Today
Sun 24 January 2021

Heidi Siegmund Cuda reports on how many criminal and civil investigations probing the financials of the outgoing US President Donald Trump end up on the doorstep of Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank, which embarked on an aggressive global expansion in the late ‘90s,  is making headlines again as Trump’s longtime banker Rosemary Vrablic resigned amid an internal investigation on Tuesday.

According to reports, Deutsche Bank opened an internal review this year into a 2013 real estate transaction between Vrablic and a company owned in part by Vrablic client, Jared Kushner, son-in-law of the outgoing President Donald Trump.

Vrablic’s colleague, Dominic Scalzi, also resigned from the bank. Vrablic, a managing director and senior banker in Deutsche Bank’s wealth management division, said in a statement that she was looking forward to retiring.

Retired IRS investigator Martin Sheil, who spent three decades in the Criminal Investigation Division, told Byline Times he finds the timing curious.

“I suspect Ms. Vrablic timed her resignation in a way that maximizes the return on her investment in Donald J. Trump in true wealth management fashion,” Sheil said. “By tendering her resignation now, Vrablic likely goes to the top of the Federal pardon list but she still gets out of Deutsche Bank in the nick of time before ‘the Donald’ requests another loan from Deutsche Bank for her to approve.”

Sheil suggested Vrablic, by her resignation, would get to avoid the potentially awkward task of liquidating some of Trump’s assets due to non-payment of his personally guaranteed loans that she approved.

“Vrablic has been under intense scrutiny because of her role facilitating huge loans to Trump and the Kushners,” observed David Enrich, the New York Times reporter who authored the book ‘Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction’. 


The Park Avenue Apartment

The internal investigation is reportedly focusing on a Park Avenue apartment that Vrablic, Scalzi and another Deutsche Bank colleague purchased for about $1.5 million from a company Kushner co-owned.

Kushner’s real estate company finalised a $285 million dollar loan from Deutsche Bank one month before the 2016 election, when Kushner was acting as a top advisor to his father-in-law. Kushner’s father, Charles Kushner, is a convicted felon, who served 14 months in a federal prison for illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion, and witness tampering.

Sheil said that as the congressional, criminal, and civil investigations proceed, the potential of Vrablic cooperating with investigators has tongues wagging.  “Now if Vrablic were to cooperate consider the immensity of the potential impact,” he told Byline Times

Byline Times reached out to Deutsche Bank for comment on this story, but did not receive a response. Addressing recent reports, Deutsche Bank has issued statements that the bank increased controls and added additional anti-financial crime staff.

Deutsche Bank was fined $630 million dollars by the U.K. and U.S. in 2017 for its role in an alleged money laundering scheme out of Russia. This year, the bank agreed to pay a $150 million dollar fine to a New York regulator for allowing disgraced and deceased Trump associate, Jeffrey Epstein, to make payments to Russian models and withdraw suspicious amounts of cash while a client. 

In 2018, the bank’s Frankfurt headquarters were raided in a money laundering investigation, which German investigators dropped in October. The bank’s own employees flagged allegedly suspicious transactions involving Trump and Kushner, but no reports were filed.

Trump’s Deutsche Bank debt, estimated to be approximately $330 million, begins coming due in 2023, and if he defaults, as he has done in the past, the bank can seize his assets.

Sheil said it’s not just Trump’s assets that could potentially be seized. As corruption probes continue into the bank, it’s worth noting three Deutsche Bank execs died by suicide between 2014 and 2019, including bankers with intimate knowledge of Trump and Epstein financials. 

“Technically, if Deutsche Bank were to be found guilty of running a racketeering enterprise for laundering Russian organized crime illicit proceeds the bank itself could be seized under the U.S. Patriot Act,” said Sheil. “Vrablic would have to go into the Witness Protection program for sure. Could make for an interesting retirement.”

Heidi Siegmund Cuda is an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter and author based in Los Angeles.


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