Tuesday, an executive of Deutsche Bank AG confirmed what former President Donald Trump has long maintained concerning the fraud lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James: Absent were any victims.
James’ civil lawsuit is founded on the allegation that the Trump Organization obtained business loans by defrauding banks such as Deutsche through the overvaluation of its properties.
Bloomberg reported that the lawsuit filed by the AG alleges the company inflated the value of its properties by up to $3.6 billion in order to secure more favorable loan terms.
The New York state government is pursuing a judicial order prohibiting the Trump Organization from conducting business within the state and $250 million in penalties.
“Is the bank capable of reaching its own judgment based on the evaluation it makes of the guarantor’s financial condition?” Trump attorney Jesus Suarez asked David Williams, a managing director at the German bank who worked on at least three loans for the Trump Organization.
“Certainly, yes,” he responded.
As Suarez continued to question Williams, the witness stated that Deutsche consistently evaluates the financial statements of a potential client and modifies the valuation of the organization in accordance with the bank’s subjective assessment.
“As part of our due diligence, we subject a client’s asset value to adjustments,” Williams said. “It’s part of our underwriting process. We apply it to every client regardless of what’s reported.”
“Is a difference of opinion in asset values between the client and the bank a disqualifying factor to extend credit?” Suarez asked Williams.
“No,” he replied.
“It’s just a difference of opinion. … I think we expect clients to provide information to be accurate.” But Williams added that such financial statements are made “largely relying on the use of estimates.”
Trump informed reporters earlier this month, prior to his testimony, that the financial statements of his organization were “very conservative” and that “therefore, no fraud.”
Additionally, the 45th president elaborated that his property valuations include a “substantial disclaimer clause” that advises prospective lenders to conduct their own research in order to ascertain the estimated value of the assets.
After testifying, Trump said, “There’s no case here. There are no victims. The banks aren’t a victim. The insurance companies aren’t a victim. Everybody got paid.”
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy agreed with Trump, writing, “First, if there were proof that Trump had ripped banks off in this manner and to this extent, this would have been a huge criminal case that no prosecutor’s office would pass up — certainly not the famously aggressive feds in the Southern District of New York (where I worked for two decades).”
He continued, “and certainly not the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, which twice litigated all the way to the Supreme Court to get Trump’s financial records, and which was not too embarrassed to bring a ludicrous indictment over the comparative chump change ($130,000) in hush-money Trump paid to a porn star.”
McCarthy went on to argue, as Trump has, that “banks in high-end lending are sophisticated financial actors who do not take the debtor’s word for it when it comes to valuing assets — they have entire departments of experienced appraisers assessing values.”
Subsequently, he maintained that the banks had not been duped into extending loans to the Trump Organization.
McCarthy noted that “there is no evidence that the banks would have charged a higher interest rate,” which further censured the case despite the potential overvaluation of Trump’s properties.
The individual elaborated that the banks establish the conditions of their loans by considering various factors, including Trump’s track record of timely repayment, their ability to secure alternative financing should the interest rates prove excessively high, and the profit motive inherent in the loan-making industry.
????Donald Trump speaks before headed into court for his New York civil trial pic.twitter.com/w9G6UUCVvv— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) October 17, 2023
Following the conclusion of Williams’ testimony, Trump attorney Christopher Kise petitioned Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron for an immediate directed verdict in favor of his client. Kise contended that the testimony provided by the Deutsche Bank executive disproved James’ assertion that the bank’s loan to the Trump Organization was materially influenced by the allegedly inflated property values.
“The bank had no problem with a $2 billion difference, a $3 billion difference — large changes to net worth are not unusual,” Kise said, according to Bloomberg. “There’s been no demonstration of any materiality issues at all.”
In his reply, Engoron stated that he would deliberate on Kise’s request at a later time, but he implied that his conclusion would likely be unfavorable to Trump.
“The mere fact that lenders were happy doesn’t mean the statute wasn’t violated,” the judge said.
Ahead of a trial, in September, Engoron rendered a decision by summary judgment that alleged fraud against lenders and insurers on the part of Trump and the Trump Organization through the inflation of property values. As of now, the judge is conducting a non-jury trial in order to determine the appropriate penalties to be imposed.
Undoubtedly, the inception of this case would have been averted had it not been for Trump’s 2024 presidential campaign. James intends to increase her visibility and harm the leading candidate for the Republican nomination.
The lawsuit ought to be promptly dismissed with prejudice, thereby precluding any further initiation of proceedings.