and appeared to be progressing with Vance's team receiving eight years of Trump's tax returns in March.

Six months after losing the US presidential elections, millions of Republicans still look to Trump as their leader, despite his repeat baseless claims that President Joe Biden prevailed because of fraud.