Deutsche bankers deny claims that Trump’s net worth boosted loans
Employee testimony lend credence to fraud defense
The bankers Donald Trump is accused of burning with false financial statements lent his defense a hand.
Deutsche Bank workers testified in the former president’s civil fraud trial in New York this week they didn’t rely on Trump’s exaggerated claims of his net work when making loans, the New York Times reported.
One of Trump’s core defenses is that allegedly manipulated statements had no bearing on Deutsche Bank because its bankers were expected to conduct their own due diligence.
“We are expected to conduct some due diligence and verify the information provided, to the extent that is possible,” wealth management banker David Williams testified. Williams also claimed the bank once adjusted his net worth down by $2.3 billion, but said it wasn’t unusual “for any client’s provided financial statements to be adjusted to this level.”
Rosemary Vrablic, a former member of Deutsche Bank’s wealth management unit who worked as the Trump family’s personal banker, also testified for the defense. But she clarified that the bank only issued loans when Trump personally guaranteed them, ostensibly making Trump’s net worth important once more.
Trump’s legal team claimed any alleged fraud is irrelevant because there was no victim if Deutsche Bank did their own due diligence. Though Trump was found liable for fraud before the trial even began — and the trial is centered on penalties — his lawyer followed the Deutsche Bank workers’ testimony with a motion for the judge to immediately rule in the former president’s favor. That sudden verdict appears unlikely.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has said the due diligence issue is not a defense. Judge Arthur Engoron seemed to agree when Trump’s lawyer filed the motion for a verdict, saying that “the mere fact that the lenders were happy, doesn’t mean that the statute wasn’t violated.”
James’ team spent six weeks laying down the prosecution argument, portraying Deutsche Bank as a victim of the Trump Organization’s fraudulent financial statements. Among the Trumps to testify in the case were Ivanka, Eric, Donald Jr. and the former president himself.
James accused the Trumps of fraudulently manipulating statements obtained by bankers and insurers working with the clan. Penalties from the trial could include a fine up to $250 million and a ban preventing some of the Trump family from doing business in New York, which would put the very future of the Trump Organization at risk.
— Holden Walter-Warner