Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:12 pm

Police Begin Search After Danske’s Ex-CEO in Estonia Goes Missing
Ott UmmelasSeptember 23, 2019, 10:04 AM CDT

Police in Estonia are looking for the man who used to run the Danske Bank unit now at the center of a money-laundering scandal that’s triggered multiple criminal investigations.

Aivar Rehe, who was the chief executive officer of the Danish bank’s Estonian branch in 2006-2015, has been missing since leaving his home in greater Tallinn at about 10 a.m. local time on Monday wearing a black jogging suit, Estonian police spokesman Kristjan Lukk confirmed by phone.

There’s reason to suspect Rehe’s life may be at risk, according to Lukk. He cited the fact that the former Danske executive had left home for a walk without bringing his mobile phone or his dog.

Danske admitted last year that much of $220 billion in non-resident flows that went through Estonia while Rehe was in charge was suspicious. But the 56-year-old has denied any knowledge of potential money laundering during his tenure. Rehe, who worked at the Estonian Tax and Customs Board before joining Danske, has been questioned by prosecutors, though he’s not known to be a suspect in the laundering investigations.

Since exploding last year, Danske’s dirty-money saga has tainted a number of other banks. In the Nordic region, Swedbank is now being investigated amid allegations it may have handled over $100 billion in potentially suspicious transactions via its Baltic operations. The developments have painted a picture of widespread misconduct in which suspicious funds from Russia were channeled via Nordic banks into the West over a period of several years.

Danske, which was ordered by Estonia’s regulator to leave the country earlier this year, is now the target of multiple criminal investigations, including in Denmark, Estonia and the U.S. Several of its former executives in Denmark have had preliminary criminal charges brought against them, including former group CEO Thomas Borgen.

The laundering scandal has proved disastrous for Danske’s share price. Last year, it lost almost 50% in market value, and shareholders have had to swallow another 25% in declines so far in 2019. The bank is now facing class-action lawsuits from disgruntled investors.

In an interview in March this year, Rehe told Estonian media that the checks and controls in place while he was CEO were “sufficient.” He urged the public to await the outcome of multiple investigations into the Danske affair before drawing any conclusions. He also noted that anti-money laundering requirements at the time “were significantly different” from those that exist today.

(Updates with details from police in 3rd paragraph.)
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... art-search
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:59 pm

German authorities raid Deutsche Bank over Danske scandal
FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German authorities have raided Deutsche Bank’s (DBKGn.DE) Frankfurt headquarters in search of information related to Danske Bank (DANSKE.CO) and a money laundering scandal, Frankfurt prosecutors said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: The Deutsche Bank headquarters are pictured in Frankfurt, Germany, April 25, 2019. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski
They are investigating whether Germany’s biggest bank facilitated money laundering and whether it failed to alert authorities about suspicious transactions quickly enough, the prosecutors said.

Danske Bank is under investigation in several countries, including the United States, Denmark, Britain and Estonia, over suspicious payments totalling 200 billion euros ($220 billion) moved through its tiny Estonian branch. Deutsche Bank acted as a correspondent bank for Danske.

The search, which began on Tuesday and concluded on Wednesday evening, involved three prosecutors and nine agents from Germany’s federal criminal police.

Deutsche Bank said it was cooperating. “Deutsche Bank has comprehensively examined the facts of the matter and has voluntarily provided the requested documents as far as possible,” the bank said in a statement.

Prosecutors said the period in question is 2014 to 2018, and that there was a suspect who worked at the bank during that period.

Deutsche Bank had alerted authorities to 1.1 million suspicious transactions, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors also said that a double-digit number of transactions, with a volume of 12.5 million euros, were either registered by Deutsche too late with authorities, or the bank should have blocked them from the start.

The Sueddeutsche Zeitung was the first to report the raid on Deutsche.

Deutsche Bank has previously faced issues over money laundering and the controls in place to prevent it.

Last year, dozens of police raided six Deutsche Bank offices in and around Frankfurt over money laundering allegations linked to the “Panama Papers”.

Germany’s financial market watchdog BaFin last year ordered Deutsche to do more to prevent money laundering.

In 2017, Deutsche Bank was fined nearly $700 million for artificial trades between Moscow, London and New York that could have been used for money laundering. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice is still ongoing.

Reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker, Patricia Uhlig and Tom Sims; editing by Thomas Seythal/Alexandra Hudson/Jane Merriman
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-deut ... SKBN1WA1IX
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Oct 01, 2019 10:19 am

:D :D :D :D

Image
David Enrich

NEW: The son of a dead @DeutscheBank executive — armed with hundreds of confidential bank files — has been secretly helping the FBI and the House Intelligence Committee investigate the bank and @realDonaldTrump.

Inside his father’s personal email accounts, Val Broeksmit discovered evidence of wrongdoing inside @DeutscheBank and about its deep connections to Russia (among many other things).

This is how FBI agents convinced Broeksmit to share the materials with them.

Early this year, @thelittleidiot heard about Val’s trove of files and connected him with @RepAdamSchiff. The @HouseIntel committee then subpoenaed Val this summer as part of its @realDonaldTrump-@DeutscheBank investigation.


Me and My Whistleblower

Deutsche Bank. North Korea. The Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the president. Again and again, one man has taken his trove of secret documents — and uncanny nose for scandal — to the center of the news.
Val Broeksmit in Los Angeles.CreditCreditOriana Koren for The New York Times
By David Enrich
Oct. 1, 2019Updated 6:09 a.m. ET

One sunny Wednesday in February, a gangly man in a sports jacket and a partly unbuttoned paisley shirt walked into the Los Angeles field office of the F.B.I. At the reception desk, he gave his name — Val Broeksmit — and began to pace anxiously in the lobby.
Mr. Broeksmit couldn’t believe he was voluntarily meeting with the F.B.I. An unemployed rock musician with a history of opioid abuse and credit card theft, not to mention a dalliance with North Korea-linked hackers, he was accustomed to shunning if not fearing law enforcement. But two investigators had flown from the bureau’s New York office specifically to speak with him, and Mr. Broeksmit had found their invitation too seductive to resist. Now the agents arrived in the lobby and escorted him upstairs.
They wanted to talk about Deutsche Bank — one of the world’s largest and most troubled financial institutions, and the bank of choice to the president of the United States. Mr. Broeksmit’s late father, Bill, had been a senior executive there, and his son possessed a cache of confidential bank documents that provided a tantalizing glimpse of its internal workings. Some of the documents were password-protected, and there was no telling what secrets they held or how explosive they could be.
Federal and state authorities were swarming around Deutsche Bank. Some of the scrutiny centered on the lender’s two-decade relationship with President Trump and his family. Other areas of focus grew out of Deutsche Bank’s long history of criminal misconduct: manipulating markets, evading taxes, bribing foreign officials, violating international sanctions, defrauding customers, laundering money for Russian billionaires.
In a windowless conference room, one of the agents pressed Mr. Broeksmit, 43, to hand over his files. “You’re holding documents that only people within the inner circle of Deutsche would ever see,” he said.
ImageThe United States headquarters of Deutsche Bank in New York.
The United States headquarters of Deutsche Bank in New York.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times
“Clearly, things went on in Deutsche Bank which weren’t kosher,” added the second agent. “What we’re up against is, all those bad acts are being pushed down on the little people on the bottom.”
“The low-hanging fruit,” said the first agent.
“And the larger bank in its entirety is claiming ignorance and that it’s one bad player,” said his partner. “But we know what we’ve seen. It’s a culture of just — ”
“Fraud and dirt,” Mr. Broeksmit interjected. Already, he was warming to the idea of having a cameo in a high-stakes F.B.I. investigation. He spent the next three hours vaping, munching on raspberry-flavored fig bars and telling his story, entranced by the idea of helping the investigators go after executives high up the Deutsche Bank food chain. (Deutsche Bank has said it is cooperating with authorities in a number of investigations.)
When he finally emerged from the Los Angeles field office, Mr. Broeksmit got into a Lyft and called me. His adrenaline, I could tell, was still pumping; he was talking so fast he had to stop to catch his breath.
“I am more emotionally invested in this than anyone in the world,” he said. “I would love to be their special informer.”
The next great American whistle-blower

Here’s the thing about whistle-blowers: They tend to be flawed messengers. Daniel Ellsberg, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden — each of them was dismissed as selfish, damaged, reckless and crazy. Yet all of them, regardless of motivation, used secret documents to change the course of history.
For more than five years, Val Broeksmit has been dangling his Deutsche Bank files in front of journalists and government investigators, dreaming of becoming the next great American whistle-blower. He wants to expose what he sees as corporate wrongdoing, give some meaning to his father’s death — and maybe get famous along the way. Inside newsrooms and investigative bodies around the world, Mr. Broeksmit’s documents have become something of an open secret, and so are the psychological strings that come attached. I pulled them more than anyone, as part of my reporting on Deutsche Bank for The New York Times and for a book, “Dark Towers,” to be published next year. It has been the most intense source relationship of my career.
An endless procession of bank executives and friends of the Broeksmit family have warned me that Mr. Broeksmit is not to be trusted, and, well, they might have a point. His drug use has sent him reeling between manias and stupors. He has a maddening habit of leaping to outrageous conclusions and then bending facts to fit far-fetched theories. He fantasizes about seeing his story told by Hollywood, and I sometimes wonder whether he’s manipulating me to achieve that ambition. He can be impatient, erratic and abusive. A few days ago, irate that he was not named in a blurb for my book on Amazon, among other perceived slights, he sent me a string of texts claiming that he’d taken out a brokerage account in my name and traded on secret information I’d supposedly fed him. (This is not true.) A little later, he left me a voice mail message saying it was all a joke.
Why do I put up with this? Because his trove of corporate emails, financial materials, boardroom presentations and legal reports is credible — even if he is not. (In this article, every detail not directly attributed to Mr. Broeksmit has been corroborated by documents, recordings or an independent source.) Besides, there’s something uncanny about how Mr. Broeksmit’s fearlessness and addiction to drama have led him, again and again, to the center of the news. In addition to Deutsche Bank’s troubles, he has figured into North Korea’s hack of Sony Pictures, the collapse of the world’s oldest bank and the House Intelligence Committee’s ongoing investigation into Mr. Trump.
We might wish our whistle-blowers were stoic, unimpeachable do-gooders. In reality, to let you in on a journalistic secret, they’re often more like Val Broeksmit.
Image
Val Broeksmit with his father at Wimbledon in 2013.CreditVal Broeksmit
‘Please don’t tell anyone where you’re getting this’

On a drizzly Sunday in London in January 2014, Bill Broeksmit cinched his dog’s red leash around his neck, slung it over a door and lunged forward. He was 58.
The elder Broeksmit was widely known as the unofficial conscience of Deutsche Bank and a longtime confidant of the company’s chief executive, and his death shocked the financial world. I was a reporter in The Wall Street Journal’s London bureau, and there were rumors that Mr. Broeksmit’s suicide was connected to his work — that he regretted what he’d seen and done. My colleagues and I divvied up the unpleasant task of contacting his family, and I got Val. He was easy to track down: His band, Bikini Robot Army, had a website with his email address.
When I reached him, he was in New York for his father’s funeral, and at first he asked me to leave his family alone. “Everyone is very sad and grieving right now,” he wrote. But before long he was on the phone — angry, slurring his speech, insisting without evidence that he knew why his father had killed himself and that it had nothing to do with Deutsche Bank. Over the next several months, we kept in sporadic touch as Mr. Broeksmit bounced between rehab facilities in Florida and California, trying to beat an opioid addiction and teasing me with provocative messages. (He is open about his struggles with substance abuse.) He would say things like “I think I know what happened” and then never follow up; once, apropos of nothing, he sent a picture of a San Francisco building on fire.
Finally, on a Tuesday in July 2014, he emailed me a single line: “Are you still looking into deutsche?”
The evening after his father died, Mr. Broeksmit had found the passwords to his email accounts. Now, he told me that he had discovered hundreds of messages related to Deutsche Bank. Mr. Broeksmit asked if I could help him sift through and decipher them, and I suggested a list of search terms: things like “subpoena” and “DOJ,” for the Department of Justice.
He soon forwarded an item with a number of those keywords. “Don’t know what it means,” he said. I started skimming: It was a detailed letter to Deutsche Bank from a senior official at the New York arm of the Federal Reserve, who was furious with the bank for its slipshod accounting. Trying to contain my excitement, I asked if I could write about the document. I braced for a negotiation, but all Mr. Broeksmit said was, “That’s cool. Please don’t tell anyone where you’re getting this info.” (He has since released me from that promise.)
Four days later, I published an article describing the Fed’s concerns. The bank’s shares fell 3 percent. Mr. Broeksmit told me he felt empowered by having dented Deutsche’s market value by more than $1 billion.
Val Broeksmit vs. David Boies

What makes a person crave the attention of journalists? Consider where Val Broeksmit comes from.
He was born in Ukraine in 1976, and his parents, Alla and Alexander, emigrated to Chicago three years later. Their marriage collapsed; Val and his father landed in a homeless shelter; and in 1982, Cook County took custody of the boy, placing the frightened 6-year-old in a foster home.
Meanwhile, Alla met and married Bill Broeksmit, who was then an up-and-coming banker. They moved to New Jersey and eventually extracted Val, then 9, from the foster care system. Bill adopted him — an angry, impulsive child with a strong anti-authority streak. A caseworker who visited the family noted that he insisted on calling his parents by their first names.
Val’s friends told me that he acted out through his boarding school and college years, compensating for what he described as his parents’ icy detachment. He was the guy trying to keep the party going with a little coke at 3 a.m., cajoling girls to make out with each other, stealing expensive gear from his college’s music department. (Mr. Broeksmit acknowledges all of this.) He wanted to be the center of attention, to prove that he mattered. That’s part of the reason he became a rocker — “It’s less lonely with an audience,” he once told me — but Bikini Robot Army never hit it big. When his father died and Mr. Broeksmit came into possession of his documents, he finally had an opportunity to make the world pay attention.
After his initial leak to me in the summer of 2014, Mr. Broeksmit started seeking out other big stories. Late that year, a group of North Korea-linked hackers, calling themselves the Guardians of Peace, penetrated the computer systems of Sony Pictures. When the hack became public, Mr. Broeksmit followed a bread crumb trail of links until he eventually came across an email address for the hackers.
“I’m interesting in joining your GOP, but I’m afraid my computer skills are sophomoric at best,” Mr. Broeksmit emailed the Guardians of Peace. (Typo his.) “If I can help in any other facility please let me know.” He doubted the hackers would reply, but an email soon arrived with a primer on how to access Sony’s stolen materials. As he waited for the hundreds of gigabytes to download, he sent another email. “Hey, you guys ever thought about going after Deutsche Bank?” he wrote. “Tons of evidence on their servers of worldwide fraud.” The hackers didn’t respond.
Mr. Broeksmit, leaning into his new persona as an exposer of corporate secrets, took to Twitter to post embarrassing Sony files: deliberations over who might direct a remake of “Cleopatra”; Brad Pitt freaking out about the edit of “Fury.” He wasn’t the only one airing Sony’s laundry, but his prolific postings set him apart.
Image
David Boies in New York in July. Mr. Boies was representing Sony when it demanded that Twitter shut down Val Broeksmit’s account.CreditCarlo Allegri/Reuters
David Boies — Sony’s attorney and arguably the most famous lawyer in America — sent Twitter a letter demanding that it shut down Mr. Broeksmit’s account. Another letter, from a Sony executive, warned Mr. Broeksmit that Sony would “hold you responsible for any damage or loss” stemming from the materials he had published. A few days before Christmas, a colleague and I published an article about the huge corporation and its powerful lawyer threatening this random musician.
For the first time, Mr. Broeksmit was in the public spotlight. Soon he was on the Fox Business channel. “It seems like somebody’s trying to make you the fall guy, doesn’t it, Mr. Broeksmit?” an anchor asked. The lesson was clear: The media had ravenous appetites for documents that exposed the guts of giant corporations. It even seemed virtuous to share juicy material. And Mr. Broeksmit had plenty of that.
‘I am eternally sorry and condemned’

Spelunking through his Deutsche files, Mr. Broeksmit encountered detailed information about what was going on deep inside the bank. There were minutes of board meetings. Financial plans. Indecipherable spreadsheets. Password-protected presentations. And evidence of his father’s misery.
Here was the elder Broeksmit scolding his colleagues for not taking the Fed’s annual “stress tests” seriously. Here he was, in the months before his suicide, pushing executives to deal with the American division’s alarming staff shortages. Here he was talking to a criminal defense lawyer.
Mr. Broeksmit concluded that all this might help explain why his father had hanged himself. He told his therapist, an addiction specialist named Larry Meltzer, that he was on a quest to understand the suicide. Mr. Meltzer told me that he encouraged the inquiry. He also persuaded Alla Broeksmit to increase her son’s monthly stipend from $300 to $2,500.
Figuring that more information about his father’s death might be lodged in Alla’s email accounts, Mr. Broeksmit consulted some online tutorials and broke into her Gmail. Inside, he found an extraordinary demonstration of corporations’ power to control what the public knows.
In his mother’s inbox was a scan of the elder Broeksmit’s suicide note to Anshu Jain, at the time the co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank. It was four sentences, handwritten in black ink on white printer paper.
Anshu,
You were so good to me and I have repaid you with carelessness. I betrayed your trust and hid my horrible nature from you. I can’t even begin to fathom the damage I have done.
I am eternally sorry and condemned.
Bill
Mr. Broeksmit could feel his father’s anguish. It left him in tears — and baffled. Why had his father been sorry? When had he ever been careless? How had he damaged the bank?
Mr. Broeksmit read on. He learned that his father had once looked into the conduct of some Deutsche Bank traders and concluded — mistakenly — that nothing was amiss. It turned out the traders were manipulating a benchmark known as Libor. The elder Broeksmit feared he could become a target of government investigators because he had failed to detect the fraud; spiraling, he consulted his physician and a psychologist.
Those doctors wrote to the coroner investigating Mr. Broeksmit’s suicide. One described the banker as having been “extremely anxious” over the Libor affair. The other added: “He was catastrophising, imagining worst case outcomes including prosecution, loss of his wealth and reputation.”
The coroner, Fiona Wilcox, scheduled a public hearing to discuss her findings. She intended to read aloud from the doctors’ letters. But on the morning of the inquest, at the courthouse, lawyers that Deutsche Bank had hired for the Broeksmit family took her aside and urged her not to do so in order to protect the family’s privacy.
Ms. Wilcox, who declined to comment, acquiesced. Nearly everything about Mr. Broeksmit’s specific anxieties was expunged. Where the psychologist had written that his patient imagined prosecution, the words were crossed out and replaced with “He imagined various issues.” The physician had originally described Mr. Broeksmit’s worry “about going to prison or going bankrupt even though he knew he was innocent. He kept on thinking back over all the thousands of emails he had sent over the years. He knew how lawyers can twist things round.” It was replaced with: “He told me he had been extremely anxious.” All of this — the originals, and the whitewashed version — had been emailed to Alla Broeksmit. Now they were in her son’s hands.
Image
Val Broeksmit in Los Angeles, where he moved to drum up Hollywood interest in his life story.CreditOriana Koren for The New York Times
Dinner with Moby

Mr. Broeksmit’s antics escalated. He fished his mother’s American Express details out of her email and bought laptops, a plane ticket to Paris, rooms in luxury hotels. He told friends he was investigating his father’s death, but I wondered if he just wanted to tell people (and himself) that he was on a noble mission. At one point, Mr. Broeksmit filled out a form on the Justice Department’s website: “I’m writing in hopes of speaking to someone at the DOJ in reference to the evidence I have showing major fraud at one of the world’s largest banks.” He got a note that his message had been passed to the F.B.I.’s New York field office, but no other acknowledgment.
Ms. Broeksmit eventually wised up to her son’s credit card theft, and by the end of 2016, he was running low on cash. (In a brief phone call last year, she told me that Mr. Broeksmit “is completely ostracized from the family.”) Word spread in journalism circles that the son of a dead Deutsche Bank executive had access to revelatory materials. In Rome on New Year’s Eve of 2016, Mr. Broeksmit shared the files with a reporter for the Financial Times, periodically excusing himself to snort 80-milligram hits of OxyContin, and the journalist later connected him with someone willing to pay for the documents. On the third anniversary of his father’s death — Jan. 26, 2017 — $1,000 arrived in his PayPal account.
The money was from Glenn R. Simpson, a former journalist who ran a research company called Fusion GPS. Weeks earlier, it had rocketed to notoriety as the source of the so-called Steele Dossier — a report by a former intelligence agent containing salacious allegations against Mr. Trump. Mr. Simpson was searching for more dirt and, Mr. Broeksmit told me, he agreed to pay $10,000 for the Deutsche materials. (Mr. Simpson declined to be interviewed.)
Mr. Simpson asked Mr. Broeksmit to start searching for specific topics. “Any Russia stuff at all,” he wrote on an encrypted chat program. “Let’s get you here asap.”
They met two days later in the U.S. Virgin Islands and began combing for material on Mr. Trump, Russia and Robert Mercer, a top Trump donor. They didn’t discover bombshells — more like nuggets. One spreadsheet, for example, contained a list of all of the banks that owed money to one of Deutsche Bank’s American subsidiaries on a certain date — a list that included multiple Russian banks that would soon be under United States sanctions.
Mr. Simpson asked Mr. Broeksmit to travel with him to Washington and meet some of his contacts. Mr. Broeksmit shared some of his files with a Senate investigator and — after snorting some heroin — a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The documents found their way to a team of anti-money-laundering agents at the New York Fed. Coincidence or not, a few months later, the Fed fined Deutsche Bank $41 million for violations inside the American unit that Bill Broeksmit had overseen. (A Fed spokesman declined to comment.)
Mr. Broeksmit moved to Los Angeles to drum up Hollywood interest in his life story. Early this year, a producer invited him to a dinner party. Among the guests was Moby, the electronic music legend, who told me he was impressed by Mr. Broeksmit’s exploits and existential sadness. Moby arranged an introduction to his friend Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which had recently opened an investigation into Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump.
Mr. Schiff’s investigators badly wanted the secret Deutsche files. Mr. Broeksmit tried to extract money from them — he pushed to be hired as a consultant to the committee — but that was a nonstarter. An investigator, Daniel Goldman, appealed to his sense of patriotism and pride. “Imagine a scenario where some of the material that you have can actually provide the seed that we can then use to blow open everything that [Trump] has been hiding,” Mr. Goldman told Mr. Broeksmit in a recorded phone call. “In some respects, you — and your father vicariously through you — will go down in American history as a hero and as the person who really broke open an incredibly corrupt president and administration.” (Mr. Broeksmit wouldn’t budge; eventually, Mr. Schiff subpoenaed him.)
It was around this time that Mr. Broeksmit had his meeting at the F.B.I.’s Los Angeles field office. Someone at the bureau had finally noticed his submission to the Justice Department’s website. After the three-hour session, Mr. Broeksmit still needed some stroking, and the F.B.I. agents obliged. They told Mr. Broeksmit he could have a special advisory title. They promised to keep him in the loop as their investigation proceeded. They let him tell the world — via this article — that he was a cooperating witness in a federal criminal investigation. They even helped procure a visa for his French girlfriend.
I had to tip my hat to Mr. Broeksmit. The man whom everyone had discounted and demeaned had managed to get his information into the hands of the Federal Reserve, Congress and the F.B.I. Even if the documents ultimately prove underwhelming to these powerful investigators, Mr. Broeksmit had accomplished one of his life’s goals: He mattered.
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:06 am

Deutsche Bank Might Have Destroyed Physical Copies of Trump's Tax Returns, Cleansed Servers, Claims Former Executive: Report
On 10/11/19 at 5:00 AM EDT
A former Deutsche Bank executive who reviewed President Donald Trump's tax returns reportedly said it is "not normal" that the institution no longer holds copies of those records.

Trump for many years relied on Deutsche Bank for loans to sustain his real estate business when many other institutions would not lend to him because of his rocky financial history.

The president is accused by some, including his former attorney Michael Cohen, of manipulating the value of his assets to either secure finance or reduce his tax bill.

He has broken with recent precedent for presidents and refused to release publicly all of his recent tax returns, despite pressure to do so.

Congress is investigating Trump's finances and attempting to get hold of his tax returns from Deutsche. But the bank told the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals that it did not hold them.

David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, posted to Twitter a screenshot of his conversation with the unnamed executive in which they expressed surprise that Deutsche told a federal appeals court it did not have the president's tax returns anymore.

"Holy f**k," the executive wrote, per the screenshot. "The circumstance could be that they returned any physical copies or destroyed any physical copies under an agreement with a client and cleansed their servers. Not normal though."

Deutsche Bank did not respond immediately to Newsweek's request for comment.

In previous statements, Deutsche Bank has said: "We remain committed to cooperating with authorized investigations."

At a congressional hearing in February, Trump's former fixer Cohen—who went to prison for tax fraud, campaign finance violations, and lying to Congress in past testimony—said the president reduced his real estate bills by artificially devaluing his assets, committing tax fraud.

Moreover, Cohen said Trump inflated his assets to insurance companies. He said the evidence could be found on Trump's tax returns.

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Trump's accountant Mazars USA should hand his tax returns and other financial records over to investigators at the Manhattan District Attorney's office.

They are probing the hush payments to porn stars alleging affairs with the president. Trump's lawyers attempted to block the Manhattan DA's subpoena of Mazars for eight years of the president's financial records.

Judge Victor Marrero wrote in his 75-page ruling that the case presented by Trump's attorneys was "repugnant to the nation's governmental structure and constitutional values" for suggesting that the president, his family, businesses, and associates are "above the law."

Donald Trump tax returns Deutsche Bank
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally at the Target Center on October 10, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Deutsche Bank said it does not hold copies of Trump's tax returns. Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-tax-retu ... es-1464576
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Oct 23, 2019 8:09 am

The Four Horsemen Of Russia's Economic Apocalypse
Nathan Vardi
IN MARCH 2013 a group of bankers and lawyers gathered in the Frankfurt offices of Deutsche Bank to monitor the transfer of nearly $28 billion in U.S. currency from an account controlled by Russia's state-owned oil giant, Rosneft , to one controlled by four billionaire Russian tycoons: Mikhail Fridman, Viktor Vekselberg, Len Blavatnik and German Khan.

The closing of the sale of TNK-BP, Russia's third-biggest oil company, 50% owned by British Petroleum and 50% by the Russian billionaires, marked another move by Vladimir Putin to centralize power. Rosneft Chief Executive Igor Sechin, often described as Russia's second-most-powerful man behind Putin and sometimes called Darth Vader, was the central figure behind the deal. He sometimes seemed to want to remind the oligarchs of their rank by tormenting them during the negotiations, arriving late to their Moscow meetings.

As if it were being played out in a James Bond thriller, a neutral location was selected for the closing: Frankfurt, Germany, continental Europe's financial capital. Shareholder representatives insisted that they be able to immediately verify, in real time, the transfer of cash and stock certificates into an escrow account controlled by the billionaires, says a person familiar with the events . Only after a screenshot was taken showing the new balance of $27,778,900,132.16 was the transaction considered final.

Mikhail Fridman
Image
Putin was ecstatic. "This is a good big deal, which is important not only for Russia's energy sector but for the entire Russian economy," he said as the deal was being announced. Rosneft's $55 billion TNK-BP purchase transformed it into the world's biggest publicly traded oil company and cemented Sechin's position as a global energy czar, with Putin presumably pulling the strings.

Sechin and Putin's mega-energy merger may have seemed like a "good" strategic deal for Russia, but for Fridman, Vekselberg, Blavatnik and Khan, whose combined net worth now hovers around $55 billion, cashing out of Russia's most oil-dependent company in the spring of 2013, with West Texas Crude selling at $92 per barrel and Western banks pumping loans into Russia, may go down as the most brilliantly timed profit-taking of the decade. It also may have set off a chain of events in global financial markets that has contributed to the collapse of Russia's currency, which plummeted 40% against the dollar in 2014. Putin's state has been thrown into recession.

In 2003 British Petroleum started working with Fridman, his other billionaire partners and their TNK oil company, creating a 50-50 joint venture called TNK-BP. It would reach $60 billion in annual revenues and pay its owners dividends in the tens of billions over a decade. In fact the cash being generated by TNK-BP helped make the four Russians some of the richest men in the world and kept BP secure as an oil power, accounting for 27% of its reserves.

German Khan
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But it was a rocky partnership. The Russian billionaires felt that BP was treating TNK-BP as a foreign subsidiary, pursuing capital expenditures that would build reserves as opposed to other things like paying extra dividends. At the same time, BP's staff in Russia became embroiled in police actions, and its then Russia chief, Robert Dudley, left the country at one point and ran TNK-BP from a secret outpost after he and other BP employees could not renew their visas. Dudley is currently BP's chief executive officer.

After several other setbacks, including losing a deal to drill in the Kara Sea to Exxon Mobil in 2011, BP entered into a transaction with Sechin to sell its TNK-BP stake to Rosneft. In return BP got $12.5 billion and a 19.75% stake in Rosneft, which was important to BP because the structure allowed BP to continue including some of Rosneft's reserves on BP's books.

For BP's billionaire partners the best option was to sell their entire 50% stake to Sechin, a close Putin ally and former Russian deputy prime minister eager to build a massive national oil company. A cash buyout was key because the Russian billionaires did not want to become minority shareholders in a Sechin-controlled Rosneft. Likewise Sechin didn't want to risk diluting control through the issuance of more shares to this shrewd investor quartet. Sechin's big problem was that he didn't actually have the money to buy them out. So he borrowed about $40 billion in cash to close the deal, partly by using short-term foreign-denominated bridge loans. Banks from all over the world participated in the financings, including JPMorgan Chase, Barclays, BNP Paribas and Unicredit.

Viktor Vekselberg
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But little more than a year later, in the fall of 2014, Rosneft was suddenly in a pickle. It needed to meet payments related to the bridge loans, but by then Putin's invasion of Crimea brought on crippling economic sanctions, and Saudi Arabia's decision to take on U.S. shale producers and discipline OPEC members like Iran and other producers like Russia had pushed oil prices into a free fall. Sechin and Rosneft were effectively cut off from Western banks, and there was no easy way for Sechin to roll over $7 billion of foreign currency-denominated deal loans that were coming due in December. So Sechin got backing from Russia's central bank and orchestrated a bond sale to raise rubles.

Rosneft placed $10.8 billion worth of ruble-denominated bonds in December, carrying rates below yields on similarly dated Russian government bonds. It was a mysterious transaction with almost no disclosures to date. The Russian central bank said it would accept the bonds as collateral from Russian banks seeking to borrow at preferential rates, essentially providing commercial banks a window of liquidity. No bond buyers were ever disclosed, and it's not yet clear how much money was raised. Rosneft has yet to make significant disclosures, and now Sechin has taken the position that "the ruble bond option was not exercised."

Still the murky bond issue took market players by surprise, causing speculation that Rosneft would sell the rubles it had just raised in the open market to buy up U.S. dollars to pay back its debt. The ruble plunged to record lows in response, even while oil prices appeared to be firming up.

"There was suspicion that those rubles could go to the foreign exchange market," says Sergey Romanchuk, head of forex at Metallinvestbank in Moscow. "This trade was like a trigger because people were scared that this would be a new instrument that would be used for other companies."

Len Blavatnik
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Putin's critics called the Rosneft bond issue a bailout. Sechin described the attack as a "provocation." Rosneft went on record stating that not a single ruble raised in the bond issue would be used to buy foreign currencies. Its revenues mostly come from exports denominated in foreign currencies, and in a statement Rosneft says it "generates enough cash flow in foreign currencies in order to meet its loan repayment obligations." Where were the rubles going? Rosneft would only say the proceeds would be used for "financing its project in the Russian Federation."

Few dispute Rosneft's role in roiling the already skittish global market for rubles. At 19% of Russia's $2 trillion GDP, oil is Russia's biggest cash cow, and oil exports are heavily taxed. At $100 an exported barrel, some $70 would go to the government. At $50 a barrel, about $22. Rosneft presumably hoarded foreign currency this fall to make its debt payments. Industry analysts assert that it would have likely withheld dollars from the currency market that Rosneft would normally have used to purchase rubles to meet its tax obligations. Rosneft also has a big cap-ex program in Russia funded by rubles. "They were using the proceeds of the bond issue to cover their ruble costs," says Kirill Tachennikov, an analyst at BCS Financial.

Rosneft repaid its $7 billion loan in late December. A few days later the Russian government directed Russia's big exporters to support the ruble in currency markets. Rosneft may have complied, but with about $20 billion of debt coming due in 2015 (mostly in dollars and euros) and capital expenditure plans of $20 billion, Rosneft has a $40 billion headache that worsens with every tick down in the price of oil. According to its financial statements, Rosneft has $20 billion or so in cash and is on record asking the Russian government to tap its National Wellbeing Fund for assistance. Sechin wants help from Putin, but another bond bailout would be disastrous for the ruble.
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nathan document

Screenshot of 2013 transfer by Rosneft of $27,778,900,132.16 to account controlled by four Russian billionaires (Click to enlarge)

Russia's economy may be sinking into crisis, but flush billionaires Fridman, Khan, Vekselberg and Blavatnik have shown few signs of rushing to Mother Russia's aid with significant investments or capital expenditures despite pleas from Putin.

Fridman, 50, Russia's third-richest man, collected $5.1 billion from the TNK-BP deal. His college buddy Khan, 53, got $3.3 billion. The duo set up a Luxembourg company, LetterOne, with the TNK-BP cash and are trying to buy an oil and gas unit of a German utility for $6 billion. Says a spokesperson, "We are committed to reinvesting a significant portion of the proceeds in Russia and hope to identify attractive opportunities in the near future."

Ukraine-born Blavatnik, a U.S. citizen since 1984 and worth $18 billion, reaped $7 billion from the TNK-BP sale. His biggest assets: a stake in Houston chemicals producer LyondellBasell and Warner Music. In 2014 he celebrated his Rosneft triumph by purchasing Damien Hirst's gilded sculpture of a woolly mammoth for $14 million. Blavatnik declined to comment.

Vekselberg, 57, known for his art collection, including a new museum in St. Petersburg featuring his Fabergé eggs, is now Russia's second richest, worth $14 billion. He reaped $7 billion from the deal and used some of it to buy into Schmolz+Bickenbach, a Swiss steel company. "Most of the money Renova [Vekselberg] received from the deal was invested in Russia," insists spokesperson Andrey Shtorkh.

Putin is standing by his man Sechin, despite the 50% decline (in U.S. dollars) in Rosneft's stock price during 2014. He is a "good manager," says Putin. BP, which still owns 20% of Rosneft, is bracing itself for a fourth-quarter earnings hit and may be forced to write down its Rosneft equity.

"The TNK-BP deal has been an expensive decision [for Russia]," says Sergei Guriev, a Russian economist who fled to France in 2013. "TNK's owners did a very good deal."

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