Bank VP: CEO pushed Manafort loans despite faulty application

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Aug. 14 (UPI) — A banker who approved $16 million in loans for Paul Manafort said Monday he wouldn’t have done so if the bank’s CEO hadn’t pressured him, during testimony on Day 10 of the former Trump campaign chairman’s bank fraud trial.

Federal Savings Bank Vice President Jim Brennan said he knew Manafort lied about his finances when applying for the loans and he shouldn’t have given one $6.5 million loan a rating of 4. A rating of 1 is considered the highest, most stable loan, while ratings less than 4 wouldn’t be approved.

“If I had my recommendation … the loan would not be made,” said.

CEO Stephen Calk pushed through the loans, Brennan said. Testimony last week indicated Calk was seeking a position within the Trump administration.

The defense said Manafort didn’t fill out the loan applications, which incorrectly listed his company’s profit at $4.4 million in 2015 even though multiple witnesses testified it made less than $400,000 the same year. Brennan also said Manafort left off mortgages on two New York properties on the application.

Manafort is charged with bank fraud, conspiracy, preparing false tax returns and failing to disclose foreign income. The indictment says he and business associate Rick Gates moved money from Ukraine through foreign bank accounts to conceal it from the Internal Revenue Service.

Brennan was one of 27 witnesses the prosecution called before resting its case Monday. It’s unclear whether the defense planned to call its own witnesses.

The prosecution also recalled Treasury Department senior special agent Paula Liss, who testified there was no evidence Manafort’s companies filed reports with the U.S. government about foreign bank accounts.

Gates pleaded guilty in February and agreed to cooperate with the Mueller investigation on “all matters” they deem relevant. A judge said Gates faces between 57 and 71 months in prison for his offenses, though his sentence depends on the extent to which he cooperates with investigators.


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