US arrests banker for Trump administration job bribe | News | DW | 23.05.2019
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US arrests banker for Trump administration job bribe

The head of a bank is accused of approving loans in exchange for a job in the White House. Although he failed to get one, he was placed on a "prestigious" committee tied to Trump's campaign, prosecutors said.

US authorities on Thursday arrested Federal Savings Bank CEO Stephen Calk for financial institution bribery.

Federal prosecutors accused Calk of approving $16 million (€14 million) of risky loans for Paul Manafort, a disgraced manager of US President Donald Trump's 2016 electoral campaign, in exchange for a top position in the administration.

While waiting to approve the loans, Calk sent Manafort a ranked list of positions he wanted. The list included senior roles such as secretary of the treasury, secretary of defense and secretary of commerce. It also contained 19 ambassadorships, including one for Germany.

Calk "went to great lengths to avoid banking violations in an attempt to secure a senior position in a presidential administration," said William Sweeney Jr., who heads the FBI's New York office. "His attempt at petitioning for political favors was unsuccessful in more ways than one — he didn't get the job he wanted, and he compromised the one he had."

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Paul Manafort

Paul Manafort was a campaign manager for Donald Trump's 2016 election bid. He is serving 7 1/2 years in prison for banking and tax fraud.

Pay to play

Calk was formally interviewed for the post of undersecretary of the US Army in January 2017. According to prosecutors, he was not selected for the role.

However, prosecutors said he was appointed to a "prestigious economic advisory committee" linked to the US president's campaign.

Calk's lawyer said his client "has done nothing wrong" and plans to fight the charges in court. Calk faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison if he is found guilty.

The Federal Savings Bank in Chicago said it has been defrauded and was "not a party to the federal criminal case."

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ls/jm (Reuters, AP)

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