Bank VP: CEO pushed Manafort loans despite faulty application

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 14, 2018

The Chicago banker is now a witness in the case against Manafort, which entered a new phase Monday as prosecutors rested their case against the former Trump campaign manager.

The testimony, on the 10th day of Manafort's financial fraud trial, comes as the prosecution is expected to rest its case later Monday.

The loan, a $9.5 million mortgage on Manafort's home in the Hamptons, came after a previous construction loan proposal for a property in California fell apart at the closing table. He said he also found several "inconsistencies" in the amount of income Manafort reported for his business.

"It closed because Mr. Calk wanted it to close", Brennan said, referring to one of the loans.

Former Federal Savings Bank Vice President Dennis Raico testified that Calk pushed through Manafort's loans over the concerns of other members of the bank's leadership.

"If I had my recommendation. the loan would not be made", Brennan said in court Monday.

Before Manafort's email to Kushner, he and Calk discussed possible administration posts.

James Brennan, a vice president of Federal Savings Bank, said he faced so much pressure from his bank's chairman about Manafort's ability to borrow the $16 million that he lied on a form reviewed by federal regulators and the bank's directors about the stability of the loan. He is fighting the charges.

James Brennan, a vice president at Federal Savings Bank, which issued two loans worth a total of $16 million (U.S.), testified Monday that Manafort didn't declare on his applications that he had mortgages on two properties in NY - information that would have made it harder for him to secure a loan. The email detailed some of "the issues we were having" regarding one of Manafort's loan applications, Brennan said. But in fact, Brennan testified, Manafort was in default for a $5.7 million loan he had taken out for a Los Angeles property and had also stopped paying on a $6.5 million loan on a NY residence. Information about Manafort's company's income, his unpaid debts from his Yankees season ticket and undisclosed mortgages on his other properties in NY raised red flags internally at the bank, he added. And Brennan was concerned about an unpaid $300,000 American Express card debt for luxury New York Yankees season tickets.

Manafort's lawyers have not yet said whether they will call any witnesses or present other evidence in the case.

"It's very clear that if you do not own more than 50 per cent of the entity, you do not have a responsibility", Zehnle said.

The proceedings were halted for hours on Friday by mysterious backstage discussions between the judge and attorneys for both sides.

Judge T.S. Ellis said he would talk to Manafort on Tuesday about whether he wanted to take the stand in his defense, a move legal experts say is highly unlikely. That included telling them to not even comment on the attire of any witnesses.

Bloomberg News reports that an email exchange occurred in late November 2016, following Trump's election victory, almost two years before Stephen Calk, chief executive officer of the Federal Savings Bank, would become a central figure in the government's case against Manafort. Defence attorneys have called Gates a liar, philanderer and embezzler as they've sought to undermine his testimony.

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