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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Home / Top News / Voices
Deutsche Bank remains Donald Trump's biggest conflict of interest
By Jesse Eisinger, ProPublica | Feb. 10, 2017 at 10:21 AM

President Donald Trump, shown meeting with airline executives on Thursday, still has a relationship with Deutsche Bank that could be a source of conflicts of interest. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

If you measure President Donald Trump's conflicts of interest by the amount of money at stake, or the variety of dicey interactions with government regulators, one dwarfs any other: his relationship with Deutsche Bank.

In recent weeks, Deutsche Bank has scrambled to reach agreements with American regulators over a host of alleged misdeeds. But because the president has not sold his company, the bank remains a central arena for potential conflicts between his family's business interests and the actions of officials in his administration.

"Deutsche poses the biggest conflict that we know about in terms of dollar amounts and the scale of legal exposures," says Brandon Garrett, a University of Virginia law professor and author of Too Big To Fail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations. In trying to clear up its outstanding regulatory troubles, the bank "may have tried to do its best to avoid the appearance of impropriety but it may be impossible for them to do so."

Deutsche is Trump's major creditor, having lent billions to the president since the late 1990s even as other American banks abandoned Trump, who frequently bankrupted his businesses. While the president hasn't released his tax returns, he has made public some information about his debts. According to these incomplete disclosures and reports, the Trump Organization has roughly $300 million in loans outstanding from the bank. Trump continues to own the business, although he has turned over day-to-day management to his sons.

At the same time that it is Trump's biggest known creditor, Deutsche is in frequent contact with multiple federal regulators. While the bank agreed last week to pay $630 million to settle charges by New York state's top financial regulator as well as the U.K.'s Financial Conduct Authority that it had aided Russian money-laundering, it's still undergoing a related federal investigation into those activities, which it is also trying to settle. That will be an early big test of the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The Justice Department also has an ongoing probe of foreign exchange manipulation by several banks, including Deutsche Bank.

Even if the bank clears up the ongoing federal cases, it will remain weighed down by past transgressions. During the housing bubble, Deutsche Bank misled buyers about the quality of its mortgage securities and omitted important information. In 2015, its London subsidiary pleaded guilty in connection with the multi-bank conspiracy to manipulate global interest rates and paid $775 million in criminal penalties.

Deutsche will soon have an astonishing six independent monitors monitoring its conduct — the most ever for one company, according to Garrett. Drawn from the ranks of consultancies and law firms, these overseers make sure Deutsche complies with previous state and federal settlements and regulations relating to its foreign exchange manipulations, global interest rate fraud, sales of dodgy mortgage securities, derivatives trading and sanctions evasion.

Indeed, the independent monitor of Deutsche's derivatives reporting, Paul Atkins from Patomak Partners, has his own conflict of interest. Atkins served on Trump's transition team and played a role in appointing federal financial regulators. He is now monitoring whether Trump's business partner complies with the terms of a settlement with New York state financial regulators on derivatives reporting.

A Patomak spokeswoman declined to comment.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has regulators sitting in Deutsche's offices, as it does with every big bank, keeping a watchful eye on the firm's safety and soundness. Last year, the Fed failed Deutsche Bank during its annual stress test, finding that it had insufficient capital and could not withstand another financial crisis. And the Securities and Exchange Commission and Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulate its investment banking and trading activities.

A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman declined to comment. The White House did not return an email seeking comment.

The Trump Organization's wide-ranging business dealings could raise quandaries for an array of government agencies, from the Department of Labor, which regulates the company's employment practices, to the General Services Administration, which leases Trump his hotel in Washington, D.C. "Just about everything that every branch, every type of enforcement, every action from every agency could touch on Trump's conflicts. There is no end to the corruption and ethics concerns," Garrett says.

But the potential conflicts may be most acute at the Justice Department. Whether the Justice Department walks away from an investigation or takes a hard line against Deutsche Bank, its every move will be scrutinized as either too tough or too weak.

With new management, Deutsche Bank has embarked on an effort to rebuild its reputation. Deutsche CEO John Cyran has conducted an apology tour for the bank's multiple and serial misdeeds. The money-laundering settlement isn't Deutsche's only recent move to close out government probes. In January, it agreed to pay $95 million to end a tax fraud investigation by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. And in December, it became one of the last of the global banks to resolve civil charges over the creation and sale of misleading mortgages investments, agreeing to pay a penalty of $3.1 billion.

In these agreements, Deutsche capitalized on the Obama Department of Justice's eagerness to settle, according to defense attorneys who don't represent the bank but are familiar with the cases. Outgoing administrations desire to wrap up investigations so departing prosecutors may shine their resumes on the way out the door.

The Obama administration had an added incentive to reach settlements because it worried the Trump administration Justice Department might seek smaller penalties or otherwise go soft on corporations. That helps explain why Deutsche Bank's mortgage securities settlement, which included $4.1 billion in credit for consumer aid in addition to the penalty, was far below the $14 billion figure reported in the fall as Justice's opening bid. While most observers expected that figure to come down sharply, Deutsche's terms were still widely considered favorable.

Even so, Deutsche's share price remains depressed as investors worry about the bank's future payouts and ongoing fragility. The bank faces class-action suits alleging efforts to manipulate interest rates and the currency markets.

Given the government's responsibilities, Trump's regulators face a fraught and sensitive task of proving their independence and fair-mindedness when it comes to Deutsche Bank. Prior White Houses have taken great care to avoid interfering in Justice Department investigations and prosecutions. Despite his early support for Trump's campaign and their personal friendship, Sessions has said he will not recuse himself from any Justice Department probe into the president, the Trump family or any of his political advisers.

The relationship Deutsche Bank has with the president cuts two ways, defense lawyers and former prosecutors say. It might be advantageous to be in business with a president who appears to regard the office as an opportunity for brand enhancement and enrichment. The bank might hope for leniency from the president's regulators because of its business ties to him.

There are signs that Deutsche's new management is not eager to continue serving as Trump's financier. Trump sued the bank in 2008 to avoid paying a loan for a Trump hotel in Chicago. The parties settled, but lawsuits have a way of fraying friendships. A former top executive at Deutsche Bank says the current top management does not like the real estate developer. "They don't want to do business with him anymore," he says.

Given the tension, Deutsche may worry about the mercurial president. The bank's concern is that the Trump administration could use its regulatory powers to secure better business terms. Nationalist strains course through his inner circle. A top Trump economic adviser recently accused Germany of currency manipulation. Trump, some observers fear, may seek to boost American financial institutions over foreign ones like Deutsche.

In recent months, Deutsche has also sought to renegotiate its loans with Trump, according to a Bloomberg report, in an effort to reduce its exposure to the president. The bank hoped to eliminate the president's personal guarantee on loans. But such a move would not eliminate the conflict of interest, since the president's company, which Trump still owns, would remain on the hook to pay back the loans.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.
Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:09 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Bloomberg

Trump May Have a $300 Million Conflict of Interest With Deutsche Bank
by Keri Geiger
, Greg Farrell
, and Sarah Mulholland
December 22, 2016, 4:01 AM CST December 22, 2016, 9:35 AM CST

Concern about conflict of interest given bank’s federal probes
Deutsche Bank faces huge potential fines from U.S. government

Deutsche Bank Reworks Trump Loan as Inauguration Looms

For years, Donald Trump has used a powerful tool when dealing with bankers: his personal guarantee.

Now that guarantee -- employed to extract better terms on hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to the Trump Organization -- is at the center of a delicate loan-restructuring discussion at Deutsche Bank AG, which is under investigation on several fronts by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The bank is trying to restructure some of Trump’s roughly $300 million debt as part of an attempt to reduce any conflict of interest between the loan and his presidency, according to a person familiar with the matter. Normally, the removal of a personal pledge might lead to more-stringent terms. But there is little normal about this interaction. Trump’s attorney general will inherit an investigation of Deutsche Bank related to stock trades for rich clients in Russia -- where Trump says he plans to improve relations -- and may have to deal with a possible multibillion-dollar penalty to the bank related to mortgage-bond investigations.

Whatever terms a restructured loan might include, they will reflect the complex new relationship spawned between Germany’s largest bank and its highest-profile client. Ethicists say this concerns them.
‘Looks Terrible’

“When you have political appointees making decisions about banks that the president owes a lot of money to, it looks terrible,” said Richard Painter, a law professor at the University of Minnesota who was the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. “The U.S. government is dealing with regulatory and criminal issues with the big banks all the time, and if he owes them a lot of money, there might be an incentive to favor less regulation and less enforcement for the banks.”

Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Alan Garten, general counsel of the Trump Organization, said the loans are modest in the context of Trump’s multibillion-dollar empire, and the effort to shift away from a personal guarantee isn’t significant because the loans were structured to become standard debt eventually, following completion of the projects.

The scramble to restructure is the latest chapter in Trump’s fraught relationship with Deutsche Bank, one of the few financial institutions on Wall Street that still does deals with a man long known as a publicity-seeking and unconventional real-estate developer who didn’t hesitate to sue his lender eight years ago.

Deutsche Bank also lends to Trump’s extended family, including his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Weeks before the election, the bank refinanced most of the $370 million of debt against retail spaces Kushner’s company owns in midtown Manhattan.
Angry Bankers

Trump’s dealings with Wall Street stretch back decades to his attempt to build an Atlantic City casino empire. That badly timed push forced him to renegotiate with creditors when he couldn’t pay back billions of dollars in loans. His major backers in that era included Citbank, Chase Manhattan Bank and Bankers Trust -- a bank that was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999 -- and the debacle left a trail of angry lenders.

Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Trump actually predates its Bankers Trust purchase. In 1998, a small group of its real-estate bankers led by Mike Offit underwrote a $125-million loan for renovations on Trump’s building at 40 Wall Street. Trump showed up at Offit’s office, his reputation badly bruised. Deutsche Bank’s fledgling property business -- in operation for only a year at the time -- was the only group willing to take on Trump, Offit said in an interview.

“I had one way to succeed -- that was to make this thing big and profitable,” said Offit, who is now retired and has written a novel about Wall Street. “If I was super conservative and wasn’t willing to do some unusual stuff, how was I going to compete?”
Best Client

The bank’s real-estate business became one of the most active lenders in Manhattan. Trump was his best client, Offit said, always professional and well-versed in the details of his projects. In the 1990s, Offit and a team led by loan officer Eric Schwartz financed the construction of Trump World Tower on the eastern edge of Manhattan and backed his failed bid to redevelop the site of the New York Coliseum.

When Offit left Deutsche Bank in 1999, Schwartz became a linchpin for the relationship with Trump, including his attempt to buy out a partner at the General Motors Building in 2001, according to people involved in the deals. Schwartz, who left Deutsche in 2009, declined to comment.

In 2005, the bank approved a $640 million construction loan so Trump could build his name-sake tower in Chicago. The tower, with dozens of multimillion-dollar condos, broke ground at the height of the real-estate boom. As the project neared completion, the financial crisis hit, sending the global real-estate market crashing. And when part of the loan came due, rather than pay it, Trump sued a lending consortium led by Deutsche Bank for $3 billion.
Force Majeure

His suit argued that the financial crisis was equivalent to an earthquake, triggering a “force majeure” clause, which allows for a payback extension in extraordinary circumstances. Deutsche Bank countersued, claiming Trump owed a $40 million payment, which was a personal guarantee on the debt. The two later settled and, surprisingly, continued doing business together.


Today, the president-elect owes about $300 million to the bank, nearly half of his outstanding debt, according to a July analysis by Bloomberg. That figure includes a $170-million loan Trump took out to finish his hotel in Washington. He also has two mortgages against his Trump National Doral Miami resort and a loan against his tower in Chicago. All four debts come due in 2023 and 2024. Garten said the Chicago loan no longer has Trump’s personal guarantee because the project has been completed.

The most recent batch of loans originated out of Deutsche Bank’s private-wealth management unit, where Trump deals primarily with Rosemary Vrablic, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Vrablic joined the group in 2006 after stints at other companies, including Bank of America. Her other clients include Herbert Simon, owner of the Indiana Pacers basketball team. Simon didn’t return calls seeking comment.
Largely Unknown

Vrablic, who is largely unknown on Wall Street outside of private-banking circles, was thrust in the spotlight earlier this year after Trump uttered her name in public.

The loans, before restructuring, appear to be a good deal for both sides. Trump locked in a low interest rate, around 2 percent over the benchmark, and has relative freedom to do what he wants with the money. In return, Trump personally guaranteed the loans.

As the bank scrambles to restructure the loans, it has options. It could remove the personal guarantee, which could require increasing the interest rate or laying out restrictions on how the money is used. Trump also could put assets such as stocks and bonds into an escrow account, which would effectively act as the guarantee.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank has been negotiating a multibillion-dollar settlement with the Department of Justice for mishandling the sale of mortgage bonds to other banks. If not settled by then, the department will be overseen by a political appointee of Trump’s after January 20th.
Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:15 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Bloomberg

American’s Pilots Question CEO Decision to Skip Trump Meeting

Deutsche Bank’s Bill for Russia Trades Reaches $629 Million
by Suzi Ring
January 31, 2017, 12:54 AM CST January 31, 2017, 7:38 AM CST

Control failures allowed $10 billion to move out of Russia
Fine relates to bank’s use of mirror trades to change currency

Deutsche Bank AG was fined $629 million by U.K. and U.S. authorities for compliance failures that saw the bank help wealthy Russians move about $10 billion out of the country using transactions that were likely thinly veiled attempts to cover up financial crime.

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority issued a 163 million-pound ($204 million) fine Tuesday, hours after New York’s Department of Financial Services fined the bank $425 million, for failures over the so-called "mirror-trades." A criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department is ongoing into the trades, which were used to convert rubles into dollars and transfer the money out of Russia.


Deutsche Bank rose in Frankfurt trading as the deal removes another source of uncertainty that had weighed on the stock and the bank said the fines are “materially” covered by existing provisions. Earlier this month, the lender finalized a $7.2 billion settlement to resolve a U.S. investigation into its sales of toxic mortgage debt. While Chief Executive Officer John Cryan has been pressing to wrap up regulatory reviews, investigations into whether the bank manipulated foreign-currency rates and precious metals prices haven’t been resolved yet.

“Removing uncertainties is great news,” said Neil Smith, an analyst with Bankhaus Lampe KG, who has a buy rating on Deutsche Bank. “And it’s largely covered by provisions, which means there shouldn’t be a big impact on profit.”

Shares of Deutsche Bank, which is scheduled to release fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday, rose 1.2 percent at 2:36 p.m. They have almost doubled since hitting a record low in September.
‘Great News’

Mastermind or scapegoat? Read about the rise and fall of Deutsche Bank’s “Wiz Kid”.

From April 2012 to October 2014, mirror trades were used by Deutsche Bank customers to transfer more than $6 billion from Russia, through the German lender’s arm in the U.K., to overseas bank accounts including in Cyprus, Estonia, and Latvia, the FCA said. Another nearly $4 billion in suspicious "one-sided trades" were also carried out.

The mirror trades allowed clients to buy local blue-chip shares for rubles, while the same stocks would be sold in London for dollars, in order to obtain the U.S. currency. Although such trades can be legal, there was a lack of controls in place at Deutsche Bank to prevent money laundering and other offenses.

Deutsche Bank chief administrative officer Karl von Rohr said in a memo to staff that the bank is “making progress” toward resolving the investigations.
‘Step-by-Step’

“We are cooperating with other regulators and law enforcement authorities, which have their own ongoing investigations into these securities trades,” von Rohr said in the memo, which was published on the bank’s website Tuesday. “We have some way to go until we can put our major legacy legal matters behind us, but we continue to pursue their resolution step-by-step.”

The New York regulator said Monday it also appeared a close relative of a Deutsche Bank supervisor in Moscow received bribes worth a quarter million dollars so that the supervisor would clear the trades.

Deutsche Bank’s Key Capital and Cost Challenges in Four Charts.

“Financial crime is a risk to the U.K. financial system," Mark Steward, director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said in a statement. "We have repeatedly told firms how to comply with our anti-money laundering requirements and the failings of Deutsche Bank are simply unacceptable."

Fines to settle the probes into Russian securities trades were “materially reflected in existing litigation reserves,” Deutsche Bank said in a separate statement Tuesday morning. The bank received the FCA’s standard 30 percent discount on the bulk of the penalty for cooperating with the probe at an early stage.

Nearly 6,000 pairs of suspicious mirror trades were carried out during the period, the FCA said.

The settlement “was quicker than expected and the fines will probably come in below the billions of dollars that some people had feared,” said Lutz Roehmeyer, who counts Deutsche Bank shares among the 2 billion euros he manages at LBB Invest in Berlin. He said he expects a settlement of the DOJ probe for an amount similar to those of the other two authorities.
Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:22 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

INDEPENDENT.CO,UK

Donald Trump's businesses owe $1.8bn to more than 150 different institutions, new study suggests

President-elect faces more questions about conflict of interest as financial reliance on big banks is revealed

Ben Kentish
@BenKentish
Friday 6 January 2017


Donald Trump had previously only revealed $315 million (£254 million) of debt Getty

Donald Trump’s companies are almost $1.8 billion in debt to more than 150 institutions, a new report has suggested – raising fresh questions about potential conflicts of interests when the Republican takes office in January.

The new evidence exposes the extent to which the businessman will soon be responsible for regulating many of the institutions he owes sizeable amounts of money to.

Mr Trump has previously declared $315 million (£254 million) of debt owed to ten different lenders.


However, a new study by the Wall Street Journal claims an additional $1.5 billion is owed by companies that are partly owned by the billionaire.

Experts said the high number of firms to which the Republican owes money, and the significant size of his debts, raised questions about potential conflicts of interest.

Trevor Potter, a former legal adviser to George H.W. Bush and John McCain, told the Journal: "The problem with any of this debt is if something goes wrong, and if there is a situation where the president is suddenly personally beholden or vulnerable to threats from the lenders.

Lawrence Noble, a former lawyer to Federal Election Commission (FEC), said: “The appearance of potential conflicts is dangerous and seriously exists in this situation”.

Candidates for US president have to disclose their financial situation to the FEC but this only includes debts that are owed by companies they full control, which in Mr Trump’s case amounts to $315 million.

But once businesses in which the President-elect has at least a 30 per cent stake are included, an additional, undeclared $1.5 billion (£1.3 billion) of debt emerges. Much of the debt has been repackaged and bought by investors.
Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:33 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

A Guide to Donald Trump's Huge Debts—and the Conflicts They ...
www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/guide-donald-trump-debt...

Dec 12, 2016 ... A Guide to Donald Trump's Huge Debts—and the Conflicts They Present ... Below is a list of all the financial players that Trump owes money to ...

A Guide to Donald Trump's Huge Debts—and the Conflicts They Present
Here's what we know he owes.

Russ ChomaDec. 12, 2016 9:21 AM

Jonathan Ernst/Reuters via ZUMA

Donald Trump has announced that on December 15 he will hold a press conference to reveal to the world his plan to address the many conflicts of interest between his vast business empire and his new role as president. Trump has indicated that he will remove himself from the daily "business operations" of the Trump Organization—but not sell off his holdings or create a truly blind trust.

Ethics experts have criticized this approach because Trump would continue to own his properties, benefiting from their success and suffering from their losses. He would know when his policy decisions and actions—or those of others (including corporations and foreign governments)—could affect his assets. Consequently, he would not be separating his presidential decision-making from his own personal financial circumstances. Yet, arguably, the biggest conflicts he faces aren't related to what he owns. Rather, they relate to what he owes.

All of Trump's top properties—including Trump Tower, the Trump National Doral golf course, and his brand new luxury hotel in Washington, DC—are heavily mortgaged. That means Trump maintains critical financial relationships with his creditors. These interactions pose a significant set of potential conflicts because his creditors are large financial institutions (domestic and foreign) with their own interests and policy needs. Each one could be greatly affected by presidential decisions, and Trump certainly has a financial interest in their well-being.

Below is a list of all the financial players that Trump owes money to and how much Trump directly has borrowed from each one. This roster is based on publicly available loan documents. According to his own public disclosure, Trump, as of May, was on the hook for 16 loans worth at least $713 million. This list does not include an estimated $2 billion in debt amassed by real estate partnerships that include Trump. One of those loans is a $950 million deal that was cobbled together by Goldman Sachs and the state-owned Bank of China—an arrangement that ethics experts believe violates the Constitution's emolument clause, which prohibits foreign governments from providing financial benefits to federal officials.

Deutsche Bank: $364 million

The troubled German bank is Trump's top lender and has been for years. When the rest of Wall Street essentially abandoned Trump years ago, apparently frustrated by his business tactics, Deutsche Bank stuck by the celebrity developer. Well, not all of Deutsche Bank. In 2005, Trump borrowed $640 million from a group of banks, including Deutsche Bank, to build his Chicago tower. But by 2008, the real estate market had gone bad, and Trump was in financial trouble. Shortly before he was due to pay Deutsche Bank $40 million for a portion of the loan he had personally guaranteed, Trump filed a lawsuit against the German bank, demanding $3 billion to compensate him for the international economic turmoil that Trump claimed the bank had helped cause and that Trump now said was hurting his investment in Chicago.

The dispute was eventually settled, but Trump's relationship with the division of the bank handling big commercial loans was done. Instead, he began working with what's known as the "private bank" side of Deutsche Bank—the division that caters to high-net-worth individuals and that has significantly more leeway to lend money. His various corporations now have four outstanding loans from that part of Deutsche Bank, worth a combined $364 million.

Trump's Deutsche Bank loans include:

$125 million for two mortgages on his Trump National Doral golf course in Miami. Both were taken out in 2012.
$69 million for a 2014 loan tied to the Chicago tower that Trump and Deutsche previously bickered over. This loan is listed within Cook County property records. Trump's personal financial disclosure form lists a loan that appears similar but doesn't match the official record. That document notes he has a 2012 loan for the Chicago tower valued at between $25 million and $50 million.
$170 million for a loan related to the Trump's hotel in the Old Post Office in Washington, DC. Trump doesn't own the building—he leases it from the federal government—but he borrowed the money to finance the building's extensive renovation. It's not clear when Trump borrowed the money, but it was likely after he announced his bid for the presidency.

Trump has an enormous conflict of interest on his hands with Deutsche Bank. As Trump himself noted in his 2008 lawsuit against the bank, Deutsche played a prominent role in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The Obama administration has targeted Deutsche Bank and other banks for creating and repackaging bad mortgage products, and earlier this fall the Justice Department announced it was seeking to settle claims against the bank for about $14 billion. That was much more than Deutsche Bank was expecting to pay, and the news sent the bank into a tailspin. Its stock price plummeted amid speculation that it could not remain afloat if the Justice Department pressed the bank for such a big settlement.

Negotiations between the bank and the Justice Department over the size of the settlement are underway. But if they are not resolved by January 20, Trump's administration will be in charge of handling this case. So a federal government run by Trump will have to decide how hard to push the bank that Trump owes so much to and that has been critical to Trump's personal fortunes.

Ladder Capital: $282 million

Ladder Capital is not a traditional bank or a big name on Wall Street, but in the last several years it has joined Deutsche Bank as a main source of financing for Trump. In fact, since 2012, these two outfits have been the only ones to lend Trump money. Ladder Capital is a small Wall Street firm that specializes in loaning money for commercial real estate projects and, with the help of the big Wall Street banks, combining pieces of these loans into bigger packages that it then sells to investors.

One big issue with Trump's loans from Ladder Capital is that he appears to be personally liable for at least $26 million of the debt. So if a problem with the loan emerges, Ladder Capital could ask Trump, not his business, to cover this amount personally. Even if Trump does remove himself from the operations of the Trump Organization and lets his adult children run the business, this conflict of interest would not be addressed. The man in the Oval Office would still be in hock to this financial institution.

There's another major issue with the Ladder Capital loans. As was reported last week, Ladder Capital has hired Citibank to help organize a possible sale. Sources at the firm told Reuters that new federal regulations covering the repackaging of loans were making the company's core business more complicated.

It's possible, then, that if the firm does go on the block, Trump's loans could end up being bought by another party. It could be an investor or a financial institution based in the United States or overseas. Imagine, say, a Russian bank owning the debt of an American president. In any event, another troubling conflict of interest could exist—and the public might not even know about this at first, because Trump would be under no obligation to update the personal financial disclosure until it was time to file his annual disclosure report.

Trump's loans with Ladder Capital include:

$160 million for a loan related to Trump's 40 Wall Street office tower. Trump took out the mortgage in 2015 to replace a similar loan he had from Capital One with a higher interest rate.
$100 million for a mortgage on Trump Tower. This is Trump's most prized possession and the possible "White House North," but he only owns a small portion of the property. (Most of the condo units were sold years ago.) This mortgage provides Trump a line of credit secured by the building.
$7 million for a mortgage on several commercial condo units in the Trump International Hotel Tower on New York City's Columbus Circle. This loan doesn't appear on Trump's most recent personal financial disclosure. He filed that document in May, and he borrowed this money in July. The loan replaced an earlier one of the same amount that Trump had obtained from Swiss bank UBS Capital.
$15 million for a mortgage on three condo units in the Trump Plaza apartment building on New York's Upper East Side.


Investors Savings Bank: $23 million

In 2010, Trump combined an earlier mortgage on his Westchester County, New York, golf course into a much larger $23 million mortgage that also leveraged his ownership of condo units in the Trump Park Avenue building in New York City.

Amboy Bank: $16 million

In 2010, Trump took out a mortgage on his Trump National Golf Club-Colts Neck in Monmouth County, New Jersey, for $16 million from Amboy Bank, a tiny New Jersey bank.

Chevy Chase Trust Holdings: $10 million

In 2009, Trump purchased a golf course in Loudon County, Virginia, for $13 million. To make the deal happen, he borrowed $10 million from the land development company that previously owned the property.

Bank of New York Mellon Trust: $9.25 million

Trump's personal financial disclosure lists bonds, first issued in 1996, against a commercial property on New York's East 56th Street. Paperwork filed with the state of New York shows the due date on the bonds has been extended to 2020.

Royal Bank of Pennsylvania: $8 million

In 1995, Trump purchased a lavish estate in Westchester County, New York, and in 2000 he refinanced that purchase with an $8 million mortgage from the Royal Bank of Pennsylvania. Trump originally planned to turn the large estate into a golf course, but opposition from local residents blocked the project. The property has been used as a family retreat and a playground for Trump's two oldest sons. Trump has long had a personal relationship with the bank's founder, and he allowed the banker's 10-year-old grandson to perform magic tricks at Trump's Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Merrill Lynch: Less than $750,000

In the early 1990s, Trump purchased two houses next to his Mar-A-Lago estate, borrowing about $2 million from Merrill Lynch for these purchases. The loans, which were taken out in 1993 and 1994 and come due in 2019, are now worth between $350,000 and $750,000.
Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 9:41 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

These are Donald Trump's ties to Russia - CNNPolitics.com
www.cnn.com/2017/01/11/politics/trump-ties-with-russia/

Jan 12, 2017 ... President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to have better relations with Russia. He's repeatedly stuck ...


These are Trump's ties to Russia

By Nelli Black and Curt Devine, CNN

Updated 7:20 PM ET, Thu January 12, 2017
Trump on hacking DNC: I think it was Russia



Source: CNN
Trump on hacking DNC: I think it was Russia 02:21
Story highlights

Trump has repeatedly stuck up for Vladimir Putin
He denied Wednesday he has any financial links to Russia

(CNN)President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to have better relations with Russia. He's repeatedly stuck up for Russian President Vladimir Putin. And after weeks of side-stepping, Trump finally admitted Wednesday that Russia was responsible for hacking ahead of the election. But he denied he has any financial links to the country.
But he has had dealings in the country. We took a look at a few of them.
Miss Universe Moscow

In 2013 Trump made millions when he partnered with Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov to host Miss Universe in Moscow.
Trump Tower Moscow
An attempt to build a Trump Tower in Moscow fell through before it began. CNN didn't find any projects that were actually completed in Russia.
In a 2007 deposition, Trump was asked about the proposal for the project.
"It was a Trump International Hotel and Tower. It would be a nonexclusive deal, so it would not have precluded me from doing other deals in Moscow, which was very important to me."
Trump Vodka
Trump put down no money, slapped his name on a brand and claimed royalties. Drinks Americas Holdings actually made the vodka. However, the company's former CEO told CNNMoney they didn't make much headway into the Russian market.
All they got was a single deal to sell 8,000 cases of vodka, a fraction of the 100,000 cases they sold worldwide. There's no evidence that it's still being sold.
The real value, however, was the photo-op.
"If you can sell vodka made in the Netherlands to Russians in gold bottles with 'Trump' on them, and wealthy Russians think this is good vodka, this is a marketing coup," said Patrick Kenny, former CEO of Drinks Americas Holdings.
Palm Beach mansion sale
Trump sold a mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, to Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million.
"Russians" investing in Trump
In 2008, Donald Trump Jr. said Trump's businesses "see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."
"And in terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York. We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia. There's indeed a lot of money coming for new-builds and resale reflecting a trend in the Russian economy and, of course, the weak dollar versus the ruble," he said.
Trademarks
Trump hired the law firm Sojuzpatent to file at least eight trademarks in Russia between 1996 and 2008, including "Trump," "Trump Home" and "Trump Tower."
The Bayrock Group
Trump partnered with the Bayrock Group, a company run by Soviet immigrants, and according to a lawsuit filed, financed by Russian and Kazakhstan money. Together, they developed Trump properties in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and New York.
They also planned on opening a Trump Tower in Moscow. However, Trump said in a deposition that the plan fell through after media reports began questioning Trump's net worth. The partners with Russian ties in the United States backed out.
Paul Manafort
Trump's ties to Russia go beyond business deals. His former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, had connections with Russia that go much deeper, including to Viktor Yanukovych, Ukraine's former president who fled the country. Yanukovych, who is now in Russia, "called upon Vladimir Putin to send Russian troops into Ukraine," according to a White House statement.
Manafort's company, Davis Manafort International LLC, retained Edelman to work on "Yanukovych's visibility in the US and Europe."
A lawsuit filed by Ukraine's former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko describes Manafort as a "key adviser to President Yanukovich and other Ukraine political figures since approximately 2003."
Trump advisers
Carter Page
Page, formerly named as a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, spent years in Moscow, where he was "responsible for the opening of the Merrill Lynch office and was an adviser on key transactions for Gazprom, RAO UES and others," according to his profile on the website of his company Global Energy Capital. At a press conference Wednesday, Trump spokesman Sean Spicer said the president-elect had never met Page.
Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn
Flynn, whom Trump selected as the next US national security adviser, appears to have a very favorable view of more friendly US-Russia relations.
In December 2015, Flynn traveled to Moscow and sat next to Putin at a gala for the Russian news channel RT. He believes the US and Russia should team up and work together more efficiently to fight ISIS.
Flynn did, however, express concern regarding the Edward Snowden leak and what intelligence Russia may be able to obtain from those documents.

Correction: The original version of this story has been revised. It removes a reference about the Center for the National Interest and its President and CEO Dimitri Simes, as well as its board member and former US diplomat Richard Burt. That reference wrongly characterized their relationship to Mr. Trump and to Russia. CNN apologizes and regrets the errors.
Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:03 am 
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untanglingwebs
El Supremo

CNN Politics


US investigators corroborate some aspects of the Russia dossier
Jim Sciutto-Profile-Image

By Jim Sciutto and Evan Perez, CNN

Updated 5:25 PM ET, Fri February 10, 2017
US officials corroborate aspects of dossier


US officials corroborate aspects of dossier 05:51

Washington (CNN)For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN. As CNN first reported, then-President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the dossier prior to Trump's inauguration.
None of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. Rather it relates to conversations between foreign nationals. The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. Sources would not confirm which specific conversations were intercepted or the content of those discussions due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs.
But the intercepts do confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier, according to the officials. CNN has not confirmed whether any content relates to then-candidate Trump.
The corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement "greater confidence" in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.

Reached for comment this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting."
Spicer later called back and said, "This is more fake news. It is about time CNN focused on the success the President has had bringing back jobs, protecting the nation, and strengthening relationships with Japan and other nations. The President won the election because of his vision and message for the nation."
Spokespeople for the FBI, Department of Justice, CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
US intelligence officials emphasize the conversations were solely between foreign nationals, including those in or tied to the Russian government, intercepted during routine intelligence gathering.
Some of the individuals involved in the intercepted communications were known to the US intelligence community as "heavily involved" in collecting information damaging to Hillary Clinton and helpful to Donald Trump, two of the officials tell CNN.
Until now, US intelligence and law enforcement officials have said they could not verify any parts of the dossier.
Officials who spoke to CNN cautioned they still have not reached any judgment on whether the Russian government has any compromising information about the President.
Officials did not comment on or confirm any alleged conversations or meetings between Russian officials and US citizens, including associates of then-candidate Trump.
One of the officials stressed to CNN they have not corroborated "the more salacious things" alleged in the dossier.
CNN has not reported any of the salacious allegations.
Trump dismissed the entire dossier last month during his only news conference as President-elect, saying in January, "It's all fake news. It's phony stuff. It didn't happen."
The dossier was commissioned as opposition research by political opponents of then-candidate Trump and compiled by a former British intelligence agent. US intelligence agencies checked out the former MI6 operative and his vast network throughout Europe and found him and his sources to be credible.

CNN's Pamela Brown and Marshall Cohen contributed to this story.
Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:13 pm 
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