Alleged Whistleblower Tells FBI Russian State-Owned Bank Underwrote Trump Loans
“Whether by happenstance or by design Trump’s loans became underwritten by Russia’s own VTB. I informed the FBI of this in 2019.”
Val Broeksmit does not fit the profile of a whistleblower. He was not Army Intelligence like Chelsea Manning, nor a contractor for the National Security Agency like Edward Snowden. Instead, Broeksmit is “an unemployed rock musician with a history of opioid abuse and credit card theft,” according to a recent New York Times profile of Broeksmit by David Enrich. Yet Broeksmit had information both the FBI and NYT were keen to acquire: financial records supposedly linking US President Donald Trump to VTB Bank, a Russian state-owned firm.
Now, in a recent article by Forensic News, Broeksmit went on record sharing what information and records he gave to federal investigators.
Speculation on a connection, perhaps even kompromat – Russian for compromising material – between Moscow and President Trump has plagued the controversial president throughout his presidency. His eagerness to rekindle relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin while shunning NATO allies, now-scrapped plans to build a Trump tower in Moscow, and attempt to blame Ukraine for election interference despite overwhelming evidence pointing to Russia have all raised eyebrows. None of it was in line with typical behavior for an American president.
Although fragments of a possible story were there – depositions and documents acquired through the special counsel investigation among them, – hard evidence connecting Trump to Moscow was difficult to sort out and even harder to acquire. A businessman for 5 decades, Trump’s financial records and associations are understandably complex and sometimes unobtainable, such as tax records he has litigated to keep secret.
Enter Val Broeksmit, the son of a former senior executive at Deutsche Bank. Broeksmit entered the scene hoping to fill some of the information gaps surrounding the president’s financial history and, according to the Broeksmit’s New York Times profile, allegedly aspiring to become famous off it.
Deutsche Bank: History of Money Laundering
In February 2019, Broeksmit accepted an FBI invitation for a meeting. Five years prior, Broeksmit had attained a trove of Deutsche Bank emails and files from his deceased father, William Broeksmit, who had retired shortly before committing suicide in January 2014. The bank had already been in the crosshairs of investigators and journalists alike for two decades of unethical and illegal activity including the Libor interest rate-fixing scandal, corporate espionage, tax evasion, the US subprime mortgage crisis, and even Jeffrey Epstein, to highlight a few.
Laundering Russian money would not be out of character for Deutsche Bank – it was fined $425 million in New York State in 2017 alongside a $204 million fine in Britain for laundering $10 billion. Since 2013 alone, the bank has been fined “more than $18 billion,” Nicholas Comfort calculated for Bloomberg.
After his father hanged himself, Broeksmit began a personal vendetta against the bank, Forensic News reported. He blamed his father’s suicide on stress and guild acquired during his participation in the illegal ongoings at Deutsche Bank. His father had left behind “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,” Enrich wrote in his profile of Broeksmit for the NY Times.
After two years of sifting through the files and correspondence of his late father, occasionally leaking some bits to Enrich, Broeksmit decided to contact the FBI.
“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,” Broeksmit wrote in an email to the Department of Justice obtained by Forensic News.
The FBI arraigned a meeting and ulimately gave him an official role in its investigation and pledged to keep him abreast of it. In a separate event, he also met with Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who was investigating links between Deutsche Bank and the president. Schiff was forced to subpoena the Deutsche Bank records when Broeksmit insisted upon being retained as a consultant for the investigation.
Broeksmit confirmed to Forensic News that he shared information on money laundering between VTB, which is under US and EU sanctions, and Deutsche Bank.
His full statement to Forensic News reads:
“The Russian state bank VTB underwrote loans to Donald Trump via Deutsche Bank. Over the course of Trump’s relationship with DB, an inordinate amount of questionable, mismanaged & risky loans approved by Deutsche Bank to Trump required his Personal Guarantee which, over time, also lost its value.
Trump’s team at DB sought out creative ways to circumvent the varied protections DB’s compliance team institutionally implemented, & whether by happenstance or by design Trump’s loans became underwritten by Russia’s own VTB.
I informed the FBI of this in 2019.”
VTB was Set to Finance Trump Tower Moscow
Broeksmit did not provide access to all the documents to Forensic News, so it was unable to verify the accuracy of the allegations. However, Forensic News did “confirm that at least some of Trump’s loans were issued by a bank subsidiary with business ties to VTB.”
VTB Bank was set to be the financier of Trump Tower Moscow, according to Michael Cohen, former personal attorney for the president. The special counsel investigation confirmed evidence of a deal in the works from an email between Cohen and Felix Sater, former Vice President of the Trump Organization.
“Invitations & Visas will be issued this week by VTB Bank to discuss financing for Trump Tower Moscow,” Sater wrote to Cohen.
Furthermore, Trump received a total of $2 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank and at least $125 million through a separate division, DBTCA. Deutsche Bank was already under investigation for money laundering when it decided to grant the loans to Trump and Broeksmit shared evidence that VTB frequently funneled money to and from DBTCA.
Enrich’s story that brought Broeksmit to the forefront of discussions involving Trump, Russia, and Deutsche Bank was questioned due to the informant’s drug use and personal history. However, Enrich said he endured Broeksmit’s eccentric personality and Hollywood ambition, “Because his trove of corporate emails, financial materials, boardroom presentations and legal reports is credible — even if he is not.”
The documents provided to Enrich and the FBI, some of which have been made public, paint at best a murky picture of Trump’s financial dealings with the German bank and Russian institutions, at worst they implicate the president in a money-laundering scheme.
Another fine for Deutsche Bank would be routine at this point in its history, but charging the American leader would be unprecedented. Should he lose the office in 2020, he would lose the perceived immunity that comes with it. Special Counsel Robert Mueller neglected to charge the sitting president, citing institutional policy. Civilian Trump would not enjoy such a luxury and many of the investigations surrounding Deutsche Bank are sure to linger for another year.