Politics

Bank CEO Charged With Trying To Bribe His Way Into Trump Administration Role

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Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
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The CEO of an Illinois bank has been charged with trying to bribe his way into a position in the Trump administration by giving millions of dollars in loans to Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman.

Stephen Calk, the CEO of Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, approved $16 million dollars in loans to Manafort, according to an indictment handed down Thursday.

Manafort has been convicted and sentenced to prison for various crimes related to consulting work he did in Ukraine.

Prosecutors say that from July 2016 to January 2017, Calk pushed through the loans knowing that Manafort had a spotty financial history and that he planned to use proceeds from the loan to pay off properties he had that were in foreclosure. (RELATED: Paul Manafort Found Guilty On Eight Counts Of Bank And Tax Fraud)

“In approving these loans to the Borrower, CALK was aware of significant red flags regarding the Borrower’s ability to repay the loans, such as his history of defaulting on prior loans,” prosecutors said.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks at supporters before boarding Air Force One after addressing a Trump 2020 re-election campaign rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump looks at supporters before boarding Air Force One after addressing a Trump 2020 re-election campaign rally in Montoursville, Pennsylvania, U.S. May 20, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria.

In order to avoid violating limitations on the size of loans to individual borrowers, Calk used a bank holding company to acquire part of the loan.

“Specifically, CALK offered to, and did, cause the Bank and Holding Company to extend $16 million in loans to the Borrower in exchange for the Borrower’s requested assistance in obtaining a high-level position in the presidential administration,” prosecutors said in a statement announcing the indictment.

In exchange for the loans, Calk sought senior positions in the Trump campaign and administration.

In Summer 2016, just after Calk’s bank conditionally approved a $9.5 million loan to Manafort, he was appointed to an economic advisory position on the Trump campaign.

After Donald Trump was elected, Calk provided Manafort with a list of positions he sought in the administration. His most desired position was secretary of the Treasury, followed by deputy of the agency, secretary of Commerce, secretary of Defense, and 19 ambassadorships, prosecutors said.

After Trump took office, Manafort was able to get Calk an interview for a position as secretary of the Army, though he was ultimately not selected.

Calk is charged with one count of financial institution bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. It is not clear whether Manafort cooperated with prosecutors on the case. It is also unclear whether Calk’s case is one of the 14 ongoing cases mentioned in the special counsel’s report. The report redacted information about the cases.

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