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  1. #5116

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Trump’s Bank Was Subpoenaed by N.Y. Prosecutors in Criminal Inquiry
    The subpoena, sent to Deutsche Bank, suggests that the inquiry into President Trump’s business practices is more wide-ranging than previously known.
    By David Enrich, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum and Benjamin Weiser
    Aug. 5, 2020
    Updated 8:01 p.m. ET

    The New York prosecutors who are seeking President Trump’s tax records have also subpoenaed his longtime lender, a sign that their criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s business practices is more wide-ranging than previously known.

    The Manhattan district attorney’s office issued the subpoena last year to Deutsche Bank, which has been Mr. Trump’s primary lender since the late 1990s, seeking financial records that he and his company provided to the bank, according to four people familiar with the inquiry.

    The criminal investigation initially appeared to be focused on hush-money payments made in 2016 to two women who have said they had affairs with Mr. Trump.

    But in a court filing this week, prosecutors with the district attorney’s office cited “public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” and suggested that they were also investigating possible crimes involving bank and insurance fraud.

    Because of its longstanding and multifaceted relationship with Mr. Trump, Deutsche Bank has been a frequent target of regulators and lawmakers digging into the president’s opaque finances. But the subpoena from the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., appears to be the first instance of a criminal inquiry involving Mr. Trump and his dealings with the German bank, which lent him and his company more than $2 billion over the past two decades.

    Deutsche Bank complied with the subpoena. Over a period of months last year, it provided Mr. Vance’s office with detailed records, including financial statements and other materials that Mr. Trump had provided to the bank as he sought loans, according to two of the people familiar with the inquiry.

    The bank’s response to the subpoena reinforces the seriousness of the legal threat the district attorney’s investigation poses for Mr. Trump, his family and his company, which in recent years have faced — and for the most part fended off — an onslaught of regulatory, congressional and criminal inquiries.

    But while the subpoena of Deutsche Bank indicates the breadth of Mr. Vance’s investigation, his inquiry is still at an early stage, a person briefed on the matter said.

    The district attorney’s office has spent the past year trying to obtain Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, and the Supreme Court last month upheld prosecutors’ rights to seek the documents. But legal wrangling continues, and Mr. Vance’s office has said that its investigation will be hamstrung unless prosecutors get the tax returns.

    Mr. Trump and his company have denied wrongdoing and have sought to dismiss the inquiry by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, as a politically motivated fishing expedition. Mr. Trump’s representatives have accused his former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, of lying when he told Congress that Mr. Trump exaggerated the value of his real estate assets as he sought loans and in dealings with his insurance company.

    The subpoena to Deutsche Bank sought documents on various topics related to Mr. Trump and his company, including any materials that might point to possible fraud, according to two people briefed on the subpoena’s contents.

    The bank’s cooperation with Mr. Vance’s office is significant because other investigations that have sought Mr. Trump’s financial records have been stymied by legal challenges from the president and his family.

    Last month, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to congressional investigations into the president’s finances when it ordered lower courts to reconsider whether Deutsche Bank and Mazars USA, Mr. Trump’s accounting firm, had to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking his records. The ruling meant that the subpoenas would not be enforced until after the presidential election in November, if at all.

    Mr. Vance’s office declined to comment.

    Whatever records the Manhattan prosecutors obtain are subject to grand jury secrecy rules and might never become public unless the district attorney’s office brings charges and introduces the documents as evidence at a trial.

    Even if investigators uncover what they think is evidence of fraud, criminal charges could be hard to prove. Valuing real estate assets involves subjective estimates and other assumptions, making it difficult to prove that someone intended to commit fraud. The New York Times reported previously that some Deutsche Bank officials viewed Mr. Trump’s financial statements as based on wildly optimistic assumptions and, in some cases, reduced his estimates of his assets’ values by up to 70 percent.

    Some of the insurance and bank issues that have drawn scrutiny from reporters are also too old to be the focus of a criminal case.

    Tax returns can be crucial evidence for proving that a defendant misstated the value of assets, said Daniel R. Alonso, who was Mr. Vance’s top deputy from 2010 to 2014 and is now in private practice. “Tax returns are an obvious place to look because of the precision required by tax authorities,” he said.

    The district attorney’s investigation has been proceeding in fits and starts since it began in the summer of 2018. Almost immediately, Mr. Vance paused the inquiry at the request of the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan, which had prosecuted Mr. Cohen and was investigating whether others at the Trump Organization had committed crimes in the course of arranging the hush-money payments.

    In early 2019, Mr. Cohen testified on Capitol Hill that Mr. Trump had inflated the value of his assets in order at times to obtain financing from Deutsche Bank, including in 2014 when he bid unsuccessfully for the Buffalo Bills football team. Mr. Cohen also told federal prosecutors in Manhattan about insurance claims the Trump Organization had filed that he believed had been inflated.

    Last summer, after federal prosecutors concluded their investigation of the hush-money payments without bringing additional charges, Mr. Vance’s office resumed its inquiry. In August 2019, the office served a subpoena on Mazars, seeking the president’s tax returns and other financial records going back to 2011.

    Mr. Trump filed a lawsuit last September seeking to block Mazars from complying. The case is still being litigated nearly a year later, even after the Supreme Court’s ruling last month affirming Mr. Vance’s right to criminally investigate the president. The justices said that Mr. Trump could go back to the lower court, where he first sued, and raise other objections to the subpoena.

    Shortly after Mr. Trump filed his suit last year, Mr. Vance’s office provided the judge who has been overseeing the case, Victor Marrero, a two-page summary of its secret grand jury investigation, which was not made available to the public or to Mr. Trump. Days later, at a hearing in federal court in Manhattan, Judge Marrero said the inquiry “clearly is very complex” and “involves a lot of parties, extends over many, many years.”

    While Deutsche Bank has been cooperating with prosecutors, Mr. Vance’s office made it clear to Judge Marrero last month that its inquiry had been stalled without the tax returns.

    “It’s been nearly a year since we served our subpoena,” Carey R. Dunne, a senior official under Mr. Vance, told the judge, “and this lawsuit’s been very successful since then in delaying our ability to gather the central evidence.”

    That delay, Mr. Dunne added, made it “ever more likely that the grand jury will be prevented from evaluating the evidence before the statutes of limitation expire.”
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  2. #5117

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Robert J. DeNault @robertjdenault

    JUST IN: New York Attorney General Letitia James will make a “major national announcement” tomorrow morning at 11:30 am EST.

    Robert J. DeNault @robertjdenault
    Replying to @robertjdenault
    Unclear what this is about, but strange it comes within 1 hour of NYT dropping a major story that Manhattan DA subpoenaed/obtained Trump’s Deutsche Bank records, and weeks after New York DFS fined the same division of Deutsche for work with Epstein. Is this related? Stay tuned.

    Should reiterate—we have no clue if this is Trump-related. AG James could be announcing a number of things tomorrow that might qualify as national and urgent (elections, census, etc).

    Still, to announce this within 1 hour of this NYT story and have it be unrelated would be odd.

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  3. #5118

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    We've discussed ad nauseam the fact that Trump's loyalists would be able to overlook anything and still support him.

    But on the list of things they've been able to ignore: It is simply not possible that his tax returns and bank records do anything less than show major felonious activity. He and his lawyers have gone to such lengths to keep anyone from seeing them, that of course this is the case. I hope like everything that the days of him avoiding charges of financial wrongdoing are over.

    By the way, I also saw the interview on Rachel's show about the attempts to use his weight to get the British Open (golf) moved to his course in Scotland. There is NO question that what he did is totally, totally illegal. A similar action by a Democratic president would have been met by yet another round of calls for impeachment. (there would have been daily such calls if a Democrat did even 1/10 of the evil things Trump has done).


  4. #5119
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    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Just to close the loop, the NY Attorney General announcement is unrelated to Deutsche Bank and is that NY State is suing to dissolve the National Rifle Association due to misappropriation of funds and corruption.

  5. #5120

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmm8 View Post
    Just to close the loop, the NY Attorney General announcement is unrelated to Deutsche Bank and is that NY State is suing to dissolve the National Rifle Association due to misappropriation of funds and corruption.
    Both Jeff and I posted her announcement in different threads.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  6. #5121

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmm8 View Post
    Just to close the loop, the NY Attorney General announcement is unrelated to Deutsche Bank and is that NY State is suing to dissolve the National Rifle Association due to misappropriation of funds and corruption.
    Oh my God, where is Captain Renault?!
    Last edited by ponchi101; Yesterday at 12:31 PM.
    Face it. It's the apocalypse.

  7. #5122

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Justice Department accuses Ukrainian oligarch of stealing billions from bank he once owned and laundering it in the U.S.

    Matt Zapotosky and Rosalind S. Helderman
    August 6, 2020 at 3:41 p.m. EDT

    The Justice Department on Thursday accused a Ukrainian oligarch who has been considered an ally of that country’s president of stealing billions of dollars from a bank he once owned, then using a vast array of companies to launder that money in the United States and all over the world.

    In a civil forfeiture complaint seeking to seize commercial properties from the men in Kentucky and Texas, the Justice Department alleged that Igor Kolomoisky and his business partner, Gennadiy Boholiubov, stole so much from PrivatBank that the country’s national bank had to give the institution a $5.5 billion bailout “to stave off economic crisis for the whole country.”

    Kolomoisky, one of Ukraine’s richest men, has ties to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and he played a role in the events that led to President Trump’s impeachment last year. He made a fortune in the rough and tumble capitalism that swept Ukraine after the Soviet Union’s collapse, amassing assets from airlines to financial institutions, and created a larger-than-life image for himself, going by the nickname “Benya,” and keeping a shark aquarium in his office.

    Kolomoisky and Boholiubov were the two major owners of PrivatBank before it was nationalized in response to the fraud, the Justice Department said, and the men basically used it as a personal account to build a business empire in the United States. They requested money from PrivatBank — which they always received because they were owners — then moved the money through a vast network of companies to “thoroughly disguise their nature, source, ownership, and control,” the Justice Department alleged.

    Among their purchases in the U.S. were more than 5 million square feet of commercial real estate in Ohio, steel plants in Kentucky, West Virginia and Michigan, a cellphone manufacturing plant in Illinois, and commercial real estate in Texas, the Justice Department alleged. The forfeiture complaints sought to seize a roughly 19.5-acre office park in Dallas and the PNC Plaza building in Louisville.

    Kolomoisky has previously rejected allegations that he stole from PrivatBank, which he helped found. The allegations by the Justice Department — which are not criminal charges — are similar to those in a civil lawsuit filed by the bank in a Delaware court. A lawyer representing Kolomoisky in civil matters declined to comment Thursday. A lawyer for Boholiubov did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

    Kolomoisky also has long been facing a criminal probe by the U.S. attorney’s office in Cleveland for possible money laundering. As a part of that case, the FBI raided the office of Optima Management Group in downtown Cleveland on Tuesday, as well as another Optima office in the Southeast Financial Center building in Miami.

    In court documents Thursday, the Justice Department alleged that two Miami-based business associates of Kolomoisky and Boholiubov — Mordechai Korf and Uriel Laber — helped acquire and manage the oligarchs’ holdings in the United States, which often bear some version of the name “Optima.” Optima companies have ownership stakes in several buildings in downtown Cleveland, which the Justice Department alleged in the forfeiture complaints were purchased with stolen funds.

    Last year, Marc Kasowitz, a New York lawyer who also represents Trump, signed on to represent the two men in the Delaware case. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

    Under Ukraine’s last president, Petro Poroshenko, the government nationalized Privatbank, alleging that Kolomoisky and one of his business partners had defrauded the bank of billions of dollars. Kolomoisky denied those charges but decamped from Kyiv to Israel, where he also holds citizenship. He retained political power in Ukraine through his business holdings, which include a major Ukrainian television station.

    Kolomoisky is seen as an ally of Zelensky, who was an actor before his election, starring in a comedy show that aired on Kolomoisky’s network. Some in the United States were suspicious of Zelensky’s ties to the mogul, thinking the connection ran counter to Zelensky’s promises to pursue an anti-corruption, reform agenda.

    In spring 2019, when Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani embarked on a mission to press Zelensky to assist Trump by opening politically charged investigations into former vice president Joe Biden and his son, Giuliani’s associates met with Kolomoisky to request that Giuliani get a sit-down for the former New York mayor with the rising Ukrainian politician.

    Giuliani associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman met with Kolomoisky in April 2019 in Tel Aviv and, by all accounts, it did not go well.

    After the meeting, the two Florida-based business executives accused Kolomoisky of physically threatening them and filed a lawsuit against him in Ukraine. Parnas and Fruman, who assisted Giuliani in his Ukraine project, were charged with campaign finance violations last year. They have denied all wrongdoing.

    Giuliani has said he provided legal advice to Parnas and Fruman in their fight against Kolomoisky. He also tweeted repeatedly about his displeasure with Kolomoisky in May 2019 just as he was pressuring Zelensky to assist Trump with the Biden investigation. At one point, he complained that Zelensky was being advised by “Kolomoisky’s representatives and enemies of President Trump.”

    Meanwhile, a lawyer for Kolomoisky has told The Washington Post that during the meeting, Parnas and Fruman claimed that they could get top U.S. officials, including Vice President Pence and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, to travel to Ukraine around the time of Zelensky’s May 2019 inauguration — if Kolomoisky paid them several hundred thousand dollars. Kolomoisky did not pay the money, instead throwing the two men out of his office, his lawyer has said.

    The attorney, Bruce Marks, told The Post that Kolomoisky had predicted to friends at the time: “This is going to end up in a bad scandal.”

    Paul Sonne and Julie Tate contributed to this report.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

  8. #5123

    Re: A Chronicle of our Descent to Hades

    Seth Abramson @SethAbramson
    (ATTENTION MEDIA) Why does Trump say TikTok has to be American-owned, but he's extorting Ukraine into selling a Ukrainian engine-manufacturing company—one he admits has tech implicating U.S. national security—to a Chinese-owned company run by Erik Prince?

    PS/ Ukraine alleges Trump is holding up military supplies Ukraine already paid for to extort it into selling Motor Sich to Prince's company. But this is happening as Trump is publicly saying China can't own any company that implicates U.S. national security. Maybe look into that? (Paywall)
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.

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