Wednesday, December 06, 2017
If anyone was going to be the Forrest Gump of the Russia investigation, we're lucky it was Guardian reporter Luke Harding. ... Now Harding has incorporated those stories, along with other relevant experiences -- such as the time the FSB broke into his home in Moscow, presumably to bug it, and left a book on sex and relationships on his bedside table -- into a book, Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money and How Russian Helped Donald Trump Win. Among its most interesting chapters is one relating to Tuesday's news that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Trump's records with Deutsche Bank. In Collusion, Harding details Trump's attempts in 2008 to default on some $330 million he owed Deutsche Bank for its help financing the construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. The bank sued to force Trump to pay a portion of the debt: $40 million plus legal fees and interest.
This was the middle of the financial crisis, a fact Trump tried to leverage in court, arguing he should not have to repay money he owed Deutsche Bank because it was "one of the banks primarily responsible for the economic dysfunction we are currently facing."
In fact, Trump went on, because of the bank's role in creating this "once-in-a-century credit tsunami," Deutsche Bank owed him money, to the tune of $3 billion in damages.
Trump's case, of course, was thrown out. But that's where this story gets interesting: After a judge ordered Trump to repay the money he owed Deutsche Bank, Trump did it using money he borrowed from ... Deutsche Bank.
He paid the bank's real estate division back with money borrowed from its personal wealth division.
"The decision to keep lending to Trump was unusual, bizarre even. Deutsche Bank employees in New York were surprised. Asked whether it was normal to give money to a customer who was a bad credit risk and a litigant, one former senior Deutsche Bank staff member said: 'Are you --- kidding me?'"
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