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No, There Isn’t Evidence That Trump Owes Money to Russia

  • October 17, 2020

One conspiracy theory is that Deutsche Bank agreed to make the loans because they were backstopped by Russians — the Kremlin or a state-owned bank or an oligarch. If Mr. Trump were to default, it would be the Russians, not Deutsche Bank, on the hook for the losses.

Another, related claim is that after Deutsche Bank made the loans, it sold chunks of them to Russians. It is common for large loans to be syndicated or securitized — in other words, chopped up and sold to investors. In the late 1990s through the mid-2000s, Deutsche Bank did this with some of its large loans to Mr. Trump.

Under this theory, the president would owe the money to Russians, not the German bank.

There is a certain logic to this. Russians interfered on Mr. Trump’s behalf in the 2016 election. Deutsche Bank is the only mainstream financial institution that’s been consistently willing to do business with Mr. Trump. And Deutsche Bank for decades has had close ties to Russia and has facilitated money laundering for wealthy Russians.

But the theories don’t hold up.

Deutsche Bank didn’t chop up and sell the latest batch of debt — the only portion that is still outstanding, according to bank officials with direct knowledge of the transactions. The loans remain on Deutsche Bank’s books.

It is true that Deutsche Bank was willing to lend to Mr. Trump when few others would. But there is an explanation. To overcome the bank’s wariness, Mr. Trump agreed to personally guarantee most of the debt on all of the loans. That meant that if he defaulted, Deutsche Bank could seize his personal assets, as The Times has previously reported.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/technology/no-there-isnt-evidence-that-trump-owes-money-to-russia.html

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