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Deutsche Bank executive testifies in Trump's civil fraud trial

Published Nov 28, 2023 03:11PM ET
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In the ongoing civil fraud trial involving former President Donald Trump, a Deutsche Bank executive has provided testimony that could influence the case's outcome. David Williams, a managing director at Deutsche Bank, testified today about the bank's lending practices and adherence to guidelines when issuing loans to Trump's company for projects in Florida, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

Williams confirmed that while the bank relied on financial statements provided by borrowers, it was common to make conservative internal adjustments. This practice, often referred to as a "stress test," sometimes involved valuing Trump's net worth at $1 billion less than he stated. These adjustments were part of a routine process to ensure the bank's protection against potential financial risks.

The testimony comes against the backdrop of accusations from New York Attorney General Letitia James, who alleges that Trump's company inflated asset values on financial statements used to secure loans and insurance policies. Retired Deutsche Bank executive Nicholas Haigh previously corroborated this conservative approach, mentioning "sanity checks" performed on borrower-provided figures.

Judge Arthur Engoron, overseeing the trial, has previously ruled on instances of fraud by Trump and others involved. The trial continues to address remaining allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records, and is being conducted without a jury.

Trump, who is the Republican front-runner for the 2024 presidential election, has dismissed the lawsuit as politically driven by Democrat Letitia James. He contends that any misrepresentations on financial statements were unintentional and that lenders bear the responsibility for independently verifying the information provided.

The defense has highlighted Deutsche Bank's consistent application of its verification policy in its dealings with Trump. The bank's loans came with favorable interest rates through a division catering to wealthy clients, with conditions on net worth and liquidity, and required annual financial statements.

As the trial progresses, Attorney General James is seeking punitive actions, including fines exceeding $300 million and a potential ban on Trump conducting business in New York. An appellate court has temporarily frozen a pretrial order that placed some of Trump's assets under receiver control, pending further legal proceedings.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

Deutsche Bank executive testifies in Trump's civil fraud trial

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