Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1109 Deutsche Bank, “Suicides,” The Supreme Court and Team Trump (Send in The Clowns, Part 2)

WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE.

You can sub­scribe to e‑mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to the com­ments made on pro­grams and posts–an excel­lent source of infor­ma­tion in, and of, itself, HERE.

Mr. Emory’s entire life’s work is avail­able on a 32GB flash dri­ve, avail­able for a con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more (to KFJC). Click Here to obtain Dav­e’s 40+ years’ work.

Please con­sid­er sup­port­ing THE WORK DAVE EMORY DOES.

This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

“A friv­o­lous soci­ety can only achieve dra­mat­ic sig­nif­i­cance through what it’s friv­o­li­ty destroys”–Edith Whar­ton

Intro­duc­tion: While the pub­lic’s atten­tion is focused on the impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings, high­ly sus­pi­cious infor­ma­tion has sur­faced involv­ing the finances of “Team Trump,” Deutsche Bank, osten­si­ble “sui­cides,” and appar­ent destruc­tion of finan­cial records.

With the fail­ure of a Trump fil­ing in appeals court, this con­cate­na­tion appears to be head­ed to the Supreme Court, where both Neil Gor­such and Brett Kavanaugh clerked for for­mer Jus­tice Antho­ny Kennedy. (Kavanaugh took Kennedy’s seat.) 

Dur­ing the con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings of both judges, none of the occu­pants of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­to­r­i­al Clown Car brought up the fact that Jus­tice Kennedy’s son Justin was in charge of Deutsche Bank’s real estate lend­ing depart­ment when the insti­tu­tion was Trump’s only lender. Justin Kennedy also had strong pro­fes­sion­al trans­ac­tions with Jared Kush­n­er’s real estate oper­a­tions, as well.

Thomas Bowers–a key Deutsche Bank offi­cial involved with Don­ald Trump’s deal­ings with the bank–alleged­ly com­mit­ted sui­cide in late Novem­ber of 2019, as “The Don­ald” attempt­ed to keep his finan­cial records from Con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors. ” Thomas Bow­ers, iden­ti­fied as a for­mer Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive who signed off on con­tro­ver­sial loans to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, died last week after appar­ent­ly tak­ing his own life at 55.. . . . ‘One source who has direct knowl­edge of the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion into Deutsche Bank said that fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors have asked about Bow­ers and doc­u­ments he might have. Anoth­er source who has knowl­edge of Deutsche Bank’s inter­nal struc­ture said that Bow­ers would have been the gate­keep­er for finan­cial doc­u­ments for the bank’s wealth­i­est cus­tomers.’ . . . .”

In addi­tion to Mr. Bow­ers, a Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive named William Broeksmit alleged­ly com­mit­ted sui­cide in 2014. His son, Val, has giv­en the FBI doc­u­ments involv­ing the bank’s deal­ings with Team Trump. “Fed­er­al author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing whether Deutsche Bank com­plied with laws meant to stop mon­ey laun­der­ing and oth­er crimes, the lat­est gov­ern­ment exam­i­na­tion of poten­tial mis­con­duct at one of the world’s largest and most trou­bled banks . . . . The inves­ti­ga­tion includes a review of Deutsche Bank’s han­dling of so-called sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty reports that its employ­ees pre­pared about pos­si­bly prob­lem­at­ic trans­ac­tions, includ­ing some linked to Pres­i­dent Trump’s son-in-law and senior advis­er, Jared Kush­n­er . . . . The same fed­er­al agent who con­tact­ed Ms. McFadden’s lawyer also par­tic­i­pat­ed in inter­views of the son of a deceased Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive, William S. Broeksmit. . . . . . . . F.B.I. agents met this year with Val Broeksmit, whose father was a senior Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive who com­mit­ted sui­cide in Jan­u­ary 2014. Mr. Broeksmit said he had pro­vid­ed the agents with inter­nal bank doc­u­ments and oth­er mate­ri­als that he had retrieved from his father’s per­son­al email accounts. . . .”

Irreg­u­lar­i­ties sug­gest­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing also involved Deutsche Bank deal­ings with Jared Kush­n­er, Trump’s son-in-law. The bank ignored its employ­ees’ requests to rile reports with the gov­ern­ment. ” . . . . Anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing spe­cial­ists at Deutsche Bank rec­om­mend­ed in 2016 and 2017 that mul­ti­ple trans­ac­tions involv­ing legal enti­ties con­trolled by Don­ald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kush­n­er, be report­ed to a fed­er­al finan­cial-crimes watch­dog. . . . .But exec­u­tives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent bil­lions of dol­lars to the Trump and Kush­n­er com­pa­nies, reject­ed their employ­ees’ advice. The reports were nev­er filed with the gov­ern­ment. . . .”

In addi­tion to pos­si­ble mon­ey-laun­der­ing trans­ac­tions involv­ing Trump and Kush­n­er, Deutsche Bank lent Kush­n­er $285 mil­lion the day before elec­tion day, a for­tu­itous move that allowed Kush­n­er to net $74 mil­lion on a real estate invest­ment. ” . . . . One month before Elec­tion Day, Jared Kushner’s real estate com­pa­ny final­ized a $285 mil­lion loan as part of a refi­nanc­ing pack­age for its prop­er­ty near Times Square in Man­hat­tan . . . . . . . The Deutsche Bank loan capped what Kush­n­er Cos. viewed as a tri­umph: It had pur­chased four most­ly emp­ty retail floors of the for­mer New York Times build­ing in 2015, recruit­ed ten­ants to fill the space and got the Deutsche Bank loan in a refi­nanc­ing deal that gave Kushner’s com­pa­ny $74 mil­lion more than it paid for the prop­er­ty. . . .”

Deutsche Bank does not have Trump’s tax returns, some­thing flagged by the insti­tu­tion’s employ­ees as unusu­al. Note that Deutsche Bank pre­vi­ouslh said in a let­ter to the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sec­ond Cir­cuit in New York that they had tax returns for two mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly! That changed, quick­ly! If inves­ti­ga­tors are going to get their hands on Pres­i­dent Trump’s tax returns, they will have to find them some­where oth­er than Deutsche Bank. The Ger­man bank — which for near­ly two decades was the only main­stream finan­cial insti­tu­tion con­sis­tent­ly will­ing to lend mon­ey to Mr. Trump . . . Last month, The New York Times and oth­er media out­lets asked the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sec­ond Cir­cuit in New York to unseal a let­ter from Deutsche Bank that iden­ti­fied two mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly whose tax returns the bank pos­sess­es. On Thurs­day, the court reject­ed the request. Part of the rea­son, it said, was that Deutsche Bank had informed the court that ‘the only tax returns it has for indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties named in the sub­poe­nas are not those of the pres­i­dent.’ Cur­rent and for­mer bank offi­cials pre­vi­ous­ly told The Times that Deutsche Bank had por­tions of Mr. Trump’s per­son­al and cor­po­rate tax returns. . . .”

An unnamed Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive not­ed in an e‑mail to the afore­men­tioned David Enrich that this was high­ly unusu­al, and the bank may have destroyed the doc­u­ments and cleansed their servers: ” . . . . David Enrich, finance edi­tor at The New York Times, post­ed to Twit­ter a screen­shot of his con­ver­sa­tion with the unnamed exec­u­tive in which they expressed sur­prise that Deutsche told a fed­er­al appeals court it did not have the president’s tax returns any­more. ‘Holy f**k,’ the exec­u­tive wrote, per the screen­shot. ‘The cir­cum­stance could be that they returned any phys­i­cal copies or destroyed any phys­i­cal copies under an agree­ment with a client and cleansed their servers. Not nor­mal though.’ . . . . ”

A dis­turb­ing per­spec­tive on the alleged “sui­cide” of Thomas Bow­ers, who was in charge of Trump’s deal­ings with the bank, as well as the alleged “sui­cide” of William Broeksmit is pro­vid­ed by an argu­ment voiced by Trump attor­ney William Consovoy in a hear­ing at the Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court of Appeals: ” . . . . [Judge] Dunne brought up Trump’s famous state­ment when he caught fire dur­ing the 2016 Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, say­ing, ‘I could stand in the mid­dle of 5th Avenue and shoot some­body and I wouldn’t lose any vot­ers.’ ‘If he did pull out a hand­gun and shoot some­one on Fifth Ave,’ Dunne asked, ‘would the local police be restrained?‘Judge Chin raised Dunne’s point. He asked Consovoy for his ‘view on the Fifth Avenue exam­ple.’ ‘Local author­i­ties couldn’t inves­ti­gate, they couldn’t do any­thing about it?’ he asked. ‘No,’ replied a vis­i­bly annoyed Consovoy amid sti­fled chor­tles. ‘Noth­ing could be done? That’s your posi­tion?’ Chin repeat­ed. ‘That is cor­rect, that is cor­rect,’ Consovoy respond­ed . . . .”

It now appears that the Deutsche Bank case will be heard by the Supreme Court. There are already two sim­i­lar cas­es on their way to the court. It will be more than a lit­tle inter­est­ing to see how the SCOTUS rules, and how Judges Gor­such and Kavanaugh per­form in the case. ” . . . . A fed­er­al appeals court said Tues­day that Deutsche Bank must turn over detailed doc­u­ments about Pres­i­dent Trump’s finances to two con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees, a rul­ing that will most like­ly be appealed to the Supreme Court. . . . Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees issued sub­poe­nas to two banks — Deutsche Bank, long Mr. Trump’s biggest lender, and Cap­i­tal One — this year for finan­cial records relat­ed to the pres­i­dent, his com­pa­nies and his fam­i­ly. Mr. Trump sued the banks to block them from com­ply­ing . . . . Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Jay Seku­low, said in a state­ment that ‘we are eval­u­at­ing our next options includ­ing seek­ing review at the Supreme Court of the Unit­ed States.’ He called the con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­nas ‘invalid as issued.’ . . . .”

When the Sen­ate hear­ings for Gor­such and Kavanaugh were held, none of the Sen­a­tors ques­tioned the nom­i­nees about some crit­i­cal rela­tion­ships:

Antho­ny Kennedy’s son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank. Fur­ther­more, jurists who clerked for Antho­ny Kennedy fig­ure promi­nent­ly in Trump’s judi­cial appoint­ments:

  1. ” . . . . He [Trump] picked Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such, who had served as a law clerk to Jus­tice Kennedy, to fill Jus­tice Scalia’s seat. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Then, after Jus­tice Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion was announced, a White House offi­cial sin­gled out two can­di­dates for the next Supreme Court vacan­cy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit and Judge Ray­mond M. Keth­ledge of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit, in Cincin­nati. The two judges had some­thing in com­mon: They had both clerked for Jus­tice Kennedy. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . In the mean­time, as the White House turned to stock­ing the low­er courts, it did not over­look Jus­tice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed three of them to fed­er­al appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scud­der, both of whom have been con­firmed, and Eric Mur­phy, the Ohio solic­i­tor gen­er­al, whom Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed to the Sixth Cir­cuit this month. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Jus­tice Kennedy’s son, Justin . . . . spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, even­tu­al­ly ris­ing to become the bank’s glob­al head of real estate cap­i­tal mar­kets, and he worked close­ly with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate devel­op­er, accord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of his role. Dur­ing Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most impor­tant lender, dis­pens­ing well over $1 bil­lion in loans to him for the ren­o­va­tion and con­struc­tion of sky­scrap­ers in New York and Chica­go at a time oth­er main­stream banks were wary of doing busi­ness with him because of his trou­bled busi­ness his­to­ry. . . .”

The Justin Kennedy/Trump fam­i­ly rela­tion­ship does not end there: After Kennedy left Deutsche Bank in 2009 he went on to become co-CEO LNR Prop­er­ty LLC. LNR Prop­er­ty saved Jared Kushner’s mid­town Man­hat­tan prop­er­ty in 2011:

  1. ” . . . . from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Prop­er­ty LLC with Tobin Cobb. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Accord­ing the New York Times, in 2007 Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies pur­chased ‘an alu­minum-clad office tow­er in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, for a record price of $1.8 bil­lion.’ At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was ‘con­sid­ered a clas­sic exam­ple of reck­less under­writ­ing. The trans­ac­tion was so high­ly lever­aged that the cash flow from rents amount­ed to only 65 per­cent of the debt ser­vice.’ . . .”
  3.  ” . . . Who came to the res­cue? None oth­er than LNR Prop­er­ty, the com­pa­ny whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. Accord­ing to the NYT and the Real Deal, Mr. Kush­n­er and LNR ‘reached a pos­si­ble agree­ment with LNR Prop­er­ty, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in restruc­tur­ing trou­bled debt and which over­sees the mort­gage, that would allow him to retain con­trol of the tow­er by mod­i­fy­ing the terms of the $1.2 bil­lion mort­gage tied to the office por­tion of the build­ing.’ . . .”

Last time we checked, Deutsche Bank was not a Russ­ian bank. The pro­gram con­cludes with review of infor­ma­tion from Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 205.

. . . . The [FBI] file [on Mar­tin Bor­mann] revealed that he had been bank­ing under his own name from his office in Ger­many in Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires since 1941; that he held one joint account with the Argen­tin­ian dic­ta­tor Juan Per­on, and on August 4, 5 and 14, 1967, had writ­ten checks on demand accounts in first Nation­al City Bank (Over­seas Divi­sion) of New York, The Chase Man­hat­tan Bank, and Man­u­fac­tur­ers Hanover Trust Co., all cleared through Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires. . . .

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dis­cus­sion of the alleged “sui­cide” of Calogero Gam­bi­no, a Deutsche Bank attor­ney; the fact that Antho­ny Kennedy only agreed to resign after he was assured that Brett Kavanaugh would be named as his replace­ment.

1a. Thomas Bowers–a key Deutsche Bank offi­cial involved with Don­ald Trump’s deal­ings with the bank–allegedly com­mit­ted sui­cide in late Novem­ber of 2019, as “The Don­ald” attempt­ed to keep his finan­cial records from Con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors. ” Thomas Bow­ers, iden­ti­fied as a for­mer Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive who signed off on con­tro­ver­sial loans to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, died last week after appar­ent­ly tak­ing his own life at 55.. . . . ‘One source who has direct knowl­edge of the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion into Deutsche Bank said that fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors have asked about Bow­ers and doc­u­ments he might have. Anoth­er source who has knowl­edge of Deutsche Bank’s inter­nal struc­ture said that Bow­ers would have been the gate­keep­er for finan­cial doc­u­ments for the bank’s wealth­i­est cus­tomers.’ . . . .”

 “For­mer Deutsche Bank Exec­u­tive Who Over­saw Trump’s Loans Dies by Sui­cide” by Col­in Kalm­bach­er; Law & Crime; 11/27/2019.

Peo­ple walk past Deutsche Bank’s Man­hat­tan head­quar­ters fol­low­ing news that the glob­al bank­ing giant will be let­ting go of thou­sands of employ­ees due to a major restruc­tur­ing at the Ger­man bank on July 08, 2019 in New York City. The bank has announced that it will reduce its work­force by 18,000 peo­ple in Asia, Europe and Amer­i­ca.

Thomas Bow­ers, iden­ti­fied as a for­mer Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive who signed off on con­tro­ver­sial loans to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, died last week after appar­ent­ly tak­ing his own life at 55.

Accord­ing to Foren­sic News Scott Sted­man, “One source who has direct knowl­edge of the FBI’s inves­ti­ga­tion into Deutsche Bank said that fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors have asked about Bow­ers and doc­u­ments he might have. Anoth­er source who has knowl­edge of Deutsche Bank’s inter­nal struc­ture said that Bow­ers would have been the gate­keep­er for finan­cial doc­u­ments for the bank’s wealth­i­est cus­tomers.”

The news of Bowers’s death was ini­tial­ly shared late Tues­day after­noon by New York Times reporter David Enrich.

I’ve learned that Tom Bow­ers, a for­mer senior @DeutscheBank exec­u­tive, died last week at 55 in Mal­ibu, Calif. I knew him. It’s very sad.

— David Enrich (@davidenrich) Novem­ber 26, 2019

The Los Ange­les Coun­ty Med­ical Examiner-Coroner’s ini­tial report attrib­ut­es Bowers’s death to sui­cide by hang­ing.

Bow­ers pre­vi­ous­ly worked as Deutsche Bank’s head of their U.S. Pri­vate Wealth Man­age­ment divi­sion.

Accord­ing to the New York Times, Deutsche Bank “agreed in 2005 to lend Mr. Trump more than $500 mil­lion [to build a sky­scraper in Chica­go]. He per­son­al­ly guar­an­teed $40 mil­lion of it, mean­ing the bank could come after his per­son­al assets if he default­ed.”

After that loan was extend­ed and the rela­tion­ship between Deutsche Bank and Trump was solidified–and well before it went sour in 2008 due to Trump being unable or unwill­ing to repay the first loan–banker Rose­mary Vrablic was assigned the Trump port­fo­lio.

Vrablic’s direct boss dur­ing her rela­tion­ship with Trump was Bow­ers.

That New York Times sto­ry notes:

Tra­di­tion­al­ly, pri­vate bankers dis­creet­ly man­age cus­tomers’ wealth and act as high-end concierges. Ms. Vrablic, who start­ed her career as a bank teller and then worked at Cit­i­group and Bank of Amer­i­ca, did that and more. She also arranged large real estate and com­mer­cial loans for her best clients.

To lure her, Deutsche Bank guar­an­teed that she would earn at least $3 mil­lion a year, unusu­al­ly rich terms for a pri­vate banker, and would bypass a lay­er of man­age­ment to report direct­ly to Thomas Bow­ers, the head of the Amer­i­can wealth-man­age­ment divi­sion, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with her con­tract.

Hired in 2006, Deutsche Bank lav­ished praise on Vlab­ic and anoth­er recent hire, Dominic Scalzi, who were brought on as “Man­ag­ing Direc­tors and Senior Pri­vate Bankers in [Deutsche Bank’s] US Pri­vate Wealth Man­age­ment (PWM) busi­ness.”

“Rose­mary is wide­ly rec­og­nized as one of the top pri­vate bankers to the US ultra high-net-worth com­mu­ni­ty,” Bow­ers said in a press release at the time. “With both Rose­mary and Dominic’s exten­sive bank­ing and struc­tured lend­ing expe­ri­ence, we will fur­ther enhance our posi­tion as a lead­ing inte­grat­ed Pri­vate Bank.”

By 2010, Trump and Deutsche Bank were on lend­ing terms again. (A law­suit between Trump and the bank over his fail­ure to repay the $500 mil­lion loan was set­tled.) Trump reached out to Vrablic via his recent­ly acquired son-in-law and her client Jared Kush­n­er.

On Trump’s dime, Vrablic arrived in Mia­mi to inspect a prop­er­ty Trump was inter­est­ed in buy­ing: the Doral Golf Resort and Spa. The star of NBC’s The Appren­tice need­ed $100 mil­lion to make the deal.

He want­ed an addi­tion­al $48 mil­lion to infuse into the Chica­go sky­scraper bear­ing his name. Part of that sec­ond loan would help him pay off what he owed the bank’s invest­ment bank­ing divi­sion.

“Ms. Vrablic and Mr. Bow­ers ten­ta­tive­ly agreed to both loans,” the Times sto­ry notes–and the rela­tion­ship between Deutsche Bank and the even­tu­al 45th pres­i­dent soared after that.

Due to Vrablic’s and Bowers’s trust in Trump, Deutsche Bank loaned Trump $170 mil­lion as he trans­mo­gri­fied the Old Post Office Build­ing in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. into what is now anoth­er Trump-brand­ed hotel.

Trump’s ulti­mate­ly unsuc­cess­ful bil­lion dol­lar efforts to pur­chase the Buf­fa­lo Bills was also under­writ­ten by the Ger­man invest­ment firm.

And the extend­ed Trump clan got the ben­e­fits of that long work­ing rela­tion­ship as well. Again the Times:

Deutsche Bank lent mon­ey to Don­ald Trump Jr. for a South Car­oli­na man­u­fac­tur­ing ven­ture that would soon go bank­rupt. It pro­vid­ed a $15 mil­lion cred­it line to Mr. Kush­n­er and his moth­er, accord­ing to finan­cial doc­u­ments reviewed by The Times. The bank pre­vi­ous­ly had an infor­mal ban on busi­ness with the Kush­n­ers because Jared’s father, Charles, was a felon.

The rela­tion­ship con­tin­ued into 2015 when an addi­tion­al $19 mil­lion loan was dis­pensed for Trump’s Doral estate. One final loan was broached in 2016–Trump need­ed mon­ey for his golf course in Scot­land. But by then Trump’s rhetoric had worn thin with Deutsche Bank’s upper ech­e­lons and their rep­u­ta­tion­al risk com­mit­tee.

And Bow­ers was out–he joined Star­wood Cap­i­tal Group.

1b. Anoth­er for­mer Deutsche Bank man­ag­er was found dead in 2014, an appar­ent sui­cide.

“Ex-Deutsche Bank Man­ager Found Dead in Appar­ent Sui­cide” by Belin­da Gold­smith and Thomas Atkins; Reuters; 1/28/2014.

William Broeksmit, a for­mer senior man­ager at Deutsche Bank with close ties to co-Chief Exec­u­tive Anshu Jain, has been found dead at his home in Lon­don in what appears to have been a sui­cide. Jain and the bank’s oth­er co-CEO Juer­gen Fitschen announced Broeksmit’s death in an inter­nal mail to Deutsche Bank employ­ees. When asked about the death, London’s Met­ro­pol­i­tan Police issued a state­ment say­ing a 58-year-old man had been found hang­ing at a house in South Kens­ing­ton on Sun­day after­noon and been pro­nounced dead at the scene. Police declared the death non-sus­pi­cious. Broeksmit, a U.S. nation­al, was an instru­men­tal founder of Deutsche’s invest­ment bank and one many bankers, includ­ing Jain, who joined Germany’s flag­ship lender from Mer­rill Lynch in the 1990s, when Deutsche launched plans to com­pete on Wall Street. Broeksmit was also a prin­ci­pal actor in Deutsche’s efforts to unwind its riski­er posi­tions and to reduce the size of its bal­ance sheet in the wake of the glob­al finan­cial cri­sis. His death comes at an uncom­fort­able junc­ture for Jain and Fitschen, whose reign has been dogged by poor results and legal trou­bles since they took over from Josef Ack­er­mann in 2012. ... The two CEOs are expect­ed to defend their reform record at the bank’s annu­al news con­fer­ence on Wednes­day. Last week, they revealed that lit­i­ga­tion and restruc­tur­ing costs had pushed Deutsche to a sur­prise loss in the fourth quar­ter of 2013.

CLOSEST ALLY

Broeksmit, who worked as head of risk and cap­i­tal opti­mi­sa­tion, was viewed as one of Jain’s clos­est allies and a key play­er in the bank’s attempts to recov­er fol­low­ing the finan­cial cri­sis. Jain sought to have Broeksmit join the man­age­ment board as head of risk man­age­ment in 2012. But in a major set­back for both men, Ger­man reg­u­la­tor Bafin blocked the appoint­ment, say­ing Broeksmit lacked expe­ri­ence lead­ing large teams. Bafin was not imme­di­ately avail­able for com­ment. The Bun­des­bank, which also over­sees Deutsche, declined to com­ment. Broeksmit worked along­side Jain at Mer­rill Lynch before join­ing Deutsche in 1996 as part of group of rough­ly 100 bankers who, along­side Edson Mitchell, formed the core of Deutsche’s new invest­ment bank­ing busi­ness. Mitchell, one the bank’s most pow­er­ful exec­u­tives, died in a plane crash in 2000.

1c. In addi­tion to Mr. Bow­ers, a Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive named William Broeksmit alleged­ly com­mit­ted sui­cide in 2014. His son, Val, has giv­en the FBI doc­u­ments involv­ing the bank’s deal­ings with Team Trump. “Fed­er­al author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing whether Deutsche Bank com­plied with laws meant to stop mon­ey laun­der­ing and oth­er crimes, the lat­est gov­ern­ment exam­i­na­tion of poten­tial mis­con­duct at one of the world’s largest and most trou­bled banks . . . . The inves­ti­ga­tion includes a review of Deutsche Bank’s han­dling of so-called sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty reports that its employ­ees pre­pared about pos­si­bly prob­lem­at­ic trans­ac­tions, includ­ing some linked to Pres­i­dent Trump’s son-in-law and senior advis­er, Jared Kush­n­er . . . . The same fed­er­al agent who con­tact­ed Ms. McFadden’s lawyer also par­tic­i­pat­ed in inter­views of the son of a deceased Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive, William S. Broeksmit. . . . . . . . F.B.I. agents met this year with Val Broeksmit, whose father was a senior Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive who com­mit­ted sui­cide in Jan­u­ary 2014. Mr. Broeksmit said he had pro­vid­ed the agents with inter­nal bank doc­u­ments and oth­er mate­ri­als that he had retrieved from his father’s per­son­al email accounts. . . .”

“Deutsche Bank Faces Crim­i­nal Inves­ti­ga­tion for Poten­tial Mon­ey-Laun­der­ing Laps­es” by David Enrich, Ben Prot­ess and William K. Rash­baum; The New York Times; 6/19/2019.

Fed­er­al author­i­ties are inves­ti­gat­ing whether Deutsche Bank com­plied with laws meant to stop mon­ey laun­der­ing and oth­er crimes, the lat­est gov­ern­ment exam­i­na­tion of poten­tial mis­con­duct at one of the world’s largest and most trou­bled banks, accord­ing to sev­en peo­ple famil­iar with the inquiry.

The inves­ti­ga­tion includes a review of Deutsche Bank’s han­dling of so-called sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty reports that its employ­ees pre­pared about pos­si­bly prob­lem­at­ic trans­ac­tions, includ­ing some linked to Pres­i­dent Trump’s son-in-law and senior advis­er, Jared Kush­n­er, accord­ing to peo­ple close to the bank and oth­ers famil­iar with the mat­ter.

The crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion into Deutsche Bank is one ele­ment of sev­er­al sep­a­rate but over­lap­ping gov­ern­ment exam­i­na­tions into how illic­it funds flow through the Amer­i­can finan­cial sys­tem, said five of the peo­ple, who were not autho­rized to speak pub­licly about the inquiries. Sev­er­al oth­er banks are also being inves­ti­gat­ed.

The F.B.I. recent­ly con­tact­ed the lawyer for a Deutsche Bank whis­tle-blow­er, Tam­my McFad­den, who pub­licly crit­i­cized the company’s anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing sys­tems, accord­ing to the lawyer, Bri­an McCaf­fer­ty.

Ms. McFad­den, a for­mer anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing com­pli­ance offi­cer at the bank, told The New York Times last month that she had flagged trans­ac­tions involv­ing Mr. Kushner’s fam­i­ly com­pa­ny in 2016, but that bank man­agers decid­ed not to file the sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty report she pre­pared. Some of her col­leagues had sim­i­lar expe­ri­ences in 2017 involv­ing trans­ac­tions in the accounts of Mr. Trump’s legal enti­ties, although it was not clear whether the F.B.I. was exam­in­ing the bank’s han­dling of those trans­ac­tions.

The same fed­er­al agent who con­tact­ed Ms. McFadden’s lawyer also par­tic­i­pat­ed in inter­views of the son of a deceased Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive, William S. Broeksmit. Agents told the son, Val Broeksmit, that the Deutsche Bank inves­ti­ga­tion began with an inquiry into the bank’s work for Russ­ian mon­ey laun­der­ers and had expand­ed to cov­er a broad­er array of poten­tial mis­con­duct at the bank and at oth­er finan­cial insti­tu­tions. One ele­ment is the banks’ pos­si­ble roles in a vast mon­ey-laun­der­ing scan­dal at the Dan­ish lender Danske Bank, accord­ing to peo­ple briefed on the inves­ti­ga­tion. . . .

. . . . F.B.I. agents met this year with Val Broeksmit, whose father was a senior Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive who com­mit­ted sui­cide in Jan­u­ary 2014. Mr. Broeksmit said he had pro­vid­ed the agents with inter­nal bank doc­u­ments and oth­er mate­ri­als that he had retrieved from his father’s per­son­al email accounts.

Until his death, William Broeksmit sat on the over­sight board of a large Deutsche Bank sub­sidiary in the Unit­ed States, Deutsche Bank Trust Com­pa­ny Amer­i­c­as, which reg­u­la­tors have crit­i­cized for hav­ing weak anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing sys­tems.

Many of the bank’s anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing oper­a­tions are based in Jack­sonville, Fla., where Ms. McFad­den was one of hun­dreds of employ­ees vet­ting trans­ac­tions that com­put­er sys­tems flagged as poten­tial­ly sus­pi­cious. . . .

1c. Anoth­er Deutsche Bank “sui­cide” was that of bank coun­sel Calogero Gam­bi­no.

“Deutsche Bank Lawyer Found Dead by Sui­cide in New York” by Thomas Atkins, Mary Wis­niews­ki, Andreas Cre­mer; Reuters; 10/25/2014.

A senior Deutsche Bank reg­u­la­to­ry lawyer has been found dead in New York after com­mit­ting sui­cide, New York City offi­cials said on Sat­ur­day. Calogero Gam­bi­no, 41, was found on the morn­ing of Oct. 20 at his home in the New York bor­ough of Brook­lyn and pro­nounced dead on the scene, accord­ing to New York City police. Gam­bi­no was an asso­ciate gen­er­al coun­sel and a man­ag­ing direc­tor who worked for the Ger­man bank for 11 years, accord­ing to the Wall Street Jour­nal, which first report­ed his death.

He had been close­ly involved in nego­ti­at­ing legal issues for Deutsche Bank such as a probe by reg­u­la­tors of banks over alle­ga­tions they manip­u­lat­ed the Libor bench­mark inter­est rate as well as cur­ren­cy mar­kets. Gam­bi­no was also an asso­ciate at a pri­vate law firm and a reg­u­la­to­ry enforce­ment lawyer between 1997 and 1999, the Jour­nal said, cit­ing Gambino’s LinkedIn pro­file and con­fer­ence biogra­phies. He died by hang­ing, said Julie Bol­cer, spokes­woman for the New York City Office of Chief Med­ical Exam­in­er. The man­ner of death was sui­cide. . . .

2a. Irreg­u­lar­i­ties sug­gest­ing mon­ey laun­der­ing also involved Deutsche Bank deal­ings with Jared Kush­n­er, Trump’s son-in-law. The bank ignored its employ­ees’ requests to rile reports with the gov­ern­ment. ” . . . . Anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing spe­cial­ists at Deutsche Bank rec­om­mend­ed in 2016 and 2017 that mul­ti­ple trans­ac­tions involv­ing legal enti­ties con­trolled by Don­ald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kush­n­er, be report­ed to a fed­er­al finan­cial-crimes watch­dog. . . . .But exec­u­tives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent bil­lions of dol­lars to the Trump and Kush­n­er com­pa­nies, reject­ed their employ­ees’ advice. The reports were nev­er filed with the gov­ern­ment. . . .”

“Deutsche Bank Staff Saw Sus­pi­cious Activ­i­ty in Trump and Kush­n­er Accounts” by David Enrich; The New York Times; 05/19/2019.

Anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing spe­cial­ists at Deutsche Bank rec­om­mend­ed in 2016 and 2017 that mul­ti­ple trans­ac­tions involv­ing legal enti­ties con­trolled by Don­ald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kush­n­er, be report­ed to a fed­er­al finan­cial-crimes watch­dog. The trans­ac­tions, some of which involved Mr. Trump’s now-defunct foun­da­tion, set off alerts in a com­put­er sys­tem designed to detect illic­it activ­i­ty, accord­ing to five cur­rent and for­mer bank employ­ees. Com­pli­ance staff mem­bers who then reviewed the trans­ac­tions pre­pared so-called sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Trea­sury Depart­ment that polices finan­cial crimes.

But exec­u­tives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent bil­lions of dol­lars to the Trump and Kush­n­er com­pa­nies, reject­ed their employ­ees’ advice. The reports were nev­er filed with the gov­ern­ment. The nature of the trans­ac­tions was not clear. At least some of them involved mon­ey flow­ing back and forth with over­seas enti­ties or indi­vid­u­als, which bank employ­ees con­sid­ered sus­pi­cious. . . .

. . . . But for­mer Deutsche Bank employ­ees said the deci­sion not to report the Trump and Kush­n­er trans­ac­tions reflect­ed the bank’s gen­er­al­ly lax approach to mon­ey laun­der­ing laws. The employ­ees — most of whom spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty to pre­serve their abil­i­ty to work in the indus­try — said it was part of a pat­tern of the bank’s exec­u­tives reject­ing valid reports to pro­tect rela­tion­ships with lucra­tive clients. . . .

. . . . Ms. McFad­den and some of her col­leagues said they believed the report had been killed to main­tain the pri­vate-bank­ing division’s strong rela­tion­ship with Mr. Kush­n­er. After Mr. Trump became pres­i­dent, trans­ac­tions involv­ing him and his com­pa­nies were reviewed by an anti-finan­cial crime team at the bank called the Spe­cial Inves­ti­ga­tions Unit. That team, based in Jack­sonville, pro­duced mul­ti­ple sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty reports involv­ing dif­fer­ent enti­ties that Mr. Trump owned or con­trolled, accord­ing to three for­mer Deutsche Bank employ­ees who saw the reports in an inter­nal com­put­er sys­tem.

Some of those reports involved Mr. Trump’s lim­it­ed lia­bil­i­ty com­pa­nies. At least one was relat­ed to trans­ac­tions involv­ing the the Don­ald J. Trump Foun­da­tion, two employ­ees said. Deutsche Bank ulti­mate­ly chose not to file those sus­pi­cious activ­i­ty reports with the Trea­sury Depart­ment, either, accord­ing to three for­mer employ­ees. They said it was unusu­al for the bank to reject a series of reports involv­ing the same high-pro­file client. . . .

2b. In addi­tion to pos­si­ble mon­ey-laun­der­ing trans­ac­tions involv­ing Trump and Kush­n­er, Deutsche Bank lent Kush­n­er $285 mil­lion the day before elec­tion day, a for­tu­itous move that allowed Kush­n­er to net $74 mil­lion on a real estate invest­ment. ” . . . . One month before Elec­tion Day, Jared Kushner’s real estate com­pa­ny final­ized a $285 mil­lion loan as part of a refi­nanc­ing pack­age for its prop­er­ty near Times Square in Man­hat­tan . . . . . . . The Deutsche Bank loan capped what Kush­n­er Cos. viewed as a tri­umph: It had pur­chased four most­ly emp­ty retail floors of the for­mer New York Times build­ing in 2015, recruit­ed ten­ants to fill the space and got the Deutsche Bank loan in a refi­nanc­ing deal that gave Kushner’s com­pa­ny $74 mil­lion more than it paid for the prop­er­ty. . . .”

“Kush­n­er firm’s $285 mil­lion Deutsche Bank loan came just before Elec­tion Day” by Michael Kran­ish; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 06/25/2017

One month before Elec­tion Day, Jared Kushner’s real estate com­pa­ny final­ized a $285 mil­lion loan as part of a refi­nanc­ing pack­age for its prop­er­ty near Times Square in Man­hat­tan.

The loan came at a crit­i­cal moment. Kush­n­er was play­ing a key role in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign of his father-in-law, Don­ald Trump. The lender, Deutsche Bank, was nego­ti­at­ing to set­tle a fed­er­al mort­gage fraud case and charges from New York state reg­u­la­tors that it aid­ed a pos­si­ble Russ­ian mon­ey-laun­der­ing scheme. The cas­es were set­tled in Decem­ber and Jan­u­ary. . . .

. . . . The Deutsche Bank loan capped what Kush­n­er Cos. viewed as a tri­umph: It had pur­chased four most­ly emp­ty retail floors of the for­mer New York Times build­ing in 2015, recruit­ed ten­ants to fill the space and got the Deutsche Bank loan in a refi­nanc­ing deal that gave Kushner’s com­pa­ny $74 mil­lion more than it paid for the prop­er­ty. . . .

3a. Deutsche Bank does not have Trump’s tax returns, some­thing flagged by the insti­tu­tion’s employ­ees as unusu­al. The bank had pre­vi­ous­ly informed the Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court of Appeals If inves­ti­ga­tors are going to get their hands on Pres­i­dent Trump’s tax returns, they will have to find them some­where oth­er than Deutsche Bank. The Ger­man bank — which for near­ly two decades was the only main­stream finan­cial insti­tu­tion con­sis­tent­ly will­ing to lend mon­ey to Mr. Trump . . . Last month, The New York Times and oth­er media out­lets asked the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sec­ond Cir­cuit in New York to unseal a let­ter from Deutsche Bank that iden­ti­fied two mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly whose tax returns the bank pos­sess­es. On Thurs­day, the court reject­ed the request. Part of the rea­son, it said, was that Deutsche Bank had informed the court that ‘the only tax returns it has for indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties named in the sub­poe­nas are not those of the pres­i­dent.’ Cur­rent and for­mer bank offi­cials pre­vi­ous­ly told The Times that Deutsche Bank had por­tions of Mr. Trump’s per­son­al and cor­po­rate tax returns. . . .”

“Deutsche Bank Does Not Have Trump’s Tax Returns, Court Says” by David Enrich; The New York Times 10/10/2019.

If inves­ti­ga­tors are going to get their hands on Pres­i­dent Trump’s tax returns, they will have to find them some­where oth­er than Deutsche Bank. The Ger­man bank — which for near­ly two decades was the only main­stream finan­cial insti­tu­tion con­sis­tent­ly will­ing to lend mon­ey to Mr. Trump — has told a fed­er­al appeals court that it does not have the president’s per­son­al tax returns, the court said on Thurs­day. Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees issued sub­poe­nas to Deutsche Bank this year for finan­cial records relat­ed to the pres­i­dent, his com­pa­nies and his fam­i­ly.

Mr. Trump sued the bank, which became his main lender after a string of bank­rupt­cies cost oth­er banks hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars, to block it from com­ply­ing. That lit­i­ga­tion is work­ing its way through the fed­er­al courts. Last month, The New York Times and oth­er media out­lets asked the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sec­ond Cir­cuit in New York to unseal a let­ter from Deutsche Bank that iden­ti­fied two mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly whose tax returns the bank pos­sess­es.

On Thurs­day, the court reject­ed the request. Part of the rea­son, it said, was that Deutsche Bank had informed the court that “the only tax returns it has for indi­vid­u­als and enti­ties named in the sub­poe­nas are not those of the pres­i­dent.” Cur­rent and for­mer bank offi­cials pre­vi­ous­ly told The Times that Deutsche Bank had por­tions of Mr. Trump’s per­son­al and cor­po­rate tax returns. . . .

3b. An unnamed Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive not­ed in an e‑mail to the afore­men­tioned David Enrich that this was high­ly unusu­al, and the bank may have destroyed the doc­u­ments and cleansed their servers: ” . . . . David Enrich, finance edi­tor at The New York Times, post­ed to Twit­ter a screen­shot of his con­ver­sa­tion with the unnamed exec­u­tive in which they expressed sur­prise that Deutsche told a fed­er­al appeals court it did not have the president’s tax returns any­more. ‘Holy f**k,’ the exec­u­tive wrote, per the screen­shot. ‘The cir­cum­stance could be that they returned any phys­i­cal copies or destroyed any phys­i­cal copies under an agree­ment with a client and cleansed their servers. Not nor­mal though.’ . . . . ”

“Deutsche Bank Might Have Destroyed Phys­i­cal Copies Of Trump’s Tax Returns, Cleansed Servers Claims For­mer Exec­u­tive: Report” by Shane Crouch­er; Newsweek; 10/11/2019.

A for­mer Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive who reviewed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s tax returns report­ed­ly said it is “not nor­mal” that the insti­tu­tion no longer holds copies of those records. Trump for many years relied on Deutsche Bank for loans to sus­tain his real estate busi­ness when many oth­er insti­tu­tions would not lend to him because of his rocky finan­cial his­to­ry. The pres­i­dent is accused by some, includ­ing his for­mer attor­ney Michael Cohen, of manip­u­lat­ing the val­ue of his assets to either secure finance or reduce his tax bill.

He has bro­ken with recent prece­dent for pres­i­dents and refused to release pub­licly all of his recent tax returns, despite pres­sure to do so. Con­gress is inves­ti­gat­ing Trump’s finances and attempt­ing to get hold of his tax returns from Deutsche. But the bank told the 2nd US Cir­cuit Court of Appeals that it did not hold them. David Enrich, finance edi­tor at The New York Times, post­ed to Twit­ter a screen­shot of his con­ver­sa­tion with the unnamed exec­u­tive in which they expressed sur­prise that Deutsche told a fed­er­al appeals court it did not have the president’s tax returns any­more. “Holy f**k,” the exec­u­tive wrote, per the screen­shot. “The cir­cum­stance could be that they returned any phys­i­cal copies or destroyed any phys­i­cal copies under an agree­ment with a client and cleansed their servers. Not nor­mal though.” . . . .  

  4. A dis­turb­ing per­spec­tive on the alleged “sui­cide” of Thomas Bow­ers, who was in charge of Trump’s deal­ings with the bank, as well as the alleged “sui­cide” of William Broeksmit is pro­vid­ed by an argu­ment voiced by Trump attor­ney William Consovoy in a hear­ing at the Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court of Appeals: ” . . . . [Judge] Dunne brought up Trump’s famous state­ment when he caught fire dur­ing the 2016 Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, say­ing, ‘I could stand in the mid­dle of 5th Avenue and shoot some­body and I wouldn’t lose any vot­ers.’ ‘If he did pull out a hand­gun and shoot some­one on Fifth Ave,’ Dunne asked, ‘would the local police be restrained?‘Judge Chin raised Dunne’s point. He asked Consovoy for his ‘view on the Fifth Avenue exam­ple.’ ‘Local author­i­ties couldn’t inves­ti­gate, they couldn’t do any­thing about it?’ he asked. ‘No,’ replied a vis­i­bly annoyed Consovoy amid sti­fled chor­tles. ‘Noth­ing could be done? That’s your posi­tion?’ Chin repeat­ed. ‘That is cor­rect, that is cor­rect,’ Consovoy respond­ed . . . .”

“We Have Now Arrived At The Log­i­cal End­point Of Trump’s Immu­ni­ty Argu­ment” by Josh Koven­sky; Talk­ing Points Memo; 10/23/2019.

I wasn’t expect­ing laugh­ter in court today. But at the Sec­ond Cir­cuit Court of Appeals in Man­hat­tan, there were sti­fled chor­tles as per­son­al attor­neys for Pres­i­dent Trump final­ly arrived at the log­i­cal des­ti­na­tion of their argu­ment that he is immune not only from pros­e­cu­tion – but from inves­ti­ga­tion.

It came in Trump’s appeal chal­leng­ing a state grand jury sub­poe­na for finan­cial records from his long­time account­ing firm, Mazars USA. Man­hat­tan Dis­trict Attor­ney Gen­er­al Coun­sel Car­rey Dunne told the appeals court that Trump was act­ing as if the law did not apply to him, and was try­ing to have it both ways by assert­ing exec­u­tive pro­tec­tions over an inves­ti­ga­tion that con­cerned his pri­vate busi­ness. Trump attor­ney William Consovoy had argued that not only does the Con­sti­tu­tion pre­vent a sit­ting pres­i­dent from indict­ment, but it also pre­vents crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion or “process” from being applied to the head of state.

Dunne brought up Trump’s famous state­ment when he caught fire dur­ing the 2016 Repub­li­can pri­ma­ry, say­ing, “I could stand in the mid­dle of 5th Avenue and shoot some­body and I wouldn’t lose any vot­ers.” “If he did pull out a hand­gun and shoot some­one on Fifth Ave,” Dunne asked, “would the local police be restrained?” “Would we have to wait for impeach­ment?” he added.

If the judges were moved by Dunne’s argu­ment, it wasn’t imme­di­ate­ly obvi­ous. The trio – com­posed of Demo­c­rat-appoint­ed Chief Judge Robert Katz­mann, Judge Den­ny Chin, and Judge Christo­pher Droney – stayed typ­i­cal­ly stone-faced. But when Consovoy retook the podi­um with his boom­ing voice and some­what bil­ious affect, field­ing more ques­tions from the court, he dou­bled down on his argu­ment that con­gres­sion­al, fed­er­al, and state bod­ies are for­bid­den from inves­ti­gat­ing a sit­ting Pres­i­dent.

Judge Chin raised Dunne’s point. He asked Consovoy for his “view on the Fifth Avenue exam­ple.” “Local author­i­ties couldn’t inves­ti­gate, they couldn’t do any­thing about it?” he asked. “No,” replied a vis­i­bly annoyed Consovoy amid sti­fled chor­tles. “Noth­ing could be done? That’s your posi­tion?” Chin repeat­ed. “That is cor­rect, that is cor­rect,” Consovoy respond­ed, before qual­i­fy­ing it by say­ing that a pres­i­dent could be pros­e­cut­ed after leav­ing office. . . .

5. It now appears that the Deutsche Bank case will be heard by the Supreme Court. There are already two sim­i­lar cas­es on their way to the court. It will be more than a lit­tle inter­est­ing to see how the SCOTUS rules, and how Judges Gor­such and Kavanaugh per­form in the case. ” . . . . A fed­er­al appeals court said Tues­day that Deutsche Bank must turn over detailed doc­u­ments about Pres­i­dent Trump’s finances to two con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees, a rul­ing that will most like­ly be appealed to the Supreme Court. . . . Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees issued sub­poe­nas to two banks — Deutsche Bank, long Mr. Trump’s biggest lender, and Cap­i­tal One — this year for finan­cial records relat­ed to the pres­i­dent, his com­pa­nies and his fam­i­ly. Mr. Trump sued the banks to block them from com­ply­ing . . . . Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Jay Seku­low, said in a state­ment that ‘we are eval­u­at­ing our next options includ­ing seek­ing review at the Supreme Court of the Unit­ed States.’ He called the con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­nas ‘invalid as issued.’ . . . .”

“Trump Los­es Appeal on Deutsche Bank Sub­poe­nas” by David Enrich; The New York Times; 12/03/2019

A fed­er­al appeals court said Tues­day that Deutsche Bank must turn over detailed doc­u­ments about Pres­i­dent Trump’s finances to two con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees, a rul­ing that will most like­ly be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic-con­trolled con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tees issued sub­poe­nas to two banks — Deutsche Bank, long Mr. Trump’s biggest lender, and Cap­i­tal One — this year for finan­cial records relat­ed to the pres­i­dent, his com­pa­nies and his fam­i­ly. Mr. Trump sued the banks to block them from com­ply­ing.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Jay Seku­low, said in a state­ment that “we are eval­u­at­ing our next options includ­ing seek­ing review at the Supreme Court of the Unit­ed States.” He called the con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­nas “invalid as issued.”

Mr. Trump has sev­en days to seek a fur­ther delay from the high court before the banks must com­ply.

Mr. Trump, who broke with decades of tra­di­tion by refus­ing to release his tax returns dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, has already turned to the Supreme Court in an effort to fend off oth­er gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tions into his per­son­al finances. Two oth­er cas­es, involv­ing the dis­clo­sure of his tax returns to the Man­hat­tan dis­trict attor­ney and to a con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee, are await­ing action by the court.

But the requests for doc­u­ments from Deutsche Bank are notable because of the breadth of finan­cial infor­ma­tion they could pro­vide about Mr. Trump and his busi­ness deal­ings.

Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s main lender after a string of bank­rupt­cies and loan defaults cost oth­er banks hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars; over the past two decades, the Ger­man bank lent him and his com­pa­nies a total of well over $2 bil­lion. The bank’s files would most like­ly con­tain a rich trove of doc­u­ments includ­ing details about how he made his mon­ey, who his part­ners have been, the terms of his exten­sive bor­row­ings and oth­er trans­ac­tions.

The sub­poe­nas, issued in April by the House Finan­cial Ser­vices and Intel­li­gence com­mit­tees, sought near­ly a decade’s worth of tax returns and oth­er finan­cial doc­u­ments that the banks obtained from Mr. Trump, his fam­i­ly and his com­pa­nies. The sub­poe­nas also demand­ed infor­ma­tion about any sus­pi­cious activ­i­ties that Deutsche Bank detect­ed in Mr. Trump’s accounts.

Inves­ti­ga­tors for the two com­mit­tees are hop­ing the mate­ri­als will shed light on any links Mr. Trump has had to for­eign gov­ern­ments and whether he or his com­pa­nies were involved in any ille­gal activ­i­ty, such as mon­ey laun­der­ing for peo­ple over­seas.

The com­mit­tees have also said the infor­ma­tion is impor­tant to their attempts to craft leg­is­la­tion. Mr. Trump’s lawyers have argued that the sub­poe­nas served no legit­i­mate leg­isla­tive pur­pose and were over­ly broad. Spokes­men for the com­mit­tees had no imme­di­ate com­ment on Tues­day.

The rul­ing by the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sec­ond Cir­cuit con­tained one caveat: The low­er court must con­sid­er whether and how the banks dis­close a lim­it­ed set of sen­si­tive per­son­al infor­ma­tion that would have no bear­ing on the gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tions. Such infor­ma­tion could include checks that were writ­ten by Mr. Trump or his com­pa­nies to cov­er employ­ees’ med­ical expens­es.

But, the court ruled, the pre­sump­tion should be in favor of hand­ing over more doc­u­ments, not few­er. “Many doc­u­ments facial­ly appear­ing to reflect nor­mal busi­ness deal­ings will there­fore war­rant dis­clo­sure for exam­i­na­tion and analy­sis by skilled inves­ti­ga­tors assist­ing the com­mit­tees to deter­mine the effec­tive­ness of cur­rent reg­u­la­tion and the pos­si­ble need for improved leg­is­la­tion,” the court wrote.

The rul­ing con­clud­ed: “The com­mit­tees’ inter­ests in pur­su­ing their con­sti­tu­tion­al leg­isla­tive func­tion is a far more sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic inter­est than what­ev­er pub­lic inter­est inheres in avoid­ing the risk of a chief executive’s dis­trac­tion aris­ing from dis­clo­sure of doc­u­ments reflect­ing his pri­vate finan­cial trans­ac­tions.”

The deci­sion is the lat­est this year by a fed­er­al court to uphold the broad pow­ers of Con­gress to inves­ti­gate the pres­i­dent.

In two sim­i­lar cas­es, the pres­i­dent has asked the Supreme Court to over­rule low­er courts and to block attempts to review his finances. Last month, the Supreme Court issued a tem­po­rary stay relat­ed to a sub­poe­na that the House Over­sight and Reform Com­mit­tee issued in April. Mr. Trump has also filed a peti­tion seek­ing review of a request from pros­e­cu­tors in Man­hat­tan who are seek­ing infor­ma­tion from his account­ing firm, Mazars USA.

6a. The con­nec­tions between the fam­i­ly of Antho­ny Kennedy and the Trump milieu run deep. Antho­ny Kennedy’s son Justin was  Trump’s  banker at Deutsche Bank.

Fur­ther­more, jurists who clerked for Antho­ny Kennedy fig­ure promi­nent­ly in Trump’s judi­cial appoint­ments:

  1. ” . . . . He [Trump] picked Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such, who had served as a law clerk to Jus­tice Kennedy, to fill Jus­tice Scalia’s seat. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Then, after Jus­tice Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion was announced, a White House offi­cial sin­gled out two can­di­dates for the next Supreme Court vacan­cy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit and Judge Ray­mond M. Keth­ledge of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit, in Cincin­nati. The two judges had some­thing in com­mon: They had both clerked for Jus­tice Kennedy. . . .”
  3. ” . . . . In the mean­time, as the White House turned to stock­ing the low­er courts, it did not over­look Jus­tice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed three of them to fed­er­al appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scud­der, both of whom have been con­firmed, and Eric Mur­phy, the Ohio solic­i­tor gen­er­al, whom Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed to the Sixth Cir­cuit this month. . . .”
  4. ” . . . . Jus­tice Kennedy’s son, Justin . . . . spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, even­tu­al­ly ris­ing to become the bank’s glob­al head of real estate cap­i­tal mar­kets, and he worked close­ly with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate devel­op­er, accord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of his role. Dur­ing Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most impor­tant lender, dis­pens­ing well over $1 bil­lion in loans to him for the ren­o­va­tion and con­struc­tion of sky­scrap­ers in New York and Chica­go at a time oth­er main­stream banks were wary of doing busi­ness with him because of his trou­bled busi­ness his­to­ry. . . .”

“Inside the White House’s Qui­et Cam­paign to Cre­ate a Supreme Court Open­ing” by Adam Lip­tak and Mag­gie Haber­man; The New York Times; 06/28/2018.

 Pres­i­dent Trump sin­gled him out for praise even while attack­ing oth­er mem­bers of the Supreme Court. The White House nom­i­nat­ed peo­ple close to him to impor­tant judi­cial posts. And mem­bers of the Trump fam­i­ly forged per­son­al con­nec­tions.

Their goal was to assure Jus­tice Antho­ny M. Kennedy that his judi­cial lega­cy would be in good hands should he step down at the end of the court’s term that end­ed this week, as he was rumored to be con­sid­er­ing. Allies of the White House were more blunt, warn­ing the 81-year-old jus­tice that time was of the essence. There was no telling, they said, what would hap­pen if Democ­rats gained con­trol of the Sen­ate after the Novem­ber elec­tions and had the pow­er to block the president’s choice as his suc­ces­sor. . . .

. . . .When Mr. Trump took office last year, he already had a Supreme Court vacan­cy to fill, the one cre­at­ed by the 2016 death of Jus­tice Antonin Scalia. But Mr. Trump dear­ly want­ed a sec­ond vacan­cy, one that could trans­form the court for a gen­er­a­tion or more. So he used the first open­ing to help cre­ate the sec­ond one. He picked Jus­tice Neil M. Gor­such, who had served as a law clerk to Jus­tice Kennedy, to fill Jus­tice Scalia’s seat. . . .

. . . .Then, after Jus­tice Gorsuch’s nom­i­na­tion was announced, a White House offi­cial sin­gled out two can­di­dates for the next Supreme Court vacan­cy: Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia Cir­cuit and Judge Ray­mond M. Keth­ledge of the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Cir­cuit, in Cincin­nati.

The two judges had some­thing in com­mon: They had both clerked for Jus­tice Kennedy.

In the mean­time, as the White House turned to stock­ing the low­er courts, it did not over­look Jus­tice Kennedy’s clerks. Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed three of them to fed­er­al appeals courts: Judges Stephanos Bibas and Michael Scud­der, both of whom have been con­firmed, and Eric Mur­phy, the Ohio solic­i­tor gen­er­al, whom Mr. Trump nom­i­nat­ed to the Sixth Cir­cuit this month. . . .

. . . . Mr. Trump was appar­ent­ly refer­ring to Jus­tice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, even­tu­al­ly ris­ing to become the bank’s glob­al head of real estate cap­i­tal mar­kets, and he worked close­ly with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate devel­op­er, accord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of his role.

Dur­ing Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most impor­tant lender, dis­pens­ing well over $1 bil­lion in loans to him for the ren­o­va­tion and con­struc­tion of sky­scrap­ers in New York and Chica­go at a time oth­er main­stream banks were wary of doing busi­ness with him because of his trou­bled busi­ness his­to­ry. . . .

6b.  After Kennedy left Deutsche Bank in 2009 he went on to become co-CEO LNR Prop­er­ty LLC. LNR Prop­er­ty saved Jared Kushner’s mid­town Man­hat­tan prop­er­ty in 2011:

  1. ” . . . . from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Prop­er­ty LLC with Tobin Cobb. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Accord­ing the New York Times, in 2007 Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies pur­chased ‘an alu­minum-clad office tow­er in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, for a record price of $1.8 bil­lion.’ At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was ‘con­sid­ered a clas­sic exam­ple of reck­less under­writ­ing. The trans­ac­tion was so high­ly lever­aged that the cash flow from rents amount­ed to only 65 per­cent of the debt ser­vice.’ . . .”
  3.  ” . . . Who came to the res­cue? None oth­er than LNR Prop­er­ty, the com­pa­ny whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. Accord­ing to the NYT and the Real Deal, Mr. Kush­n­er and LNR ‘reached a pos­si­ble agree­ment with LNR Prop­er­ty, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in restruc­tur­ing trou­bled debt and which over­sees the mort­gage, that would allow him to retain con­trol of the tow­er by mod­i­fy­ing the terms of the $1.2 bil­lion mort­gage tied to the office por­tion of the build­ing.’ . . .”

“The Kennedy, Kush­n­er, and Trump Con­nec­tion: A Curi­ous Con­ver­sa­tion and A Busi­ness Deal” by C’Zar Bern­stein & Gabe Rusk; Medi­um; 03/01/2017.

. . . . Jus­tice Kennedy has two very suc­cess­ful sons in their own right, Gre­go­ry and Justin Kennedy. Gre­go­ry Kennedy, a Stan­ford Law grad­u­ate (a Stan­ford man like his father), was named CEO of Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advis­ers in Octo­ber of 2016. Accord­ing to his LinkedIn page: Dis­rup­tive Tech­nol­o­gy Advi­sors is a “Los Ange­les based mer­chant bank with an exclu­sive focus on mid to late stage growth com­pa­nies.” . . . .

Justin Kennedy, a grad­u­ate of UCLA and Stanford(again like his father), has spent his career in the world of bank­ing, invest­ment, and, inter­est­ing­ly, real estate. In par­tic­u­lar, from 2010–2013 Justin Kennedy was the co-CEO of LNR Prop­er­ty LLC with Tobin Cobb. In the world of high-stakes NYC real estate it would be fair­ly improb­a­ble that the Trump or Kush­n­er groups, mono­liths in their own right, would not have min­gled or done busi­ness with the LNR at some point in time. We were not sur­prised, there­fore, to dis­cov­er that there is a like­ly con­nec­tion. Here’s what we know:

Accord­ing the New York Times, in 2007 Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies pur­chased “an alu­minum-clad office tow­er in Mid­town Man­hat­tan, for a record price of $1.8 bil­lion.” At the time the NYT wrote that this deal was “con­sid­ered a clas­sic exam­ple of reck­less under­writ­ing. The trans­ac­tion was so high­ly lever­aged that the cash flow from rents amount­ed to only 65 per­cent of the debt ser­vice.” The Times con­tin­ues:

“As many real estate spe­cial­ists pre­dict­ed, the deal ran into trou­ble. Instead of ris­ing, rents declined as the reces­sion took hold, and new leas­es were scarce. In 2010, the loan was trans­ferred to a spe­cial ser­vicer on the assump­tion that a default would occur once reserve funds being used to sub­si­dize the short­fall were bled dry. But the sto­ry may yet have a hap­py end­ing for Kush­n­er, a fam­i­ly-owned busi­ness that moved its head­quar­ters from Florham Park, N.J., to 666 Fifth, its first major acqui­si­tion in Man­hat­tan.”

Who came to the res­cue? None oth­er than LNR Prop­er­ty, the com­pa­ny whose CEO at the time was Justin Kennedy. Accord­ing to the NYT and the Real Deal, Mr. Kush­n­er and LNR “reached a pos­si­ble agree­ment with LNR Prop­er­ty, a firm spe­cial­iz­ing in restruc­tur­ing trou­bled debt and which over­sees the mort­gage, that would allow him to retain con­trol of the tow­er by mod­i­fy­ing the terms of the $1.2 bil­lion mort­gage tied to the office por­tion of the build­ing.” A spokesman for Mr. Kush­n­er told the Wall Street Jour­nal in March of 2011 that “[t]he Kushner’s are ready and will­ing to invest more mon­ey into the prop­er­ty as soon as they can come to mutu­al­ly sat­is­fac­to­ry terms with the ser­vic­ing agent.” In that same arti­cle Kushner’s father-in-law and the future Pres­i­dent com­ment­ed on the nego­ti­a­tions with Justin Kennedy’s com­pa­ny.

Speak­ing about the deal, Trump told the WSJ that Kush­n­er is “a very smart young man…I think it (loan rene­go­ti­a­tions) will come out well for him and every­body.” At this point there is no doubt that there was a direct busi­ness rela­tion­ship between LNR and Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies at the time Justin Kennedy and Jared Kush­n­er were both CEO. Even the future Pres­i­dent was aware of the deal and com­ment­ed on its respec­tive mer­its. (That being said, it is not impos­si­ble that Jared Kush­n­er and Justin Kennedy did not meet in con­nec­tion with the spe­cif­ic deal in ques­tion; how­ev­er, giv­en the stakes involved it does seem more than like­ly that the two CEO’s would have inter­act­ed as nego­ti­a­tions were being con­duct­ed.)

The con­nec­tions between Kush­n­er, Kennedy, and Trump do not end there. Coin­ci­den­tal­ly, in 2011, the year in which some of these nego­ti­a­tions took place, Justin Kennedy for the first time was ranked on the New York Observer’s 100 Most Pow­er­ful Peo­ple in New York Real Estate at #36. Don­ald Trump clocked in at #12. The New York Observ­er was owned at the time by none oth­er than Jared Kush­n­er him­self. . . .

6c. Fol­low­ing the nom­i­na­tion by Pres­i­dent Trump of Brett Kavanaugh to replace Jus­tice Antho­ny Kennedy on the Supreme Court, we get con­fir­ma­tion that Trump got Kennedy to resign by agree­ing to replace him with Kennedy’s for­mer clerk Kavanaugh:

“It Was Always Kavanaugh: After Meet­ing With Kennedy, Trump Was Set On His Pick” by Nicole Lafond; Talk­ing Points Memo; 07/10/2018

While the White House was suc­cess­ful for the most part in keep­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s SCOTUS pick under wraps for the past two weeks, Trump was essen­tial­ly decid­ed on his nom­i­nee after Jus­tice Antho­ny Kennedy told him he would retire in a meet­ing, Politi­co report­ed.

Accord­ing to aides close to the White House who spoke to Politi­co, in that meet­ing Kennedy rec­om­mend­ed Trump pick Brett Kavanaugh, who had served as a for­mer law clerk to Kennedy. While Trump was report­ed­ly already inter­est­ed in Kavanaugh before that dis­cus­sion with Kennedy, the retir­ing jurist’s rec­om­men­da­tion helped seal the deal. . . .

7. The pro­gram con­cludes with review of infor­ma­tion from Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 205.

. . . . The [FBI] file [on Mar­tin Bor­mann] revealed that he had been bank­ing under his own name from his office in Ger­many in Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires since 1941; that he held one joint account with the Argen­tin­ian dic­ta­tor Juan Per­on, and on August 4, 5 and 14, 1967, had writ­ten checks on demand accounts in first Nation­al City Bank (Over­seas Divi­sion) of New York, The Chase Man­hat­tan Bank, and Man­u­fac­tur­ers Hanover Trust Co., all cleared through Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires. . . . 

   

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #1109 Deutsche Bank, “Suicides,” The Supreme Court and Team Trump (Send in The Clowns, Part 2)”

  1. Trump AG Barr will escape impeach­ment thanks to ‘cor­rupt’ Repub­li­cans – Nadler
    June 21, 2020 The Guardian, UK by Mar­tin Pen­gel­ly 

    This arti­cle reports that the US Attor­ney Gen­er­al, William Barr is using the jus­tice sys­tem to reward Pres­i­dent Trump’s friends and pun­ish his ene­mies instead of being a neu­tral pros­e­cu­tor of crim­i­nal activ­i­ty. He wasn’t to replace the head Fed­er­al Pros­e­cu­tor for the South­ern Dis­trict of New York Geof­frey Berman who was appoint­ed to the posi­tion by a Fed­er­al Judge with the SEC Com­mis­sion­er Jay Clay­ton who heads the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion who does not have any expe­ri­ence as a fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor. This pros­e­cu­tors office has pur­sued inves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions of allies of Don­ald Trump includ­ing two of his per­son­al lawyers, Michael Cohen and Rudy Giu­liani. The Turk­ish inves­ti­ga­tions with Gen­er­al Fly­nn has been essen­tial­ly closed due to inter­ven­tions by Barr.

    This arti­cle does not men­tion this but there are many ques­tions regard­ing Trumps behav­ior with Turkey (a WWI ally of the Kaiz­er) and its leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan includ­ing hav­ing con­sid­ered plans to kid­nap his polit­i­cal rival Fethul­lah Gülen; aban­don­ing our Mil­i­tary allies in Syr­ia, the Kurds and per­mit­ting Turkey to take over that sec­tion of the Syr­i­an Bor­der and mil­i­tar­i­ly defeat­ing the Kurds. But the most inter­est­ing point in this arti­cle is that Clayton’s firm, Sul­li­van & Cromwell, has rep­re­sent­ed Deutsche Bank, one of Trump’s largest cred­i­tors which is itself under inves­ti­ga­tion by the DOJ. In the 1920s and 1930s Sul­li­van and Cromwell’s lawyers includ­ed Allen Dulles and John Fos­ter Dulles whose largest clients were Nazi Ger­many. John Fos­ter Dulles used to sign his cables to Ger­many with the clos­ing remark “Heil Hitler”. The ques­tion is does this inves­ti­ga­tion is get­ting too close to the Under­ground Reich and their Cor­po­rate Con­stituents?

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/21/donald-trump-ag-william-barr-impeachment-republicans-berman-nadler?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

    This arti­cle includes the fol­low­ing state­ments:  
    • Barr and Trump want that replace­ment to be Jay Clay­ton, the chair of the Secu­ri­ties and Exchange Com­mis­sion who has nev­er worked as a fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor. Barr had said the US attor­ney in New Jer­sey, a Trump ally, would fill the role in an act­ing capac­i­ty.
    • The pres­ti­gious dis­trict has pur­sued inves­ti­ga­tions and pros­e­cu­tions of allies of Don­ald Trump includ­ing two of his per­son­al lawyers, Michael Cohen and Rudy Giu­liani.
    • On NBC’s Meet the Press on Sun­day, House intel­li­gence chair Adam Schiff was asked if he accept­ed the report­ed expla­na­tion that Trump’s move to replace Berman with Clay­ton was “sim­ply the pres­i­dent want­i­ng to do a favor for a golf­ing bud­dy”.
    • “I can’t accept that expla­na­tion,” Schiff said, “giv­en the pat­tern and prac­tice of both the pres­i­dent in seek­ing to use the jus­tice sys­tem to reward friends, pun­ish ene­mies, pro­tect peo­ple he likes, and Bill Barr’s will­ing­ness to car­ry that water for the pres­i­dent.
    • Clayton’s firm, Sul­li­van & Cromwell, has rep­re­sent­ed Deutsche Bank, one of Trump’s largest cred­i­tors which is itself under inves­ti­ga­tion by the DoJ. On Sun­day Repub­li­can sen­a­tor Tim Scott told ABC’s This Week: “There is no indi­ca­tion that those inves­ti­ga­tions will stop.”
    • Nadler, like oth­er Democ­rats, has sug­gest­ed Barr is seek­ing to impede inves­ti­ga­tions close to Trump. Asked which, he said: “I think it’s obvi­ous that a num­ber of inves­ti­ga­tions the south­ern dis­trict has been doing with ref­er­ence to the president’s asso­ciates, Giu­liani, the Turk­ish inves­ti­ga­tion, we’ve seen a pat­tern of Barr cor­rupt­ly imped­ing all these inves­ti­ga­tions. So this is just more of the same.”
    • Bharara said he thought Barr’s con­duct “shows there is an unfit­ness for office”.

    Posted by Mary Benton | June 27, 2020, 10:11 am
  2. A fed­er­al judge’s fam­i­ly was just attacked at her home on Sun­day. Esther Salas’s hus­band, Mark Anderl, was crit­i­cal­ly injured and her son, Daniel Anderl, was killed. The gun­man was dressed as a FedEx deliv­ery­man and shot Mark when he answered the door and killed Daniel when he came to the assis­tance of his father. Judge Salas was in the home­’s base­ment dur­ing the attack and was­n’t harmed.

    The gun­man, Roy Den Hol­lan­der, fled the scene and was found dead from an appar­ent self-inflict­ed gun­shot wound sev­er­al hours lat­er in his vehi­cle. Hol­lan­der was a long-time anti-fem­i­nist ‘Men’s Rights’ lawyer/activist with a his­to­ry of suing over things like ‘ladies’ night’ at bars or Wom­en’s Stud­ies pro­grams at uni­ver­si­ties. In August of 2016, Hol­lan­der filed a law­suit against a num­ber of major media orga­ni­za­tions over their alleged­ly unfair cov­er­age of Don­ald Trump. More recent­ly, he had a chal­lenge to the military’s male-only draft pend­ing before Judge Salas. So on the sur­face this appears to be instance of a plain­tiff seek­ing revenge against a judge. And in this case it’s a plain­tiff who is like an old school proto-‘incel’ seething with rage so it’s not like he does­n’t fit a pro­file.

    It sounds like Hol­lan­der first got into the Men’s Rights move­ment after mar­ry­ing a Russ­ian woman while work­ing for Kroll, so he has a back­ground in pri­vate intel­li­gence. He claims the woman was actu­al­ly a pros­ti­tute who swin­dled him and the expe­ri­ences from that divorce appear to have rad­i­cal­ized him.

    It also sounds like Hol­lan­der had ter­mi­nal can­cer which no doubt would have played a role in his deci­sion to car­ry out a murder/suicide. In addi­tion, it sounds like Hol­lan­der is a sus­pect in the recent unsolved mur­der of anoth­er promi­nent ‘Men’s Rights’ lawyer/activist Marc Angeluc­ci, who worked on a sim­i­lar cas­es to Hol­lan­der and was shot dead at his home on July 11. So the details that are emerg­ing paint a pic­ture of a ter­mi­nal­ly ill Hol­lan­der decid­ing to end his own life by first tak­ing out some per­ceived ene­mies.

    But there was anoth­er major coin­ci­dence to this sto­ry that’s hard to ignore: the attack on Judge Salas’s fam­i­ly came a few days after Judge Salas was assigned a new law­suit against Deutsche Bank file last week involv­ing the Jef­frey Epstein case. Recall how Deutsche Bank employ­ee whistle­blow­ers charged that the bank was rou­tine­ly ignor­ing con­duct­ing even min­i­mal due dili­gence of its clients and when anti-mon­ey-laun­der­ing units at the bank raised con­cerns about Epstein’s accounts the exec­u­tives ignored them. And when the bank final­ly tried to close its Epstein account it alleged­ly failed to find and close all of the dozens of accounts Epstein had at the bank’s pri­vate-bank­ing divi­sions due to an anti­quat­ed account man­age­ment sys­tem.

    On July 15, the class action case Kari­mi v. Deutsche Bank Aktienge­sellschaft et al. was filed on behalf of every­one who pur­chased Deutsche Bank stock between Novem­ber 7, 2017 and July 6, 2020, over charges that the bank vio­lat­ed fed­er­al secu­ri­ties law by mak­ing false and/or mis­lead­ing state­ments and/or fail­ing to dis­close that the bank failed to prop­er­ly mon­i­tor clients that the bank itself deemed to be high-risk (with Jef­frey Epstein specif­i­cal­ly named as one of those high-risk clients). So it’s the kind of class action law­suit that could be extreme­ly uncom­fort­able for Deutsche Bank.

    Might this attack on Judge Salas’s fam­i­ly be relat­ed to the Deutsche Bank case? Some sort of attempt at intim­i­da­tion? The tim­ing, com­ing just days after Salas gets that get, is hard to ignore. At the same time, Hol­lan­der did inde­pen­dent­ly have a case before Salas and he appears to have begun his murder/suicide spree with the killing of Marc Angeluc­ci days before Kari­mi v. Deutsche Bank Aktienge­sellschaft et al. was even filed.

    Then again, who knows when Deutsche Bank would have learned that this law­suit was in the works. The bank may not have learned long before July 15. In addi­tion, it’s worth not­ing that Hol­lan­der has been open about the ter­mi­nal nature of his can­cer since had a Go-Fund-Me page for it so peo­ple who knew Hol­lan­der knew he was dying. And that rais­es an inter­est­ing ques­tion: when a far right unhinged fig­ure like Roy Den Hol­lan­der lets the world know he’s dying, does he get mur­der/­sui­cide-for-hire inquiries? We’re now liv­ing in an era of encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tion net­works that put all sorts of far right and crim­i­nal fig­ures in qui­et con­tact with each oth­er. So when when some­one like Hol­lan­der lets it be known they’re dying you have to won­der how many par­ties start con­tact­ing them and try­ing to steer them towards a strate­gic high-pro­file strate­gic final act. Keep in mind that you can’t real­ly direct­ly intim­i­date a fed­er­al judge. It would require some­thing indi­rect and it would also required not actu­al­ly killing the judge (unless the intent is to intim­i­date the next judge who gets the case).

    So giv­en the time­line of events it’s hard to avoid the con­clu­sion that this was just a real­ly remark­able coin­ci­dence unless we assume Hol­lan­der was hired or con­vinced to attack Salas’s fam­i­ly by some­one affil­i­at­ed with Deutsche Bank. And while a mur­der/­sui­cide-for-hire sce­nario may seem like high­ly unlike­ly, keep in mind that the Deutsche Bank law­suit could impact far more par­ties than just Deutsche Bank. It was more than just Jef­frey Epstein who was tak­ing advan­tage of Deutsche Bank’s ‘anti­quate accounts man­age­ment’ sys­tems all these years, after all. So some­how influ­enc­ing this judge may have been a top pri­or­i­ty of a large num­ber of very pow­er­ful bad actors. That’s part of what makes this such an intrigu­ing sto­ry: the idea that some­one could have arranged for Hol­lan­der to go on this murder/suicide spree in order to influ­ence the Deutsche Bank case implies we’re talk­ing about a remark­ably pow­er­ful and influ­en­tial group behind it with an immense amount to lose if this case goes for­ward. And if there’s one bank on the plan­et with clients that fit that descrip­tion it’s Deutsche Bank, which is why this law­suit is hap­pen­ing in the first place. Ok, first, here’s a Dai­ly Mail piece that describes the ini­tial ambush at Judge Salas’s home days after the Deutsche Bank law­suit was assigned to her court:

    The Dai­ly Mail

    Fed­er­al judge’s son, 20, is shot dead and her crim­i­nal defense attor­ney hus­band is crit­i­cal­ly injured after a gun­man dis­guised as a FedEx dri­ver ambushed their home — four days after she was assigned a case linked to Jef­frey Epstein

    * A man dressed as a FedEx dri­ver opened fire at the home of judge Esther Salas
    The attack hap­pened in North Brunswick, New Jer­sey, on Sun­day night
    * Daniel Anderl, the judge’s 20-year-old son, was killed
    * Her hus­band Mark Anderl, 63, is report­ed­ly in a crit­i­cal con­di­tion in hos­pi­tal
    * Judge Salas is believed to have been in the base­ment dur­ing the shoot­ing
    * Last week, the judge was assigned a case involv­ing links to Jef­frey Epstein
    * She pre­vi­ous­ly presided over the tri­al of for­mer Real House­wife Tere­sa Giu­dice in a case regard­ing finan­cial fraud
    * She has also dealt with cas­es involv­ing mem­bers of the Grape Street Crips

    By ANDREW SNELL and JAMES GORDON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
    PUBLISHED: 22:08 EDT, 19 July 2020 | UPDATED: 03:11 EDT, 20 July 2020

    The son of a fed­er­al judge has been shot dead and her hus­band crit­i­cal­ly wound­ed after they were attacked at their home by a gun­man dressed as a FedEx dri­ver.

    The attack hap­pened at the home of Esther Salas, 51, an Oba­ma-appoint­ed Dis­trict Court judge, in North Brunswick, New Jer­sey, on Sun­day evening.

    The judge’s 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl was killed, and her defense attor­ney hus­band Mark Anderl, 63, was crit­i­cal­ly injured.

    The shoot­ing came days after the judge was assigned a case with links to Jef­fer­ey Epstein, although there is not yet any sug­ges­tion that the attack is linked to her work.

    The attack began at around 5pm when Mark Anderl answered the front door to the fam­i­ly home. He was shot sev­er­al times.

    Daniel, a stu­dent at Catholic Uni­ver­si­ty in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., then went to inves­ti­gate the com­mo­tion and was fatal­ly shot.

    The per­pe­tra­tor, believed to be a lone gun­man, then fled the scene and is not yet in cus­tody.

    Fran­cis ‘Mac’ Wom­ack, the may­or of North Brunswick, New Jer­sey, said that Daniel was ‘shot through the heart’.

    Mark is report­ed­ly in crit­i­cal but sta­ble con­di­tion at Robert Wood John­son Hos­pi­tal in New Brunswick.

    Judge Salas is believed to have been in the base­ment of the home dur­ing the shoot­ing and was unharmed in the attack, accord­ing to NBC New York.

    Neigh­bors told MyCen­tral­Jer­sey that police were knock­ing on doors ask­ing for any secu­ri­ty video footage of the area.

    ‘They are still here, not just the police but the FBI, there are agents all over the place,’ one woman told the news out­let. ‘It’s unbe­liev­able what is going on.’

    Anoth­er said: You don’t expect any­thing like this around here. We all know our neigh­bors, we all greet each oth­er and it’s a qui­et area.’

    Crime scene tape could be seen stretch­ing around the perime­ter of the fam­i­ly home locat­ed in the Hid­dlen Lake sec­tion of North Brunswick. The street had been closed off to traf­fic.

    Last week, on July 15, the judge was assigned to a case that had links to late sex abuser Jef­frey Epstein.

    The case Salas is pre­sid­ing over involves as ongo­ing law­suit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the com­pa­ny made false and mis­lead­ing state­ments about its anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing poli­cies and failed to mon­i­tor ‘high-risk’ cus­tomers includ­ing con­vict­ed sex offend­er bil­lion­aire Jef­frey Epstein.

    But her high­est-pro­file case in recent years was the finan­cial fraud case involv­ing hus­band-and-wife Real House­wives of New Jer­sey real­i­ty TV stars Tere­sa and Joe Giu­dice, whom Salas sen­tenced to prison for crimes includ­ing bank­rupt­cy fraud and tax eva­sion.

    Salas stag­gered their sen­tences so that one of them could be avail­able to take care of their four chil­dren.

    In 2017, she barred fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors from seek­ing the death penal­ty against an alleged gang leader charged in sev­er­al Newark slay­ings, rul­ing the man’s intel­lec­tu­al dis­abil­i­ty made him inel­i­gi­ble for cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment.

    Salas lat­er sen­tenced the man, the leader of the Newark Bloods street gang to 45 years in prison.

    She has also dealt with cas­es involv­ing mem­bers of the Grape Street Crips accord­ing to NJ.com. The case was con­nec­tion with a long-run­ning drug-traf­fick­ing net­work that was tak­en down by the FBI in 2015.

    Judge Salas had received death threats in the past but as of Sun­day night, author­i­ties have not sug­gest­ed the shoot­ings are linked to any of her pre­vi­ous cas­es.

    ‘As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but every­one is say­ing that recent­ly there had not been any,’ said May­or Wom­ack to ABC News, who is friends with the judge and her hus­band.

    ‘No words can express the sad­ness and loss we share tonight as a com­mu­ni­ty after sense­less shoot­ings of the hus­band and son of USDC Judge Esther Salas,’ she said.

    The may­or said inves­ti­ga­tors are now ‘try­ing to get a hard make on the vehi­cle’ to try and track the sus­pect.

    ‘We com­mit to do all we can to sup­port the fam­i­ly in this time, as well as all law enforce­ment agen­cies involved,’ Wom­ack said.

    The may­or not­ed how close the fam­i­ly appeared to be

    ‘He’s a very very exu­ber­ant, vibrant, one hun­dred per­cent pleas­ant per­son,’ Wom­ack said to CNN. ‘He loves to talk about his wife, and he loves to brag about his son, and how his son would excel in base­ball, and how he was doing down in col­lege in Wash­ing­ton ... I’m just very sor­ry to see him going through this.’

    The U.S. Mar­shals have also been called to pro­vide the judge with a secu­ri­ty detail, accord­ing to a law enforce­ment offi­cial.

    Salas had sat a judge on the U.S. Dis­trict Court for New Jer­sey in Newark, for nine years and was the first His­pan­ic woman to serve on the fed­er­al bench in the state.

    Before that she spent five years as a mag­is­trate judge, and nine years pri­or to that as a fed­er­al pub­lic defend­er before Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma nom­i­nat­ed her to serve as a Dis­trict Court Judge in 2010.

    The daugh­ter of a Cuban moth­er and a Mex­i­can father, Salas spent part of her child­hood on wel­fare after a fire destroyed her Union City apart­ment, accord­ing to The Globe.

    Her hus­band, Mark Anderl also works in legal cir­cles and served as an assis­tant pros­e­cu­tor in Essex Coun­ty, New Jer­sey for ten years before becom­ing a crim­i­nal defense attor­ney.

    Salas met her hus­band when he was work­ing as a pros­e­cu­tor and she was work­ing as a law school intern. He spot­ted her ‘get­ting fin­ger­print­ed’ and came over to talk to her, she told New Jer­sey Month­ly in Feb­ru­ary 2018. ‘We’ve been insep­a­ra­ble since 1992,’ she said.

    ...

    So far, police have not announced any arrests or named any sus­pects, how­ev­er the FBI tweet­ed it was look­ing for ‘one sub­ject’ in the shoot­ing.
    ———–

    “Fed­er­al judge’s son, 20, is shot dead and her crim­i­nal defense attor­ney hus­band is crit­i­cal­ly injured after a gun­man dis­guised as a FedEx dri­ver ambushed their home — four days after she was assigned a case linked to Jef­frey Epstein” by ANDREW SNELL and JAMES GORDON; The Dai­ly Mail; 07/19/2020

    The shoot­ing came days after the judge was assigned a case with links to Jef­fer­ey Epstein, although there is not yet any sug­ges­tion that the attack is linked to her work.”

    If some­one want­ed to send the juge a mes­sage about the law­suit hav­ing some­one attack her home and that would have been one way to do it, although it’s unclear how she would inter­pret that mes­sage giv­en that her hus­band was crit­i­cal­ly injured and only child was killed:

    ...
    The case Salas is pre­sid­ing over involves as ongo­ing law­suit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the com­pa­ny made false and mis­lead­ing state­ments about its anti-mon­ey laun­der­ing poli­cies and failed to mon­i­tor ‘high-risk’ cus­tomers includ­ing con­vict­ed sex offend­er bil­lion­aire Jef­frey Epstein.

    ...

    Judge Salas had received death threats in the past but as of Sun­day night, author­i­ties have not sug­gest­ed the shoot­ings are linked to any of her pre­vi­ous cas­es.

    ‘As a judge, she had threats from time to time, but every­one is say­ing that recent­ly there had not been any,’ said May­or Wom­ack to ABC News, who is friends with the judge and her hus­band.
    ...

    And now here’s a piece on Hol­lan­der’s back­ground after his body was found in a car with a FedEx pack­age addressed to the judge sev­er­al hours after the attack, along with doc­u­ments relat­ed to Marc Angeluc­ci who was killed a week ear­li­er:

    The Dai­ly Beast

    Men’s Rights Lawyer Eyed in Shoot­ing of NJ Judge’s Fam­i­ly

    Law enforce­ment sources say Roy Den Hol­lan­der was found dead of a self-inflict­ed gun­shot wound after the crime.

    Michael Daly
    Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

    Tra­cy Con­nor
    Exec­u­tive Edi­tor

    Updat­ed Jul. 20, 2020 5:02PM ET / Pub­lished Jul. 19, 2020 10:43PM ET

    The gun­man who shot the hus­band and son of a fed­er­al judge in New Jer­sey is believed to be a lawyer and men’s rights activist who was found dead of an appar­ent­ly self-inflict­ed gun­shot wound hours lat­er, two law-enforce­ment sources told The Dai­ly Beast.

    Roy Den Hol­lan­der was dis­cov­ered in the upstate New York town of Rock­land, the sources said. He had a case—a chal­lenge to the military’s male-only draft—pending before U.S. Dis­trict Court of New Jer­sey Judge Esther Salas, accord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

    Hol­lan­der described him­self on his web­site as an anti-fem­i­nist. “Now is the time for all good men to fight for their rights before they have no rights left,” it said. It also con­tained a list of misog­y­nis­tic com­ments under the head­ing “Jokes.”

    His fam­i­ly could not be reached for com­ment.

    His emer­gence as the sus­pect is a shock­ing twist in the Sun­day night shooting—when a man pos­si­bly dressed as a FedEx deliv­ery dri­ver showed up on Judge Esther Salas’ doorstep in North Brunswick, New Jer­sey.

    ...

    At 8:15 a.m. Mon­day, two Sul­li­van Coun­ty Depart­ment of Pub­lic Works employ­ees were doing storm clean-up when they saw a blue Toy­ota dri­ve past, head­ing towards a dead end, sources said. When they fin­ished work, they saw the car parked on the shoul­der of the road and found Hol­lan­der on the pas­sen­ger side with a gun­shot wound to the head.

    There was a .380 pis­tol under his body. They also found a FedEx pack­age addressed to the judge, and inves­ti­ga­tors believe the lawyer may have intend­ed to use it to get face-to-face with her, the law enforce­ment sources said. Police then obtained search war­rants for Hollander’s car and Man­hat­tan apart­ment.

    Hol­lan­der comes under scruti­ny a week after the vio­lent death of anoth­er promi­nent men’s rights fig­ure—Marc Angeluc­ci, an attor­ney who worked on sim­i­lar cas­es to Hol­lan­der and who was shot dead at his house. The San Bernardi­no Sheriff’s Office said Mon­day that no arrests have been made in Angelucci’s death.

    One law-enforce­ment said papers that men­tioned Angeluc­ci were found in or around Hollander’s car, though the nature of them was not clear and would not nec­es­sar­i­ly be unusu­al for one men’s rights attor­ney to have doc­u­ments that named anoth­er.

    Accord­ing to a GoFundMe account under his name and his Face­book page, Hol­lan­der had recent­ly bat­tled can­cer and seemed to be angry with his med­ical care. “The Stones in their song ‘Sym­pa­thy for the Dev­il’ left out one category—cancer doc­tors, not all, but many. Nine alleged fol­low­ers of the Hip­po­crat­ic Oath sent me (Roy Den Hol­lan­der) on an end of life hor­ror cross­ing the riv­er Styx that one can­cer doc­tor said would end dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son of 2019. Hope­ful­ly, things improve once I reach the oth­er side.”

    For years, he had filed suits alleg­ing that women get uncon­sti­tu­tion­al spe­cial treat­ment, push­ing to out­law Ladies’ Nights at bars and women’s stud­ies pro­grams at uni­ver­si­ties. Accord­ing to his web­site, it appears his for­ay in the men’s rights move­ment was sparked by his mar­riage to a Russ­ian woman he met while work­ing for the inves­tiga­tive firm Kroll Asso­ciates in the late 1990s; he alleges she was real­ly a pros­ti­tute who swin­dled him.

    In 2016, he also filed a ludi­crous suit against reporters from CBS News, NBC News, ABC News, CNN, PBS News Hour, The New York Times and The Wash­ing­ton Post, claim­ing their sto­ries on Pres­i­dent Trump amount­ed to a vio­la­tion of the anti-rack­e­teer­ing statute used to pros­e­cute mob­sters.

    In a 2013 inter­view with the New York Dai­ly News about the lat­est in his string of legal defeats, Hol­lan­der expressed frus­tra­tion.

    “I’m begin­ning to think it’s time for vig­i­lante justice—civil dis­obe­di­ence,” he said, telling the news­pa­per that he “may pull a Car­rie Nation on the Ladies’ Nights clubs.”

    The case Hol­lan­der was involved in as an advis­er that end­ed up in Salas’ court­room was filed in 2015 on behalf of the moth­er of a 17-year-old New Jer­sey girl who argued that the Selec­tive Ser­vice Sys­tem bar­ring females from reg­is­ter­ing for the draft while mak­ing it manda­to­ry for males was ille­gal.

    Oral argu­ments on a motion were sched­uled for last month but then post­poned due to “unfore­seen cir­cum­stances,” accord­ing to the case dock­et..=

    Salas, the first Lati­na judge to serve in New Jersey’s fed­er­al courts, was appoint­ed as a mag­is­trate judge in 2006 and a dis­trict judge in 2010. Raised in New Jer­sey, she pre­vi­ous­ly worked as a coun­ty pros­e­cu­tor and then a fed­er­al pub­lic defend­er.

    Last Thurs­day, Salas was assigned to be the judge on a law­suit brought by investors against Deutsche Bank and its CEO over its busi­ness deal­ings with the late con­vict­ed pedophile Jef­frey Epstein.

    ...

    ———–

    “Men’s Rights Lawyer Eyed in Shoot­ing of NJ Judge’s Fam­i­ly” by Michael Daly and Tra­cy Con­nor; The Dai­ly Beast; 07/20/2020

    “Hol­lan­der comes under scruti­ny a week after the vio­lent death of anoth­er promi­nent men’s rights fig­ure—Marc Angeluc­ci, an attor­ney who worked on sim­i­lar cas­es to Hol­lan­der and who was shot dead at his house. The San Bernardi­no Sheriff’s Office said Mon­day that no arrests have been made in Angelucci’s death.”

    A ter­mi­nal­ly ill Men’s Rights lawyer/activist kills a fel­low Men’s Rights lawyer/activist and then a week lat­er attacks the fam­i­ly of the judge in a Men’s Right case he’s pur­su­ing before killing him­self. Is that the entire expla­na­tion for the attack?

    ...
    One law-enforce­ment said papers that men­tioned Angeluc­ci were found in or around Hollander’s car, though the nature of them was not clear and would not nec­es­sar­i­ly be unusu­al for one men’s rights attor­ney to have doc­u­ments that named anoth­er.

    Accord­ing to a GoFundMe account under his name and his Face­book page, Hol­lan­der had recent­ly bat­tled can­cer and seemed to be angry with his med­ical care. “The Stones in their song ‘Sym­pa­thy for the Dev­il’ left out one category—cancer doc­tors, not all, but many. Nine alleged fol­low­ers of the Hip­po­crat­ic Oath sent me (Roy Den Hol­lan­der) on an end of life hor­ror cross­ing the riv­er Styx that one can­cer doc­tor said would end dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son of 2019. Hope­ful­ly, things improve once I reach the oth­er side.”

    For years, he had filed suits alleg­ing that women get uncon­sti­tu­tion­al spe­cial treat­ment, push­ing to out­law Ladies’ Nights at bars and women’s stud­ies pro­grams at uni­ver­si­ties. Accord­ing to his web­site, it appears his for­ay in the men’s rights move­ment was sparked by his mar­riage to a Russ­ian woman he met while work­ing for the inves­tiga­tive firm Kroll Asso­ciates in the late 1990s; he alleges she was real­ly a pros­ti­tute who swin­dled him.

    ...

    The case Hol­lan­der was involved in as an advis­er that end­ed up in Salas’ court­room was filed in 2015 on behalf of the moth­er of a 17-year-old New Jer­sey girl who argued that the Selec­tive Ser­vice Sys­tem bar­ring females from reg­is­ter­ing for the draft while mak­ing it manda­to­ry for males was ille­gal.

    Oral argu­ments on a motion were sched­uled for last month but then post­poned due to “unfore­seen cir­cum­stances,” accord­ing to the case dock­et.
    ...

    Is it a coin­ci­dence that a dying obscure far right fig­ure chose this moment to attack Judge Salas’s fam­i­ly days after a class action law­suit was filed that could crack open decades of dark secrets sit­ting in Deutsche Bank’s books? Is it a giant coin­ci­dence? On the sur­face it does indeed appear to be a giant coin­ci­dence. Then again, on the sur­face Deutsche Bank is a respectable bank and isn’t just a giant mon­ey-laun­der­ing cutout for some of the most pow­er­ful crim­i­nal net­works on the plan­et. Sur­face appear­ances can be deceiv­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 21, 2020, 10:41 am
  3. Here’s a set of arti­cles about the major investors behind the coro­n­avirus “Oxford vac­cine” that’s being devel­oped by Vac­citech, a com­pa­ny cre­at­ed by a pair of Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty researchers in part­ner­ship with AstraZeneca. As we’ll see, it turns out the two major investors in Vac­citech qui­et­ly and some­what scan­dalous­ly acquired their stakes in the com­pa­ny start­ing in mid-Octo­ber, mak­ing them per­haps two of the ‘luck­i­est’ investors of this entire pan­dem­ic. It also turns out one of those two major investors was Deutsche Bank’s glob­al head of equi­ty trad­ing until 2017, so a Deutsche Bank insid­er is play­ing a key role in this par­tic­u­lar vac­cine’s devel­op­ment. And giv­en that this is the vac­cine that is arguably win­ning the COVID vac­cine ‘race’ that makes this for­mer Deutsche Bank insid­er some­one who could end up play­ing a very impor­tant role in deter­min­ing how this pan­dem­ic plays out. And while it’s unclear if this for­mer Deutsche Bank exec­u­tive has ties direct­ly to Pres­i­dent Trump, the fact the Trump has long-stand­ing ties to the shady under­world of Deutsche Bank sug­gests this is a sto­ry worth keep­ing an eye on in part because it could be anoth­er avenue for Trump to exert influ­ence over the vac­cine race, espe­cial­ly in light of the grow­ing con­cerns that the Trump admin­is­tra­tion is going to some­how try to pre­ma­ture­ly approve a vac­cine before the Novem­ber elec­tions:

    As we’re going to see, while the vac­cine in ques­tion is typ­i­cal­ly referred to as the “Oxford vac­cine”, that’s a bit of a mis­nomer. The vac­cine is indeed being devel­oped by two Oxford researchers and Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty does have a small stake in the main ven­ture cap­i­tal firm invest­ed in Vac­citech, Oxford Sci­ences Inno­va­tion PLC (OSI). OSI, which was found­ed by the uni­ver­si­ty in 2015 to help cap­i­tal­ize on uni­ver­si­ty spin­offs owns, a 46 per­cent stake in Vac­citech. But the uni­ver­si­ty only holds about 5 per­cent of OSI, with the rest being held by pri­vate investors. So the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford owns about 5 per­cent of the firm that owns 46 per­cent of Vac­citech, mak­ing it a fair­ly small stake­hold­er in the whole enter­prise.

    There are a num­ber of dif­fer­ent high-pro­file investors in OSI, includ­ing Google’s ven­ture cap­i­tal firm GV and Chi­nese tele­com giant Huawei. Anoth­er Chi­nese con­glom­er­ate, Fos­un Inter­na­tion­al, holds around a 2.7% stake in OSI. But by far the largest share­hold in OSI is an invest­ment firm Braavos Cap­i­tal, which was incor­po­rat­ed on Octo­ber 16, 2019, by Andre Craw­ford-Brunt and Mag­da Wierzy­c­ka. Craw­ford-Brunt spent 22 years at Deutsche Bank — start­ing off as an open out­cry trad­er at Deutsche Bank in South Africa 1994 — and became Deutsche Bank’s glob­al head of equi­ty’s trad­ing until he retired in 2016. He also has a his­to­ry of invest­ing in oth­er high­tech Oxford spin­offs. Wierzy­c­ka is the wealth­i­est woman in South Africa. Craw­ford-Brunt joined the OSI board in Feb­ru­ary, after what was described as a peri­od of upheaval when OSI’s chief exec­u­tive and chair­man both depart­ed. So some sort of major shake­up at OSI recent­ly took place and Craw­ford-Brunt and Wierzy­c­ka appear to be at the heart of it.

    Now as we’re also going to see, Craw­ford-Brunt and Wierzy­c­ka are fac­ing con­flict of inter­est accu­sa­tions as a result of Braavos’s invest­ments in OSI. In May of this year, an investor in the South Afi­can invest­ment firm Syn­gia com­plained after a dis­clo­sure to Syn­gia investors in March revealed a num­ber of trans­ac­tions between Braavos Invest­ment Advis­ers in the UK, and Syg­nia sub­sidiaries. The let­ter indi­cat­ed that Braavos had been incor­po­rat­ed with two 50 per­cent part­ners, Craw­ford-Brunt and Wierzy­c­ka. Braavs agreed to enter into a ser­vices agree­ment with Syg­nia Asset Man­age­ment UK, (SAM UK), a sub­sidiary of Syg­nia, for infra­struc­ture, office space and oth­er sup­port. Braavos would pay an annu­al fee of about R13.9 mil­lion to SAM UK. But then anoth­er Syn­gia sub­sidiary, Syn­gia Life, would make invest­ments in Braavos’s pri­vate equi­ty funds, pay­ing Braavos a 1.5 per­cent plus 20 per­cent per­for­mance fee. As the investor not­ed, that’s a pricey fee for what is basi­cal­ly a pas­sive invest­ment. Adding to the prob­lem is that the fees could­n’t be nego­ti­at­ed. But here’s the worst part: Wierzy­c­ka is co-CEO of Syn­gia and Craw­ford-Brunt is a non-exec­u­tive direc­tor. So two top Syn­gia offi­cers, Craw­ford-Brunt and Wierzy­c­ka, basi­cal­ly set up Braavos back in Octo­ber as a shell com­pa­ny to skim the prof­its off of Syn­gia’s invest­ments in OSI and did­n’t inform their investors about this arrange­ment until March of this year, a month after Craw­ford-Brunt joined OSI’s board.

    And as we’ll see, it was dis­closed in Feb­ru­ary of this year that Braavos had been rapid­ly grow­ing its stake in OSI in the pri­or six months, acquir­ing a 20 per­cent stake at that time. But since Braavos was­n’t incor­po­rat­ed until Octo­ber 16, that 20 per­cent stake had to have been acquired in just a few months. That’s how rapid­ly Craw­ford-Brunt and Wierzy­c­ka acquired what is now the largest stake in the lead­ing coro­n­avirus vac­cine devel­op­er. Like two months before the out­break was offi­cial acknowl­edged. And let’s not for­get that, based on what we know now, there’s strong indi­ca­tions that the coro­n­avirus was already cir­cu­lat­ing the globe by the fall of last year, with a num­ber of ath­letes at the Wuhan Mil­i­tary World Games report­ing get­ting sick at the games or short­ly after (which would obvi­ous­ly raise the pos­si­bil­i­ty of some of them being sick before the games and bring­ing it there). And those Mil­i­tary World Games took place in the last week of Octo­ber. So Braavos was incor­po­rat­ed like days before what could have been a kind of glob­al super-spread­er event for the virus. The tim­ing is remark­able.

    Ok, first, here’s a Wall Street Jour­nal arti­cle that describes the Vac­citech investors and the broad array of dif­fer­ent investors in OSI, from Huawei to Google. But it’s Braavos Cap­i­tal that has emerged as the dom­i­nant force in OSI and only after a peri­od of tumult that saw its for­mer lead­er­ship leave the com­pa­ny:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal

    If Oxford’s Covid-19 Vac­cine Suc­ceeds, Lay­ers of Pri­vate Investors Could Prof­it
    The 900-year-old uni­ver­si­ty is com­pet­ing with the world’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal giants on a jab for Covid-19

    By Jen­ny Stras­burg
    Aug. 2, 2020 9:08 am ET

    In the race for a Covid-19 vac­cine, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford stands out. The 900-year-old school’s Jen­ner Insti­tute is com­pet­ing against a num­ber of large, pub­licly trad­ed phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies whose investors could gain hand­some­ly from an effec­tive jab.

    Even at Oxford, though, lay­ers of pri­vate investors are poised behind the scenes to prof­it if the vac­cine works. They include the uni­ver­si­ty itself, two of the sci­en­tists at the cen­ter of the program’s research and a lit­tle-known invest­ment firm start­ed last year by a for­mer Deutsche Bank AG equi­ties trad­er.

    The U.K. gov­ern­ment has invest­ed £5 mil­lion ($6.5 mil­lion) into one com­pa­ny, Vac­citech Ltd., whose tech­nol­o­gy is cen­tral to the vac­cine, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the invest­ment. Sev­er­al Chi­nese investors, includ­ing an invest­ment arm of Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co., have small stakes in a firm that ranks as Vaccitech’s biggest investor.

    The com­plex web of investors illus­trates the lit­tle-known finan­cial inter­ests often at play in the devel­op­ment of sci­en­tif­ic innovation—even at insti­tu­tions like Oxford that seem far removed from main­stream cor­po­rate and invest­ing worlds.

    Ear­ly last cen­tu­ry, Oxford aca­d­e­mics coaxed the first vats of peni­cillin for human use from lab­o­ra­to­ry tubs and bed­pans, rev­o­lu­tion­iz­ing the treat­ment of bac­te­r­i­al infec­tions. Today, the Covid-19 vac­cine project at Oxford is among a hand­ful of promis­ing efforts. It is com­pet­ing against sim­i­lar­ly advanced vac­cine tri­als by phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies like Pfiz­er Inc. and Mod­er­na Inc., as well as state- and mil­i­tary-backed efforts in Chi­na and Rus­sia.

    Oxford in April chose U.K. drug­mak­er AstraZeneca PLC to lead in mak­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing its vac­cine, should it ulti­mate­ly be approved for use. Shares of AstraZeneca have risen 12% this year, as investors weigh whether the vac­cine effort could be a mon­ey­maker. Report­ing earn­ings Thurs­day, AstraZeneca’s chief exec­u­tive told Bloomberg TV he expects to make a “rea­son­able prof­it” in wealth­i­er coun­tries from the vac­cine after the worst of the cri­sis is over.

    AstraZeneca share­hold­ers aren’t the only ones who could pros­per if the Oxford vac­cine works.

    Vac­citech, a pri­vate­ly held com­pa­ny co-found­ed by Sarah Gilbert and Adri­an Hill, two Oxford sci­en­tists lead­ing the vac­cine pro­gram, owns intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty cru­cial to the vaccine’s devel­op­ment. The two togeth­er now own rough­ly 10% of the com­pa­ny, accord­ing to a March pub­lic fil­ing.

    ...

    Vac­citech Chief Exec­u­tive Bill Enright said the com­pa­ny would ben­e­fit from a big chunk of the roy­al­ties from a suc­cess­ful vac­cine as well as “mile­stone” pay­ments, but only after the pan­dem­ic is declared over, accord­ing to the terms of its roy­al­ty agree­ment with Oxford. Mile­stones are nego­ti­at­ed fees based on hur­dles achieved, typ­i­cal­ly includ­ing reg­u­la­to­ry approval. Fur­ther details relat­ed to the Oxford deal aren’t pub­lic.

    A key part of Vaccitech’s tech­nol­o­gy uses a doc­tored form of a cold virus from a chim­panzee to boost the human immune sys­tem, rous­ing anti­bod­ies and dis­ease-fight­ing white blood cells to ward off infec­tion. Its use in a high-pro­file vac­cine like the one for Covid-19 could help val­i­date and sup­port Vaccitech’s tech­nol­o­gy for oth­er appli­ca­tions, focused on human papil­lo­mavirus, hepati­tis B and prostate can­cer.

    The com­pa­ny, which has 38 employ­ees, was val­ued last year at about $86 mil­lion after its most recent pri­ma­ry fund­ing round, accord­ing to com­pa­ny offi­cials. Oth­er investors include Alpha­bet Inc.’s GV, for­mer­ly called Google Ven­tures, and Sequoia Cap­i­tal Chi­na, an affil­i­ate of the Sil­i­con Val­ley ven­ture-cap­i­tal giant. The U.K. gov­ern­ment, via its Covid-19-focused Future Fund, invest­ed £5 mil­lion in recent weeks through a con­vert­ible note, essen­tial­ly a loan that can con­vert to equi­ty, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the mat­ter.

    Amid its involve­ment in the Oxford vac­cine, Vac­citech is talk­ing to investors in the hopes of rais­ing anoth­er $55 mil­lion, Mr. Enright and oth­er com­pa­ny offi­cials said. It is also con­sid­er­ing an ini­tial pub­lic offer­ing as ear­ly as next year, they said.

    Vac­citech is now one of the most valu­able com­pa­nies in the port­fo­lio of the uni­ver­si­ty-affil­i­at­ed Oxford Sci­ences Inno­va­tion PLC. OSI is a ven­ture firm the uni­ver­si­ty launched in 2015 to fund star­tups spun out from its var­i­ous research areas, from immunol­o­gy to quan­tum com­put­ing.

    The firm was designed to help Oxford catch up with oth­er pres­ti­gious insti­tu­tions, like the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy and Stan­ford Uni­ver­si­ty, turn­ing valu­able research into com­mer­cial ven­tures. OSI takes stakes in promis­ing com­pa­nies found­ed by fac­ul­ty or start­ed in the school’s labs, seek­ing to sup­port them while draw­ing in oth­er out­side investors as the star­tups grow.

    OSI owns a 46% stake in Vac­citech, accord­ing to investor doc­u­ments and peo­ple close to both firms. OSI’s port­fo­lio of 78 com­pa­nies also includes five oth­er Oxford spin­outs involved in some aspect of the Covid-19 response, accord­ing to an OSI investor update viewed by The Wall Street Jour­nal.

    OSI, in turn, has its own investor pool. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Oxford owns 5% of the firm. OSI has raised around £600 mil­lion from out­side investors includ­ing U.K. hedge fund Lans­downe Part­ners LLP, Alphabet’s GV and a Sequoia Cap­i­tal enti­ty man­ag­ing mon­ey for part­ners and entre­pre­neurs. An affil­i­ate of Chi­nese con­glom­er­ate Fos­un Inter­na­tion­al Ltd. holds a 2.7% OSI stake, accord­ing to a recent share­hold­er ros­ter reviewed by the Jour­nal.

    An invest­ment arm of Huawei owns a 0.7% stake in OSI, accord­ing to the ros­ter. The invest­ment was made in Octo­ber 2018, before Oxford in Jan­u­ary 2019 said it wouldn’t accept any more mon­ey from the Chi­nese tele­com giant, accord­ing to a per­son famil­iar with the mat­ter. The Trump admin­is­tra­tion says Huawei can use its equip­ment and employ­ees to spy on or dis­rupt net­works on behalf of Bei­jing. Huawei and Chi­nese offi­cials have denied any such inter­fer­ence.

    A Huawei spokesman said the com­pa­ny “owns stakes in a range of tech and inno­va­tion part­ners around the world.” Huawei has no spe­cial access to infor­ma­tion about port­fo­lio com­pa­nies, said Jim Wilkin­son, OSI’s inter­im chief exec­u­tive.

    OSI’s biggest investor, though, is Braavos Cap­i­tal, an invest­ment firm start­ed last year by Andre Craw­ford-Brunt, who was Deutsche Bank’s glob­al head of cash equi­ties trad­ing when he left in 2016. He long had a small per­son­al invest­ment in OSI and has invest­ed in Oxford spin­outs direct­ly. He has told investors that he launched Braavos—named after a wealthy, fic­tion­al city in the “Game of Thrones” stories—for the sole pur­pose of invest­ing in Oxford-based com­pa­nies. The firm is backed by South African-list­ed fund man­ag­er Syg­nia Ltd. and its co-chief exec­u­tive, Mag­da Wierzy­c­ka.

    Braavos now has a near­ly 20% share of OSI, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the two firms. Through its stake in OSI, Braavos holds about 9% of Vac­citech.

    Mr. Craw­ford-Brunt joined the OSI board in Feb­ru­ary, after a peri­od of strat­e­gy upheaval that includ­ed the depar­tures of OSI’s chief exec­u­tive and chair­man. Then the pan­dem­ic cat­a­pult­ed Oxford, the Jen­ner Insti­tute and Vac­citech onto the world stage.

    Braavos has since kicked into fundrais­ing mode, rais­ing £350 mil­lion in two new funds, accord­ing to Mr. Craw­ford-Brunt.

    Braavos has told investors it wants to boost its stake in OSI to 25%. How­ev­er, OSI offi­cials pri­vate­ly have said they pre­fer no one share­hold­er hold more than 20%, for a more diverse investor base, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions.

    “I have a very long-term view,” Mr. Craw­ford-Brunt said. “Covid has shone a huge light on what’s actu­al­ly going on at Oxford.”

    ————

    “If Oxford’s Covid-19 Vac­cine Suc­ceeds, Lay­ers of Pri­vate Investors Could Prof­it” by Jen­ny Stras­burg; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 08/02/2020

    OSI’s biggest investor, though, is Braavos Cap­i­tal, an invest­ment firm start­ed last year by Andre Craw­ford-Brunt, who was Deutsche Bank’s glob­al head of cash equi­ties trad­ing when he left in 2016. He long had a small per­son­al invest­ment in OSI and has invest­ed in Oxford spin­outs direct­ly. He has told investors that he launched Braavos—named after a wealthy, fic­tion­al city in the “Game of Thrones” stories—for the sole pur­pose of invest­ing in Oxford-based com­pa­nies. The firm is backed by South African-list­ed fund man­ag­er Syg­nia Ltd. and its co-chief exec­u­tive, Mag­da Wierzy­c­ka.

    Yes, the biggest investor in OSI hap­pens to be an invest­ment firm start­ed last year (Octo­ber 16) by the guy who was Deutsche Bank’s glob­al head of cash equi­ties trad­ing until he left the bank in 2016. Craw­ford-Brunt is now on the OSI board fol­low­ing the depar­ture of OSI’s chief exec­u­tive and chair­man. Braavos already has a 20 per­cent stake and appar­ent­ly wants to bump it up to 25 per­cent. So OSI has very recent­ly expe­ri­enced a kind of Braavos takeover just months before the scope of the pan­dem­ic real­ly became clear:

    ...
    Braavos now has a near­ly 20% share of OSI, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the two firms. Through its stake in OSI, Braavos holds about 9% of Vac­citech.

    Mr. Craw­ford-Brunt joined the OSI board in Feb­ru­ary, after a peri­od of strat­e­gy upheaval that includ­ed the depar­tures of OSI’s chief exec­u­tive and chair­man. Then the pan­dem­ic cat­a­pult­ed Oxford, the Jen­ner Insti­tute and Vac­citech onto the world stage.

    Braavos has since kicked into fundrais­ing mode, rais­ing £350 mil­lion in two new funds, accord­ing to Mr. Craw­ford-Brunt.

    Braavos has told investors it wants to boost its stake in OSI to 25%. How­ev­er, OSI offi­cials pri­vate­ly have said they pre­fer no one share­hold­er hold more than 20%, for a more diverse investor base, accord­ing to peo­ple famil­iar with the dis­cus­sions.

    “I have a very long-term view,” Mr. Craw­ford-Brunt said. “Covid has shone a huge light on what’s actu­al­ly going on at Oxford.”
    ...

    Now here’s a quick piece for August of 2017 about Craw­ford-Brunt leav­ing Deutsche Bank that gives us a bit of an idea about his 22 year career there and his sub­se­quent inter­est Oxford-relat­ed invest­ments:

    eFi­nan­cial Careers

    Deutsche Bank’s ex-glob­al head of equi­ties: Invest­ment banks have yet to ‘drain the swamp’

    by Paul Clarke 15 August 2017

    In July last year, after more than 22 years in invest­ment bank­ing, Deutsche Bank’s glob­al head of equi­ty trad­ing, Andre Craw­ford Brunt, decid­ed it was time to get “intel­lec­tu­al­ly hon­est” with him­self. This meant leav­ing the indus­try.

    Craw­ford Brunt start­ed out as an open out­cry trad­er at Deutsche Bank in South Africa 1994, and has since spent his entire career at the bank in senior roles across Lon­don and New York. Over the years, he man­aged to sur­vive and thrive in a sec­tor of invest­ment bank­ing that has become almost entire­ly elec­tron­ic. He has, he admits, “been blessed with a long and fruit­ful career”.

    “But If I was intel­lec­tu­al­ly hon­est with myself, the chal­lenge was no longer there. Banks were being dis­rupt­ed and were, in my view, far more like­ly to defend the sta­tus quo than ‘drain the swamp’,” he says.

    Invest­ment banks’ equi­ties desks in par­tic­u­lar have been dec­i­mat­ed over the past few years. Gold­man Sachs said ear­li­er this year that it had 600 equi­ties traders in 2000, and now has two peo­ple sup­port­ed by a team of pro­gram­mers. Even this year, banks are still chip­ping away at their equi­ties teams – Deutsche Bank said in Feb­ru­ary it was cut­ting anoth­er 17% of its equi­ties staff glob­al­ly. Elec­tron­i­fi­ca­tion of equi­ties is not the only issue, how­ev­er, says Craw­ford Brunt.

    ...

    Craw­ford Brunt is a board mem­ber of a South African firm that tests embryos for genet­ic abnor­mal­i­ties, called Gen­e­sis Genet­ics. He’s also chair of an Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty-based spin­out focused on the blood diag­nos­tics sec­tor (“or, as I call it, the Ther­a­nos that works”) and has fund­ed Deep Sci­ence Ven­tures – a pro­gramme that brings togeth­er sci­en­tists, experts and investors to get new sci­ence-based ven­tures off the ground.

    If this seems a far cry away from the trad­ing floor, he tells us that invest­ment bank­ing has helped open up doors for poten­tial invest­ments.

    “Being in invest­ment bank­ing over the last two decades has enabled me to trav­el, meet some very dynam­ic and inter­est­ing peo­ple around the world, some of whom I have end­ed up invest­ing in,” he says.

    ...

    ———–

    “Deutsche Bank’s ex-glob­al head of equi­ties: Invest­ment banks have yet to ‘drain the swamp’ ” by Paul Clarke; eFi­nan­cial Careers; 08/15/2017

    Craw­ford Brunt is a board mem­ber of a South African firm that tests embryos for genet­ic abnor­mal­i­ties, called Gen­e­sis Genet­ics. He’s also chair of an Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty-based spin­out focused on the blood diag­nos­tics sec­tor (“or, as I call it, the Ther­a­nos that works”) and has fund­ed Deep Sci­ence Ven­tures – a pro­gramme that brings togeth­er sci­en­tists, experts and investors to get new sci­ence-based ven­tures off the ground.”

    So tech­nol­o­gy invest­ments aren’t new for Craw­ford-Brunt, in par­tic­u­lar Oxford-relat­ed tech­nol­o­gy invest­ments, even if his invest­ments in OSI through Braavos are very new. As the fol­low­ing arti­cle from Feb­ru­ary describes, it was only at that point in mid Feb­ru­ary that Braavos’s 20 per­cent stake in OSI was pub­licly revealed and that Andre Craw­ford-Brunt was going to be join­ing the OSI exec­u­tive board. This was just days after the for­mer OSI chair­man, Patrick Pichette, stepped down. As the arti­cle notes, Pichet­te’s depar­ture was pre­ced­ed by depar­ture of the for­mer chief exec­u­tive of OSI, Charles Conn, in Novem­ber. So both of these high pro­file depar­tures took place short­ly after the for­ma­tion of Braavos Cap­i­tal (incor­po­rat­ed on Octo­ber 16) and Braavo’s rapid acqui­si­tion of OSI shares and Craw­ford-Brunt join­ing the OSI board:

    The Tele­graph

    South African fund press­es for change at Oxford University’s spin-out fund
    Oxford Sci­ences Inno­va­tion’s chair­man and chief exec­u­tive have both left in the past few months

    By Han­nah Boland
    14 Feb­ru­ary 2020 • 6:00am

    A fund backed by South Africa’s rich­est woman has emerged as the biggest share­hold­er in Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty’s £600m spin-out arm, which has been rocked by a board­room rift over strat­e­gy.

    The Tele­graph under­stands that Braavos Cap­i­tal, an invest­ment vehi­cle whose part­ners include bil­lion­aire Mag­da Wierzy­c­ka, has built up around a 20pc stake in Oxford Sci­ences Inno­va­tion (OSI) dur­ing the past six months, buy­ing shares from Neil Wood­ford’s fund, IP Group and Invesco.

    Mr Wood­ford sold out of the incu­ba­tor last May, fol­low­ing a string of prob­lems at his fund.

    OSI was estab­lished in 2013 as a uni­ver­si­ty ven­ture fund to invest in some of Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty’s most promis­ing spin-out com­pa­nies. Oth­er share­hold­ers include Google Ven­tures, Ten­cent and Huawei, the Chi­nese tele­coms giant.

    Details of the share­hold­ing have emerged just days after Patrick Pichette, the for­mer Google chief finan­cial offi­cer, stepped down as chair­man of OSI, fol­low­ing the exit of Charles Conn, the for­mer chief exec­u­tive who left in Novem­ber. Both men had joined less than a year ago.

    Andre Craw­ford-Brunt, anoth­er of Braavos Cap­i­tal’s part­ners, is thought to have dri­ven the invest­ment in OSI, and will take up a board seat.

    Sources said a “mis­align­ment in views” over the direc­tion to take for the fund was behind the depar­tures, with investors includ­ing Mr Craw­ford-Brunt push­ing for Mr Conn to leave. Mr Conn declined to com­ment.

    In a state­ment ear­li­er this week, OSI said Mr Pichette had quit to focus on oth­er inter­na­tion­al com­mit­ments. As well as OSI, he helped launch the Cre­ative Destruc­tion Lab men­tor­ship pro­gramme in Oxford, and holds a board seat at Twit­ter. He is thought to have also been try­ing to push through reform.

    He said: “I wish to thank man­age­ment and the Board for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to serve OSI for the last year and look for­ward to the company’s next phase of growth.”

    Jim Wilkin­son, inter­im chief exec­u­tive at OSI, said: “Over the last four years, OSI has trans­formed the ecosys­tem in Oxford, increas­ing by four­fold the num­ber of uni­ver­si­ty spin-out com­pa­nies and attract­ing sig­nif­i­cant glob­al invest­ment and tal­ent to the UK tech indus­try.

    ...

    ———-

    “South African fund press­es for change at Oxford University’s spin-out fund” by Han­nah Boland; The Tele­graph; 02/14/2020

    “Details of the share­hold­ing have emerged just days after Patrick Pichette, the for­mer Google chief finan­cial offi­cer, stepped down as chair­man of OSI, fol­low­ing the exit of Charles Conn, the for­mer chief exec­u­tive who left in Novem­ber. Both men had joined less than a year ago.”

    Two high-pro­file depar­tures of OSI fig­ures who had both been at the com­pa­ny for less than a year due to a “mis­align­ment in views”. That’s the inter­nal tumult at OSI what coin­cid­ed with the rise of the Braavos stake in the firm, fol­lowed by Andre Craw­ford-Brunt tak­ing a posi­tion on the board. The was a pow­er bat­tle and the Braavos group won...just as the pan­dem­ic was start­ing to emerge on the world stage.

    But Braavos’s invest­ments in OSI weren’t done just for the ben­e­fit of Craw­ford-Brunt or Mag­da Wierzy­c­ka. This was osten­si­bly being done on behalf of Syn­gia. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle from May describes, that work Braavos was doing on behalf of Syn­gia was extreme­ly well com­pen­sat­ed work. And it was only in March that investors were for­mal­ly informed about it. Keep in mind that the above arti­cle reveal­ing Braavos’s 20 per­cent state in OSI was pub­lished in Feb­ru­ary, so the involve­ment with Braavos and OSI was appar­ent­ly first revealed at that point, a month before Syn­gia sent out its let­ter to investors explain­ing that Braavos was invest­ing on behalf of Syn­gia:

    IOL.co.za

    Syg­nia investor rais­es con­flict of inter­est con­cerns as firm expects earn­ings growth

    By Edward West
    pub­lished May 28, 2020

    CAPE TOWN – Asset man­age­ment firm Syg­nia said on Wednes­day that head­line earn­ings per share were expect­ed to increase by between 86 and 105 per­cent for the six months to March 31, 2019.

    The trad­ing state­ment was released at about the same time that a Syg­nia investor, who wished to remain anony­mous, raised sev­er­al con­flict of inter­est con­cerns to Busi­ness Report about Syg­nia, its man­age­ment as well as a UK sub­sidiary Braavos.

    Syg­nia said in the trad­ing state­ment that head­line earn­ings were expect­ed to be between 59 and 65 cents per share, com­pared with 31.7 cents at March 31, 2019.

    The com­pa­ny intends to pub­lish its annu­al results on or about June 10.

    Last month Syg­nia said David Hufton has been appoint­ed as the joint chief exec­u­tive of Syg­nia, with imme­di­ate effect.

    Hufton was pre­vi­ous­ly deputy chief exec­u­tive of Syg­nia, and pri­or to join­ing Syg­nia in Feb­ru­ary 2016, was a mem­ber of the exec­u­tive com­mit­tee of Alexan­der Forbes Finan­cial Ser­vices for many years.

    In March, Syg­nia dis­closed a num­ber of “small” relat­ed par­ty trans­ac­tions between Braavos Invest­ment Advis­ers in the UK, and Syg­nia sub­sidiaries.

    Braavos was reg­is­tered in Eng­land Eales with two 50 per­cent part­ners, Syg­nia joint chief exec­u­tive Mag­da Wierzy­c­ka and Andre Craw­ford-Brunt, a non-exec­u­tive direc­tor of Syg­nia.

    Braavos intend­ed to enter into a ser­vices agree­ment with Syg­nia Asset Man­age­ment UK, (SAM UK), a sub­sidiary of Syg­nia, for infra­struc­ture, office space and oth­er sup­port, for which Braavos would pay an annu­al fee of about R13.9 mil­lion to SAM UK.

    Then, Syg­nia Life intend­ed to make invest­ments into Braavos Cap­i­tal I Lim­it­ed Part­ner­ship and Braavos Cap­i­tal II Lim­it­ed Part­ner­ship, which are ven­ture capital/private equi­ty funds reg­is­tered in Guernsey. The aim of these invest­ments were to max­imise Syg­nia Life returns for its stake­hold­ers.

    Braavos, Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt would be appoint­ed as the invest­ment advis­ers and direc­tors respec­tive­ly of the funds.

    The Syg­nia investor claimed there were numer­ous con­flicts of inter­est in these trans­ac­tions that were of con­cern to him.

    These relat­ed to fees on pol­i­cy­hold­ers’ funds; the high fees being charged on pol­i­cy­hold­er funds (1.5 per­cent plus 20 per­cent per­for­mance fee) for what was essen­tial­ly a pas­sive invest­ment; the fact that the fees could not be nego­ti­at­ed; the fact the pol­i­cy hold­ers were invest­ing in high-risk ven­ture cap­i­tal funds; why the estab­lish­ment of Braavos had not been dis­closed to share­hold­ers, and the con­flicts of inter­est in the direc­tor­ships of Syg­nia and Braavos.

    Syg­nia said on Wednes­day in response to ques­tions on these mat­ters that “unfor­tu­nate­ly there is no com­ment or feed­back at this stage”.

    This month Wierzy­c­ka, accord­ing to media reports, announced she had bought shares in OSI, a com­pa­ny that trans­forms patents from Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty into viable busi­ness­es.

    Sygnia’s share price was up by 16.05 per­cent clos­ing at R9.70 a share on the JSE on Wednes­day.

    ————

    “Syg­nia investor rais­es con­flict of inter­est con­cerns as firm expects earn­ings growth” by Edward West; IOL.co.za; 05/28/2020

    “These relat­ed to fees on pol­i­cy­hold­ers’ funds; the high fees being charged on pol­i­cy­hold­er funds (1.5 per­cent plus 20 per­cent per­for­mance fee) for what was essen­tial­ly a pas­sive invest­ment; the fact that the fees could not be nego­ti­at­ed; the fact the pol­i­cy hold­ers were invest­ing in high-risk ven­ture cap­i­tal funds; why the estab­lish­ment of Braavos had not been dis­closed to share­hold­ers, and the con­flicts of inter­est in the direc­tor­ships of Syg­nia and Braavos.”

    Those are quite a few com­plaints that appear to be very legit­i­mate. And note this inter­est­ing tid­bit: Wierzy­c­ka announced in May that she bought shares in OSI. So are those shares out­side of the Braavos/Syngia invest­ment in OSI? If so, that would be one way for Wierzy­ck­a/Craw­ford-Brunt to effec­tive­ly acquire more than a 20 per­cent OSI stake:

    ...
    This month Wierzy­c­ka, accord­ing to media reports, announced she had bought shares in OSI, a com­pa­ny that trans­forms patents from Oxford Uni­ver­si­ty into viable busi­ness­es.
    ...

    So at that point it’s kind of a mys­tery as to how much of OSI is ulti­mate­ly under the con­trol of Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt. Now here’s anoth­er arti­cle from ear­ly June that gives more infor­ma­tion on this con­flict of inter­est com­plaint and the time­line of when Braavos was estab­lished. And as the arti­cle notes, it was Octo­ber 16 when Braavos was incor­po­rat­ed but investors weren’t informed about this until Syn­gia’s March investor newslet­ter. So the sud­den acqui­si­tion of 20 per­cent (or more) of OSI by Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt osten­si­bly on behalf of Syn­gia was very recent and very qui­et. Qui­et enough that even Syn­gia’s investors did­n’t know about it until after that 20 per­cent stake had been acquired:

    IOL.co.za

    Syg­nia boss­es in con­flict of inter­est query

    By Sizwe Dlami­ni
    pub­lished Jul 2, 2020

    JOHANNESBURG – JSE-list­ed asset man­age­ment com­pa­ny Sygnia’s direc­tors may be caught up in a per­ceived con­flict of inter­est after chief exec­u­tive Mag­da Wierzy­c­ka and non-exec­u­tive direc­tor Andre Craw­ford-Brunt set up a com­pet­ing reg­is­tered busi­ness in the UK.

    Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt are the two direc­tors of Braavos Invest­ment Advis­ers, a com­pa­ny incor­po­rat­ed on Octo­ber 16 last year with the reg­is­tered office in Lon­don, UK.

    ...

    At the time Braavos was incor­po­rat­ed Wierzy­c­ka was, and still is, the chief exec­u­tive of Syg­nia and, accord­ing to a Syg­nia investor who pre­ferred to remain anony­mous, they might have had board approval “and this should have been announced”.

    No announce­ment was made in this regard.

    They did, how­ev­er, announce a relat­ed-par­ty trans­ac­tion in March where Braavos was enter­ing into a con­tract with Syg­nia Asset Man­age­ment UK and Syg­nia Life, but at no point did they declare a pos­si­ble con­flict of inter­est by allow­ing Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt to set up the com­pet­ing busi­ness in Lon­don.

    The JSE’s code of ethics dic­tates that exec­u­tives should remain trans­par­ent and hon­est in all pro­fes­sion­al and busi­ness rela­tion­ships and should not allow bias, con­flict of inter­est or undue influ­ence of oth­ers.

    JSE direc­tor of issuer reg­u­la­tion Andre Viss­er said the agree­ments were treat­ed pur­suant to relat­ed par­ty pro­vi­sions of the JSE list­ings require­ments and accom­pa­nied with two fair­ness opin­ions from an inde­pen­dent expert.

    Viss­er then referred to the Stock Exchange News Ser­vice (Sens) state­ment announc­ing the relat­ed-par­ty trans­ac­tion.

    When reached, Wierzy­c­ka said: “Before you ven­ture down the path of fur­ther defama­tion let me state the fol­low­ing: all nec­es­sary dis­clo­sures were made to the board of direc­tors of Syg­nia Life and the JSE. All nec­es­sary approvals were for­mal­ly grant­ed by the board of direc­tors and the JSE. All dis­clo­sures as per the JSE list­ing require­ments were made to share­hold­ers.”

    She was respond­ing to ques­tions posed to her on why Syg­nia share­hold­ers were not noti­fied at the time of the incor­po­ra­tion of Braavos in Octo­ber 2019. Wierzy­c­ka did not com­ment on what Syg­nia Asset Management’s func­tion was and what clients it cur­rent­ly had.

    The con­cern raised by the investor is that on Octo­ber 16, when Braavos was incor­po­rat­ed, the share­hold­ers were nev­er informed. They only found out about the Braavos incor­po­ra­tion when Syg­nia announced relat­ed-par­ty trans­ac­tions “and that is pro­ce­du­ral­ly flawed”.

    The Finan­cial Ser­vices Con­duct Authority’s (FSCA’s) divi­sion­al exec­u­tive of con­duct of busi­ness super­vi­sion, Ked­i­bone Dikok­we, said finan­cial ser­vice providers (FSPs) were required to avoid con­flict of inter­est.

    “In instances where this is not pos­si­ble, to mit­i­gate any con­flict of inter­est an FSP must in writ­ing dis­close to clients the con­flict of inter­est and mea­sures tak­en in accor­dance with the con­flict of inter­est man­age­ment pol­i­cy of the provider to avoid or mit­i­gate the con­flict.

    “A provider must pub­lish its con­flict of inter­est man­age­ment pol­i­cy in appro­pri­ate media and ensure that it is eas­i­ly acces­si­ble for pub­lic inspec­tion at all rea­son­able times,” she said.

    Dikok­we, how­ev­er, said there was no require­ment for FSPs to make the FSCA aware of the incor­po­ra­tion of off-shore enti­ties. “They only have to noti­fy us if any infor­ma­tion that they have pro­vid­ed in their appli­ca­tion forms changes. The FSCA would assess whether the enti­ty has dis­closed the con­flict of inter­est to clients… and that it does not result in unfair out­comes for investors,” she said.

    The Sens announce­ment stat­ed that Braavos, whose two direc­tors are Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt, would enter into a ser­vices agree­ment with Syg­nia Asset Man­age­ment UK, a whol­ly owned sub­sidiary of Syg­nia.

    “Syg­nia Life Lim­it­ed, a whol­ly owned sub­sidiary of Syg­nia, intends mak­ing invest­ments into Braavos Cap­i­tal I Lim­it­ed Part­ner­ship (BC I LP) and Braavos Cap­i­tal II Lim­it­ed Part­ner­ship (BC II LP). BC I LP and BC II LP are ven­ture capital/private equi­ty funds reg­is­tered in Guernsey, each hav­ing a max­i­mum dura­tion of four and 10 years respec­tive­ly. The invest­ments into the funds are to be made in the ordi­nary course of Syg­nia Life’s busi­ness as a finan­cial insti­tu­tion to max­imise returns for its stake­hold­ers,” reads the state­ment in part.

    It turns out that eight months lat­er a fund called Oxford Sci­ences Inno­va­tion in which Syg­nia Life has invest­ed R1.6 bil­lion is man­aged by Braavos. Syg­nia Life is charged a 1.8 per­cent man­age­ment fee annu­al­ly and the appoint­ed man­agers are Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt.

    ———–

    “Syg­nia boss­es in con­flict of inter­est query” by Sizwe Dlami­ni; IOL.co.za; 07/02/2020

    “They did, how­ev­er, announce a relat­ed-par­ty trans­ac­tion in March where Braavos was enter­ing into a con­tract with Syg­nia Asset Man­age­ment UK and Syg­nia Life, but at no point did they declare a pos­si­ble con­flict of inter­est by allow­ing Wierzy­c­ka and Craw­ford-Brunt to set up the com­pet­ing busi­ness in Lon­don.”

    That’s how shady this whole sit­u­a­tion is: even when Syn­gia belat­ed­ly sent out noti­fi­ca­tion of the fund’s new arrange­ments with Braavos in March of this year, five months after Braavos’s Octo­ber 16th incor­po­ra­tion, at no point in this let­ter to investors did they men­tion the obvi­ous con­flict of inter­est of Braavos being set up and run by two Syn­gia offi­cers:

    ...
    When reached, Wierzy­c­ka said: “Before you ven­ture down the path of fur­ther defama­tion let me state the fol­low­ing: all nec­es­sary dis­clo­sures were made to the board of direc­tors of Syg­nia Life and the JSE. All nec­es­sary approvals were for­mal­ly grant­ed by the board of direc­tors and the JSE. All dis­clo­sures as per the JSE list­ing require­ments were made to share­hold­ers.”

    She was respond­ing to ques­tions posed to her on why Syg­nia share­hold­ers were not noti­fied at the time of the incor­po­ra­tion of Braavos in Octo­ber 2019. Wierzy­c­ka did not com­ment on what Syg­nia Asset Management’s func­tion was and what clients it cur­rent­ly had.

    The con­cern raised by the investor is that on Octo­ber 16, when Braavos was incor­po­rat­ed, the share­hold­ers were nev­er informed. They only found out about the Braavos incor­po­ra­tion when Syg­nia announced relat­ed-par­ty trans­ac­tions “and that is pro­ce­du­ral­ly flawed”.
    ...

    So that con­flict of inter­est sto­ry is going to be inter­est­ing to watch, espe­cial­ly if Vac­citech real­ly does win the vac­cine race and the much hoped for mas­sive prof­its mate­ri­al­ize. The more the prof­its the more incen­tive there’s going to be for peo­ple to fight about this con­flict of inter­est.

    Final­ly, here’s an arti­cle from Jan­u­ary of 2018 that gives us an idea why Vac­citech was well-posi­tion to devel­op a coro­n­avirus vac­cine on such short notice. The arti­cle is about Google’s ven­ture cap­i­tal firm, GV, decid­ing to invest in Vac­citech, which was focused at the time on devel­op­ing a uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine that would­n’t have to be mod­i­fied each year to deal with the con­stant­ly chang­ing strains of flu virus in cir­cu­la­tion. The nov­el idea for their approach to a flu vac­cine is to build the vac­cine using pro­teins from the core of the influen­za virus instead of pro­teins on the sur­face because sur­face pro­teins (like the now-noto­ri­ous “Spike” S‑protein) tend to mutate at much high­er rates than inter­nal pro­teins. If a vac­cine that tar­gets inter­nal influen­za virus pro­teins can be devel­oped it can in the­o­ry work for years all over the globe. That was the big prize Vac­citech was pur­su­ing. But there were oth­er prod­ucts Vac­citech was work­ing on includ­ing includ­ing a Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS) vac­cine that the com­pa­ny was already run­ning clin­i­cal stud­ies on. So the COVID-19 vac­cine Vac­citech is work­ing on is pre­sum­ably a vari­a­tion the MERS vac­cine it already had in clin­i­cal stud­ies:

    Reuters

    Google ven­ture arm backs UK uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine com­pa­ny

    Jan­u­ary 14, 2018 / 6:14 PM

    (This ver­sion of the Jan. 15 sto­ry has been cor­rect­ed to remove ref­er­ence to first time that a uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine has pro­gressed beyond Phase I)

    LONDON (Reuters) — A pri­vate British com­pa­ny devel­op­ing a vac­cine that could be the first in the world to fight all types of flu has raised 20 mil­lion pounds ($27 mil­lion) from investors includ­ing GV, the ven­ture cap­i­tal arm of Google par­ent Alpha­bet Inc.

    Vac­citech, a spin-out found­ed by sci­en­tists at Oxford University’s Jen­ner Insti­tute, said on Mon­day the cash would help fund its vac­cine through a two-year clin­i­cal tri­al involv­ing more than 2,000 patients and expand oth­er projects.

    The group is also run­ning clin­i­cal stud­ies on an exper­i­men­tal shot to pre­vent Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS) and a ther­a­peu­tic prostate can­cer vac­cine for use with an immunother­a­py drug. Recent advances have made such vac­cine-drug com­bi­na­tions a hot area of can­cer research.

    A so-called uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine that elic­its immu­ni­ty against parts of the virus that do not change from year to year is a holy grail of med­i­cine — but so far it has proved elu­sive.

    Cur­rent flu vac­cines have to be changed each year to match strains of virus cir­cu­lat­ing at the time. The hope is the new one-size-fits-all vac­cine will pro­vide bet­ter and longer-last­ing pro­tec­tion.

    Vaccitech’s new vac­cine works by using pro­teins found in the core of the virus rather than those on its sur­face. Sur­face pro­teins stick out like pins from the virus and change all the time, while those in the core are sta­ble.

    It also stim­u­lates T‑cells rather than anti­bod­ies — an approach that has yet to con­vince exist­ing flu vac­cine man­u­fac­tur­ers like Sanofi, Glax­o­SmithK­line and CSL’s Seqirus.

    Still, Vac­citech Chief Exec­u­tive Tom Evans is con­fi­dent the big play­ers will come around if the cur­rent mid-stage clin­i­cal tri­al is a suc­cess and he will not have a prob­lem in find­ing a part­ner to take the prod­uct into final-stage Phase III tests.

    ...

    If all goes well, Vaccitech’s shot could poten­tial­ly be ready for launch in 2023, although Evans said 2024 or 2025 might be more real­is­tic. That means finan­cial back­ers need to take a long view, espe­cial­ly as its oth­er pro­grams using T‑cells to make vac­cines against can­cer, MERS, hepati­tis B and human papil­lo­mavirus are also at an ear­ly stage.

    “We want­ed peo­ple who were will­ing to stick with us for a while and had big­ger pock­ets for doing sec­ondary rounds,” Evans said.

    Vaccitech’s lat­est financ­ing round was also sup­port­ed by Sequoia Chi­na and Oxford Sci­ences Inno­va­tion.

    ————-

    “Google ven­ture arm backs UK uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine com­pa­ny”; Reuters; 01/14/2018

    Vaccitech’s new vac­cine works by using pro­teins found in the core of the virus rather than those on its sur­face. Sur­face pro­teins stick out like pins from the virus and change all the time, while those in the core are sta­ble.”

    A sta­ble flu vac­cine. It’s a neat con­cept. Let’s hope they can get it to work. But it’s the clin­i­cal stud­ies on a MERS vac­cine that is real­ly invalu­able in the cur­rent pan­dem­ic:

    ...
    The group is also run­ning clin­i­cal stud­ies on an exper­i­men­tal shot to pre­vent Mid­dle East Res­pi­ra­to­ry Syn­drome (MERS) and a ther­a­peu­tic prostate can­cer vac­cine for use with an immunother­a­py drug. Recent advances have made such vac­cine-drug com­bi­na­tions a hot area of can­cer research.
    ...

    And that’s all part of what makes the remark­ably for­tu­itous yet scan­dalous invest­ments by Braavos in OSI so fas­ci­nat­ing in the con­text of the pan­dem­ic began short­ly after Braavos was formed (and poten­tial­ly was cir­cu­lat­ing even before Braavos was formed): Vac­citech was­n’t just a com­pa­ny work­ing on a uni­ver­sal flu vac­cine. It was also a com­pa­ny with clin­i­cal tri­als for a MERS vac­cine, which would have made it one of the most pre­cious com­pa­nies on the plan­et by the time the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic had clear­ly become a glob­al men­ace. But it was­n’t until around Feb­ru­ary that it became clear that the virus was going to be a glob­al prob­lem and by then Braavos had qui­et­ly acquired at least 20 per­cent of OSI over the pri­or sev­er­al months. So was that remark­able tim­ing just dumb luck on behalf of Braavos? Because if not, there’s some oth­er ques­tions that need to be asked dur­ing this con­flict-of-inter­est inves­ti­ga­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 6, 2020, 12:24 pm
  4. Inter­est­ing tim­ing: The two Deutsche Bank employ­ees in charge of man­ag­ing the rela­tion­ship between bank’s pri­vate bank­ing divi­sion and the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion just announced their retire­ment at the end of the year. Both Rose­mary Vrablic and Dominic Scalzi had their retire­ments announced in the same state­ment by the bank.

    Recall the inter­est­ing terms of Vrablic’s hir­ing back in 2006, where she was giv­en unusu­al­ly lax over­sight that allowed her to report direct­ly to Thomas Bow­ers, the head of the Amer­i­can wealth-man­age­ment divi­sion. And then Bow­ers alleged­ly ‘com­mit sui­cide’ back in Novem­ber of 2019. Also keep in mind that once Pres­i­dent Trump leaves the White House, the odds of a seri­ous inves­ti­ga­tion into the Trump Org’s his­to­ry with Deutsche Bank are only set to increase in com­ing years. And now two of the key wit­ness­es of that his­to­ry joint­ly announced their retire­ments:

    CNN Busi­ness

    Trump’s pri­vate bankers resign from Deutsche Bank

    By Kara Scan­nell, CNN Busi­ness

    Updat­ed 4:00 PM ET, Tue Decem­ber 22, 2020

    New York (CNN Business)The pri­vate bankers respon­si­ble for lend­ing to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Jared Kush­n­er have resigned from Deutsche Bank, the bank said.

    “Rose­mary Vrablic and Dominic Scalzi have ten­dered their res­ig­na­tions to Deutsche Bank effec­tive as of year-end, which was accept­ed by the bank,” Daniel Hunter, a spokesman for the bank said in a state­ment.

    Vrablic and Scalzi have worked close­ly togeth­er for years since join­ing Deutsche Bank a decade ago. Vrablic was a trust­ed con­tact to the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion and Kush­n­er and assumed the bank’s lend­ing rela­tion­ship with Trump in the pri­vate side of the bank after the com­mer­cial lend­ing divi­sion stopped doing busi­ness with Trump.

    Deutsche Bank (DB) has loaned the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion more than $300 mil­lion.

    In a state­ment Vrablic said, “I’ve cho­sen to resign my posi­tion with the bank effec­tive Decem­ber 31 and am look­ing for­ward to my retire­ment.”

    The Trump Orga­ni­za­tion is under inves­ti­ga­tion by the Man­hat­tan Dis­trict Attor­ney’s office and New York Attor­ney Gen­er­al and both agen­cies have sub­poe­naed the bank about its lend­ing rela­tion­ship with the com­pa­ny.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors are look­ing into whether the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion mis­lead or defraud­ed the lender by inflat­ing the val­ue of some of its assets, accord­ing to court fil­ings.

    In recent weeks two Deutsche Bank employ­ees were ques­tioned by inves­ti­ga­tors with the crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion and asked gen­er­al ques­tions about lend­ing prac­tices. The employ­ees did not work on the Trump account.

    Vrablic has direct knowl­edge of Trump’s rela­tion­ship with the bank as she han­dled the account in recent years.

    ...

    “Ms. Vrablic is com­mit­ted to coop­er­at­ing with the author­i­ties if asked,” her lawyer said.

    ———–

    “Trump’s pri­vate bankers resign from Deutsche Bank” by Kara Scan­nell; CNN Busi­ness; 12/22/2020

    “Vrablic and Scalzi have worked close­ly togeth­er for years since join­ing Deutsche Bank a decade ago. Vrablic was a trust­ed con­tact to the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion and Kush­n­er and assumed the bank’s lend­ing rela­tion­ship with Trump in the pri­vate side of the bank after the com­mer­cial lend­ing divi­sion stopped doing busi­ness with Trump.

    A trust­ed con­tact to the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion. That’s how peo­ple describe Rose­mary Vrablic. A trust­ed con­tact who had min­i­mal over­sight that was lim­it­ed to Thomas Bow­ers, a guy who ‘com­mit­ted sui­cide’ last year. If any­one knows where finan­cial ‘bod­ies are buried’ it’s Vrablic. And now she’s retir­ing, along with Dominic Scalzi, right before the ongo­ing inves­ti­ga­tions into the Trump Orga­ni­za­tion can real­ly get under­way. Again, inter­est­ing tim­ing.

    Also keep in mind that it’s entire­ly pos­si­ble Don­ald Trump, or Jared Kush­n­er, will once again approach Deutsche Bank for more loans after he leaves office. Trump TV isn’t going to pay for itself! And at this point we have to won­der if Deutsche Bank actu­al­ly wants to con­tin­ue its rela­tion­ship with Trump. He’s more than just a cred­it risk. He’s trou­ble. So while it’s pos­si­ble Vrablic and Scalzi are retir­ing in the hopes that doing so now will help with any upcom­ing inves­ti­ga­tions, it’s also worth keep­ing in mind the pos­si­bil­i­ty that Deutsche Bank is ditch­ing these fig­ures the Trump Org is clear­ly com­fort­able work­ing with in order to avoid a future Trump rela­tion­ship.

    Are Trump and Kush­n­er too skeezy for Deutsche Bank? That’s unclear at this point, but if so that would be pret­ty amaz­ing since it did­n’t actu­al­ly seem pos­si­ble for some­one to be too skeezy for Deutsche Bank. One more bro­ken norm from the Trump era.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 22, 2020, 4:36 pm
  5. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/valentin-broeksmit-federal-informant-whistleblower-dead-el-sereno-high-school-california/

    Fed­er­al infor­mant found dead on El Sereno high school’s cam­pus

    By Matthew Rodriguez

    April 27, 2022 / 1:13 AM / CBS/City News Ser­vice

    A man believed to have worked with fed­er­al author­i­ties to inves­ti­gate the activ­i­ties of Deutsche Bank and its ties with for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was found dead on an El Sereno high school’s cam­pus Mon­day.

    A clean­ing crew found the body of Valentin Broeksmit, 45, self-described as a “com­i­cal­ly ter­ri­ble spy,” around 6:40 a.m Mon­day morn­ing. He was declared dead at about 7:05 a.m. on the Woodrow Wil­son High school cam­pus off on the 4500 block of Mult­nom­ah Street accord­ing to the Los Ange­les Coun­ty Coro­ner. Offi­cials have yet to release a cause of death pend­ing an autop­sy.

    School police said that they had no video that shows him com­ing onto cam­pus and are unsure how long he’d been on the cam­pus.

    Broeksmit was last seen dri­ving a red Mini Coop­er on April 6, 2021, in Grif­fith Park on River­side Dri­ve. Although Broeksmit had gone miss­ing his Twit­ter account remained active. Freinds and jour­nal­ists claimed to stay in con­tact with him dur­ing his dis­ap­pear­ance, with Foren­sic News inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Scott Sted­man tweet­ing that he last spoke with Broeksmit in Jan­u­ary.

    Sted­man wrote that Broeksmit had giv­en him “Deutsche Bank doc­u­ments that high­light­ed the bank’s deep Rus­sia con­nec­tions.”

    “It is very sad,” he added. “I don’t sus­pect foul play. Val strug­gled with drugs on and off. Wait­ing on fur­ther info.”

    New York Times reporter David Enrich, who said that Broeksmit helped the FBI in its probe into the finan­cial insti­tu­tion, also wrote that Broeksmit strug­gled with drug abuse and would often con­jure “far-fetched the­o­ries” while bend­ing the truth.

    Sted­man said that Broeksmit’s father had com­mit­ted sui­cide in 2014 which haunt­ed the 45-year-old.

    “To see his life end so short is incred­i­bly depress­ing,” Sted­man wrote.

    Broeksmit, who was also sub­poe­naed by the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee dur­ing its probe into Trump and the bank, report­ed­ly offered hun­dreds of doc­u­ments to fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors and jour­nal­ists who were look­ing for ties between Deutsche Bank and Trump. The doc­u­ments were left behind by his step­fa­ther William, who was an exec­u­tive for the bank, died.

    “This is ter­ri­ble news,” Enrich tweet­ed. “Val was a long­time source of mine and the main char­ac­ter in my book. We had a com­pli­cat­ed rela­tion­ship, but this is just dev­as­tat­ing to hear.”

    NOTE: The per­son that the media seems to trust the most at “rul­ing out foul play” is named Scott Sted­man, who is an anti-Rus­sia shill for some­thing called “Foren­sic News Ser­vice”. A quick perusal of their page makes it clear they are some kind of pro-Ukraine op, so I won’t even both­er break­ing that down fur­ther. How­ev­er, look who I just found on their team!

    Aaron Par­nas... son of LEV PARNAS!

    https://forensicnews.net/team/

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aaron_Parnas

    Aaron Gideon Parnas[1] is the son of Lev Parnas.[2] He is of Jew­ish-Ukrain­ian descent.[3]

    In 2017, at the age of 18, Par­nas com­plet­ed both a diplo­ma from Flori­da Atlantic Uni­ver­si­ty High School and a B.A. in polit­i­cal sci­ence and crim­i­nal jus­tice at Flori­da Atlantic Uni­ver­si­ty. Despite not being old enough to vote, he cam­paigned door-to-door for Mar­co Rubio and Don­ald Trump.[4][5] He grad­u­at­ed from George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Law School in 2020 at the age of 21.[6]

    In 2020, Par­nas authored a mem­oir enti­tled TRUMP FIRST: How the Pres­i­dent and his asso­ciates turned their backs on me and my family.[2] Despite being a sup­port­er of Trump dur­ing the 2016 Unit­ed States pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, he is now a Demo­c­rat and vot­ed for Joe Biden in 2020.[7][3]

    In Decem­ber 2021, Par­nas was work­ing at a Mia­mi based white-col­lar defense bou­tique law firm.[6] He is also a demo­c­ra­t­ic dig­i­tal strategist.[8] In ear­ly 2021, Aaron began serv­ing as the press sec­re­tary for the Mia­mi-Dade Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty.

    In a Feb­ru­ary 24, 2022 inter­view, Par­nas expressed shock about the 2022 Russ­ian inva­sion of Ukraine and stat­ed that his rel­a­tives were try­ing to evacuate.[9] He has become a pro-Ukrain­ian Tik­Tok­er and was one of sev­er­al influ­encers to speak with Joe Biden in an effort to com­bat disinformation.[3][8]

    NOTE: Here we see Scott Sted­man freak­ing out on Twit­ter for peo­ple hav­ing “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries” when he is say­ing effec­tive­ly that it must be an over­dose, despite no release of cause of death from police yet. Hey, Scott, I can hold off on assum­ing cause of death and not spec­u­late. Why can’t you? Over­dos­es and sui­cides hap­pen... but so do mur­ders.

    https://twitter.com/ScottMStedman/status/1519446725496242177

    Posted by Squeaky David Frum | April 28, 2022, 9:01 am
  6. When the Supreme Court con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty wrote Fri­day’s rul­ing end­ing Roe v Wade, pains were tak­en in the major­i­ty opin­ion to assure the pub­lic that the rul­ing in no way should be seen as a har­bin­ger of the fur­ther ero­sion of the many oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed rights that were won over the last cen­tu­ry through the courts. Of course, as we’re going to see, that major­i­ty opin­ion had a notable minor­i­ty dis­senter: Jus­tice Clarence Thomas, who wrote a con­cur­ring opin­ion that called for the courts to review those exact rights the rest of the major­i­ty insist­ed were in no way put in per­il by the rul­ing. Beyond that, he called for these rights — like the right to same sex mar­riage or the right to con­tra­cep­tion — to be review by the courts as soon as pos­si­ble. Jus­tice Thomas wants to rock the boat in a big way right now.

    So who should we believe? Jus­tice Thomas? Or the rest of his fel­low con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices? It’s one of the big ques­tions loom­ing over this rul­ing: do we believe the four con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices who insist that this was­n’t a sign of things to come. Or the one jus­tice who isn’t minc­ing words?

    And that brings us to anoth­er fun fact to keep in mind in this whole sit­u­a­tion: Don’t for­get that Jus­tices Kavanaugh, Gor­such, and even Amy Coney Bar­rett all pub­licly indi­cat­ed dur­ing their nom­i­na­tion hear­ings that they were going to respect the Roe prece­dent. In oth­er words, they all lied. And these are the jus­tices who are now try­ing to assure the pub­lic that the loss of more rights isn’t on the way. And that’s why, when we read Jus­tice Thomas’s con­cur­ring opin­ion, it’s impor­tant to keep in mind that the con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices who appeared to dis­agree with Thomas also have a track record of lying about their plans:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    Thomas Calls For SCOTUS To ‘Recon­sid­er’ Rights To Same-Sex Mar­riage, Con­tra­cep­tion

    By Kate Riga
    June 24, 2022 2:06 p.m.

    Much of the 213-page deci­sion over­turn­ing abor­tion rights is con­cerned with what the jus­tices are real­ly say­ing.

    The con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty, through Jus­tice Samuel Ali­to, promis­es that this deci­sion pos­es no risk to oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al rights relat­ed to bod­i­ly auton­o­my and pri­vate rela­tion­ships. Jus­tice Brett Kavanaugh echoes that vow again in his con­cur­ring opin­ion.

    The dis­sent­ing lib­er­al jus­tices call non­sense, say­ing that fol­low­ing the majority’s rea­son­ing to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion — that rights are only val­i­dat­ed by their explic­it pres­ence in the Con­sti­tu­tion and his­tor­i­cal ground­ing — means that of course same-sex mar­riage and con­tra­cep­tion are under threat.

    Jus­tice Clarence Thomas both­ers with none of that. He says out­right that the Court should revis­it oth­er land­mark deci­sions — nam­ing the cas­es that pro­tect the right to a same-sex mar­riage, to con­duct pri­vate sex acts and to access con­tra­cep­tion.

    “In future cas­es, we should recon­sid­er all of this Court’s sub­stan­tive due process prece­dents, includ­ing Gris­wold, Lawrence, and Oberge­fell,” he writes.

    He omits Lov­ing v. Vir­ginia, the case pro­tect­ing inter­ra­cial mar­riage, which is often list­ed in the same breath with the oth­er three.

    “Sub­stan­tive due process con­flicts with that tex­tu­al com­mand and has harmed our coun­try in many ways,” he writes. “Accord­ing­ly, we should elim­i­nate it from our jurispru­dence at the ear­li­est oppor­tu­ni­ty.”

    ...

    The dis­sent­ing lib­er­al jus­tices take note.

    “The first prob­lem with the majority’s account comes from Jus­tice Thomas’ concurrence—which makes clear he is not with the pro­gram,” they write, after pil­lo­ry­ing the majority’s insis­tence that this deci­sion won’t threat­en oth­er, relat­ed con­sti­tu­tion­al rights.

    “So at least one Jus­tice is plan­ning to use the tick­et of today’s deci­sion again and again and again,” they add.

    ———–

    “Thomas Calls For SCOTUS To ‘Recon­sid­er’ Rights To Same-Sex Mar­riage, Con­tra­cep­tion” By Kate Riga; Talk­ing Points Memo; 06/24/2022

    The con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty, through Jus­tice Samuel Ali­to, promis­es that this deci­sion pos­es no risk to oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al rights relat­ed to bod­i­ly auton­o­my and pri­vate rela­tion­ships. Jus­tice Brett Kavanaugh echoes that vow again in his con­cur­ring opin­ion.”

    Don’t wor­ry, no oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al rights were put in per­il with this rul­ing. That was the mes­sage from most of the con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices who just ruled that the right to an abor­tion isn’t actu­al­ly pro­tect­ed under the basic con­sti­tu­tion­al rights. But Clarence Thomas isn’t hav­ing any of it. As far as Thomas is con­cerned, oth­er con­sti­tu­tion­al rights won in the 20th cen­tu­ry should also be revis­it­ed, ASAP. Rights like same-sex mar­riage or access to con­tra­cep­tion:

    ...
    Jus­tice Clarence Thomas both­ers with none of that. He says out­right that the Court should revis­it oth­er land­mark deci­sions — nam­ing the cas­es that pro­tect the right to a same-sex mar­riage, to con­duct pri­vate sex acts and to access con­tra­cep­tion.

    “In future cas­es, we should recon­sid­er all of this Court’s sub­stan­tive due process prece­dents, includ­ing Gris­wold, Lawrence, and Oberge­fell,” he writes.

    He omits Lov­ing v. Vir­ginia, the case pro­tect­ing inter­ra­cial mar­riage, which is often list­ed in the same breath with the oth­er three.

    “Sub­stan­tive due process con­flicts with that tex­tu­al com­mand and has harmed our coun­try in many ways,” he writes. “Accord­ing­ly, we should elim­i­nate it from our jurispru­dence at the ear­li­est oppor­tu­ni­ty.”
    ...

    So what should be expect? Were jus­tices Kavanaugh and Ali­to being sin­cere when they wrote that all of these oth­er rights won through the courts aren’t at all put in jeop­ardy by this rul­ing? Or was Clarence Thomas just say­ing what the rest of his jus­tices did­n’t want to acknowl­edge too soon. After, if indeed Thomas’s vision for the future of the court is shared by his fel­low con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices, it’s not like they’re going to want to come out and say it.

    And that brings us to the fol­low­ing sto­ry about croc­o­dile tears. Specif­i­cal­ly, Susan Collin’s croc­o­dile tears over how betrayed she feels by jus­tices Kavanaugh and Gor­such. As Collins reminds us, these jus­tices basi­cal­ly promised that Roe was safe dur­ing their nom­i­na­tion years not that long ago. And we can now see what their words are worth. So when jus­tices Kavanaugh and Gor­such want to assure the pub­lic that oth­er rights aren’t at risk, keep in mind Susan Collin’s croc­o­dile tears of betray­al:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    Susan Collins Is Shocked! Shocked! Claims Gor­such And Kavanaugh Betrayed Her

    By John Light
    June 25, 2022 10:17 a.m.

    Hours after the Supreme Court issued its Fri­day rul­ing over­turn­ing Roe v. Wade and, with it, the con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly pro­tect­ed right to an abor­tion, Sen. Susan Collins (R‑ME) sat down with the New York Times to voice her sur­prise that we’ve end­ed up here.

    “I feel mis­led,” she told the paper of record.

    “This deci­sion is incon­sis­tent with what Jus­tices Gor­such and Kavanaugh said in their tes­ti­mo­ny and their meet­ings with me, where they both were insis­tent on the impor­tance of sup­port­ing long-stand­ing prece­dents that the coun­try has relied upon,” she said in a state­ment released ear­li­er Fri­day.

    Collins’ staff shared con­tem­po­ra­ne­ous notes with the Times, tak­en dur­ing the senator’s meet­ings with Kavanaugh in 2018.

    “Start with my record, my respect for prece­dent, my belief that it is root­ed in the Con­sti­tu­tion, and my com­mit­ment and its impor­tance to the rule of law,” one excerpt of Kavanaugh’s remarks said. “I under­stand prece­dent and I under­stand the impor­tance of over­turn­ing it.”

    Of course, in the notes pub­lished by the Times, Kavanaugh nev­er said explic­it­ly he wouldn’t over­turn Roe.

    Roe is 45 years old, it has been reaf­firmed many times, lots of peo­ple care about it a great deal, and I’ve tried to demon­strate I under­stand real-world con­se­quences,” read anoth­er excerpt.

    “I am a don’t‑rock-the-boat kind of judge,” he claimed in anoth­er. “I believe in sta­bil­i­ty and in the Team of Nine.”

    Collins also told the Times that Jus­tice Gor­such impressed upon her that he had “writ­ten the book” on prece­dent, a ref­er­ence to a 2016 work he co-authored with 12 oth­ers titled The Law of Judi­cial Prece­dent.

    Fel­low cen­trist Sen. Joe Manchin (D‑WV) made a sim­i­lar claim of baf­fle­ment Fri­day, also alleg­ing betray­al by Kavanaugh and Gor­such. Both sen­a­tors pro­vid­ed crit­i­cal votes to allow the duo to be con­firmed. In Kavanaugh’s case, con­fir­ma­tion came fol­low­ing a con­tentious set of hear­ings that includ­ed accu­sa­tions of sex­u­al mis­con­duct. In Gorsuch’s case, it, of course, fol­lowed the theft of Mer­rick Garland’s Supreme Court seat.

    “I trust­ed Jus­tice Gor­such and Jus­tice Kavanaugh when they tes­ti­fied under oath that they also believed Roe v. Wade was set­tled legal prece­dent and I am alarmed they chose to reject the sta­bil­i­ty the rul­ing has pro­vid­ed for two gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­cans,” Manchin said Fri­day.

    Collins’ votes for con­ser­v­a­tive Supreme Court jus­tices became a key issue in her 2020 cam­paign for reelec­tion, with Maine Democ­rats demand­ing account­abil­i­ty for the sentor’s sup­port of Gor­such and Kavanaugh. Collins vot­ed against Amy Coney Barrett’s con­fir­ma­tion, which came days before vot­ers went to the polls.

    ...

    ———-

    “Susan Collins Is Shocked! Shocked! Claims Gor­such And Kavanaugh Betrayed Her” by John Light; Talk­ing Points Memo; 06/25/2022.

    ““This deci­sion is incon­sis­tent with what Jus­tices Gor­such and Kavanaugh said in their tes­ti­mo­ny and their meet­ings with me, where they both were insis­tent on the impor­tance of sup­port­ing long-stand­ing prece­dents that the coun­try has relied upon,” she said in a state­ment released ear­li­er Fri­day.”

    Who know why Susan Collins appar­ent­ly took Gor­such and Kavanaugh at their word when they made one state­ment after anther dur­ing their con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings indi­cat­ing that they weren’t plan­ning on over­turn­ing Roe. It was beyond obvi­ous that they were plan­ning on doing so. Some­one isn’t going to be nom­i­nat­ed to the Supreme Court by a con­tem­po­rary Repub­li­can pres­i­dent unless they are absolute­ly dead set on over­turn­ing Roe. Espe­cial­ly when they’re nom­i­nat­ed by Don­ald Trump, who was overt in his desire to nom­i­nate jus­tices who would over­turn Roe and is now tak­ing cred­it for the rul­ing. Susan Collins was obvi­ous­ly oper­at­ing in bad faith when she took Kavanaugh and Gor­such at their word. But Susan Collin’s bad faith isn’t the issue at hand here. It’s the bla­tant bad faith of Gor­such and Kavanaugh. Bad faith that they are hop­ing we just for­get about as they make repeat­ed reas­sur­ances that no oth­er rights are at risk.

    Of course, there’s one sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence between abor­tion rights vs the rights to same sex mar­riage or con­tra­cep­tion: there has been a decades-long grass-roots move­ment fix­at­ed on over­turn­ing Roe. The GOP did­n’t real­ly have a choice on this giv­en the impor­tance of the evan­gel­i­cal Right to the par­ty’s vot­ing base. And that’s why one of the big ques­tions loom­ing over the fate of the futures of these rights has to do with the how much demand there real­ly is for over­turn­ing them. Is the same evan­gel­i­cal base that’s been fix­at­ed on abor­tion now going to set its site on con­tra­cep­tion? It does sound plau­si­ble, although it’s hard to imag­ine the issue have the same lev­el or inten­si­ty of sup­port.

    But there’s anoth­er fac­tor to keep in mind here: the over­turn­ing of these rights is all part of piece of a larg­er fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion of the nature of the US gov­ern­ment. A fun­da­men­tal trans­for­ma­tion with a ‘states rights’ theme that the right-wing oli­garchy has long want­ed to see: rolling back vir­tu­al­ly all of the rights that aren’t explic­it­ly in the US Con­sti­tu­tion, which would include the rights for all sorts of gov­ern­ment reg­u­la­to­ry pow­er over busi­ness and pri­vate inter­ests. In oth­er words, when it comes to the future judi­cial threats to con­sti­tu­tion­al rights, we should­n’t just be wor­ried about the whims and desires of the evan­gel­i­cal Right. We also have to be watch­ing for the oli­garchy chan­nel­ing those whims and desires for their own agen­da. The con­tem­po­rary con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment in the US is already a merg­er of theo­crat­ic and oli­garchic inter­ests. It’s what got us to this point, after all.

    And that brings us to the fol­low­ing arti­cle from back in March about some rather con­tro­ver­sial state­ments made by Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mike Braun: Accord­ing to Sen­a­tor Braun, all sorts of rights need to be revis­it­ed by the court. Rights includ­ing the right to inter­ra­cial mar­riage. And while Braun’s office walked back his com­ments after the fact and claimed Braun did­n’t real­ize what he was say­ing, as we’re going to see Braun was very explic­it. He viewed the right to inter­ra­cial mar­riage as one of many rights that aren’t pro­tect­ed in the Con­sti­tu­tion and should be decid­ed at the state-lev­el. It was some­one iron­ic that he explic­it­ly cit­ed inter­ra­cial mar­riage as one of the rights he want­ed to see returned to the states giv­en that, as we saw, that’s one of the rights gained in the 20th cen­tu­ry that Clarence Thomas did­n’t cite as war­rant­i­ng a review ASAP.

    Also keep in mind that Braun is far from the most extreme mem­ber of the GOP Sen­ate cau­cus. That’s part of the con­tent here: these calls for the state­ments were being made by some­one who, by the stan­dards of today’s GOP, is a rel­a­tive mod­er­ate. And he did­n’t appear to be call­ing for the over­turn­ing of the con­sti­tu­tion­al right to inter­ra­cial mar­riage due to some sort of deep seat­ed oppo­si­tion to inter­ra­cial mar­riage. Instead, Braun fell back on a gener­ic argu­ment that rights not explic­it­ly stat­ed in the Con­sti­tu­tion are implic­it­ly left up to the states. It’s the kind of ‘judi­cial phi­los­o­phy’ that demands the rolling back of the US into the 19th cen­tu­ry on the prin­ci­ple:

    Slate

    Sen­a­tor Says Legal­iz­ing Inter­ra­cial Mar­riage Was a Mis­take, Back­tracks Uncon­vinc­ing­ly
    Mike Braun of Indi­ana told reporters that the Supreme Court was wrong to strike down state laws that banned Black and white Amer­i­cans from wed­ding.

    By Jor­dan Weiss­mann
    March 22, 2022 8:25 PM

    Repub­li­can Sen. Mike Braun is attempt­ing a rather uncon­vinc­ing cleanup job after telling reporters on Tues­day that the Supreme Court was wrong to strike down state laws ban­ning inter­ra­cial mar­riage in its land­mark 1967 deci­sion, Lov­ing v. Vir­ginia.

    Braun, the junior sen­a­tor from Indi­ana, made his com­ments dur­ing a media call in which he argued that pol­i­cy issues should gen­er­al­ly be left in the hands of state gov­ern­ments when­ev­er pos­si­ble, espe­cial­ly in the case of abor­tion.

    “So you would be OK with the Supreme Court leav­ing the ques­tion of inter­ra­cial mar­riage to the states?” a reporter asked.

    “Yes,” Braun answered. “I think that that’s some­thing that if you’re not want­i­ng the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you’re not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too. I think that’s hyp­o­crit­i­cal.“

    REPORTER: “You would be okay with the Supreme Court leav­ing the issue of inter­ra­cial mar­riage to the states?“SEN. MIKE BRAUN (R‑IN): “Yes. If you are not want­i­ng the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you are not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too.” pic.twitter.com/jiVTMOpC01— Heart­land Sig­nal (@HeartlandSignal) March 22, 2022

    That sound­ed pret­ty unam­bigu­ous! But after­ward, Braun’s office issued a state­ment attempt­ing to walk back the com­ment, sug­gest­ing he had mis­un­der­stood the ques­tion despite hav­ing seem­ing­ly answered with unblink­ing cer­ti­tude.

    Ear­li­er dur­ing a vir­tu­al press con­fer­ence I mis­un­der­stood a line of ques­tion­ing that end­ed up being about inter­ra­cial mar­riage, let me be clear on that issue — there is no ques­tion the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­hibits dis­crim­i­na­tion of any kind based on race, that is not some­thing that is even up for debate, and I con­demn racism in any form, at all lev­els and by any states, enti­ties, or indi­vid­u­als.

    Could this real­ly have been an hon­est mis­un­der­stand­ing? Let’s look at the fuller tran­script, start­ing with where the reporter first asks about abor­tion.

    For con­text, keep in mind that this exchange occurred after a long ques­tion-and-answer ses­sion, in which Braun repeat­ed­ly sug­gest­ed that states should han­dle major pol­i­cy issues when it was prac­ti­cal, even includ­ing ones like mar­i­jua­na legal­iza­tion that con­ser­v­a­tives often pre­fer to address fed­er­al­ly.

    Reporter: Hi, Sen­a­tor. You spoke about judi­cial activism. If the Supreme Court lat­er this year strikes down the right to abor­tion, would you con­sid­er that judi­cial activism, leg­is­lat­ing from the bench?

    Braun: I con­sid­er it to have been judi­cial activism when it occurred back almost 50 years ago. So I think this would be bring­ing it back to a neu­tral point to where that issue should have nev­er been fed­er­al­ized, way out of sync I think with the con­tour of Amer­i­ca then. This puts it back to a point where, like most of these issues, where one side of the aisle wants to homog­e­nize it fed­er­al­ly, it’s not the right way to do it.

    This should be some­thing where the expres­sion of indi­vid­ual states are able to weigh in on these issues through their own leg­is­la­tion, through their own court sys­tems, quit try­ing to put the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment in charge of not only things like we did nav­i­gat­ing through COVID recent­ly, where I think that was mis­guid­ed, but in gen­er­al. So no, I think this takes it back to a point where it should have nev­er got­ten beyond in the first place.

    Reporter: Would that same basis [apply] to some­thing like Lov­ing v. Vir­ginia, the Supreme Court case that legal­ized inter­ra­cial mar­riage?

    Braun: When it comes to issues, you can’t have it both ways. When you want that diver­si­ty to shine with­in our fed­er­al sys­tem, there are going to be rules, and pro­ceed­ings, that are going to be out of sync with maybe what oth­er states would do. That’s the beau­ty of the sys­tem. And that’s where the dif­fer­ences among points of view in our 50 states ought to express them­selves. And I’m not say­ing that rule would apply in gen­er­al, depend­ing on the top­ic, but it should most­ly be in gen­er­al, because it’s hard to have it on issues that you are just are inter­est­ed in when you deny it for oth­ers with a dif­fer­ent point of view.

    Reporter: So you would be OK with the Supreme Court leav­ing the ques­tion of inter­ra­cial mar­riage to the states?

    Braun: Yes. I think that that’s some­thing that if you’re not want­i­ng the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you’re not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too. I think that’s hyp­o­crit­i­cal.

    Reporter: What about Gris­wold v. Con­necti­cut?

    Braun: You can list a whole bunch of issues, when it comes down to what­ev­er they are. I’m going to say that they’re not all going to make you hap­py with­in a giv­en state, but we’re bet­ter off states man­i­fest their points of view rather than homog­e­niz­ing it across the coun­try as Roe v. Wade did.

    There are some mush-mouthed bits here and there, but over­all, Braun cer­tain­ly seems to under­stand what he’s talk­ing about, and in fact sounds like a man who has giv­en this whole top­ic very care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. The first time the reporter asks him about inter­ra­cial mar­riage, he says “you can’t have it both ways” when it comes to states’ rights, and that “diver­si­ty” is the “beau­ty of the sys­tem.” The sec­ond time he’s asked if the court should have let states deter­mine whether or not to ban Black and white Amer­i­cans from being wed, he says “yes.” Final­ly, asked about Gris­wold v. Con­necti­cut, the case where the court struck down laws bar­ring con­tra­cep­tion, he says that regard­less of the issue, he pret­ty much always believes states should have the right to “man­i­fest their points of view” (because we all talk like Insta­gram influ­encers now). To his cred­it, Braun is being extreme­ly clear and con­sis­tent. Say what you will about 1950s-style states’ rights fundamentalism—at least it’s an ethos.

    ...

    ———-

    “Sen­a­tor Says Legal­iz­ing Inter­ra­cial Mar­riage Was a Mis­take, Back­tracks Uncon­vinc­ing­ly” By Jor­dan Weiss­mann; Slate; 03/22/2022

    There are some mush-mouthed bits here and there, but over­all, Braun cer­tain­ly seems to under­stand what he’s talk­ing about, and in fact sounds like a man who has giv­en this whole top­ic very care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. The first time the reporter asks him about inter­ra­cial mar­riage, he says “you can’t have it both ways” when it comes to states’ rights, and that “diver­si­ty” is the “beau­ty of the sys­tem.” The sec­ond time he’s asked if the court should have let states deter­mine whether or not to ban Black and white Amer­i­cans from being wed, he says “yes.” Final­ly, asked about Gris­wold v. Con­necti­cut, the case where the court struck down laws bar­ring con­tra­cep­tion, he says that regard­less of the issue, he pret­ty much always believes states should have the right to “man­i­fest their points of view” (because we all talk like Insta­gram influ­encers now). To his cred­it, Braun is being extreme­ly clear and con­sis­tent. Say what you will about 1950s-style states’ rights fundamentalism—at least it’s an ethos.

    It’s just bad faith all over the place. Whether we’re talk­ing about Jus­tices Kavanaugh and Gor­such lying to the world dur­ing their con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings, Susan Collins pre­tend­ing to believe the bla­tant lies, or Sen­a­tor Braun pre­tend­ing he did­n’t just call for an end to the con­sti­tu­tion­al right to inter­ra­cial mar­riage, we’re look­ing at the same under­ly­ing phe­nom­e­na: pow­er­ful peo­ple lying about how they intend to use their pow­er going for­ward.

    But part of what makes the sto­ry about Sen­a­tor Braun so dis­turb­ing is he inad­ver­tent­ly made clear the larg­er game here: turn­ing almost every right into a state-lev­el right, and then using the GOP’s endur­ing dom­i­na­tion at the state-lev­el to effec­tive­ly wield unchecked pow­er. A kind of cor­rupt­ed warped author­i­tar­i­an ver­sion of fed­er­al­ism. That’s the plan. A plan already decades in motion, with decades of creep­ing judi­cial­ly-sanc­tioned author­i­tar­i­an­ism yet to come. Creep­ing and/or lurch­ing as the case may be.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 25, 2022, 4:04 pm
  7. And the hits keep com­ing. Or, rather, the beat­ings will con­tin­ue: The Supreme Court just issued its lat­est rebuke to mod­ern age with the kind of rul­ing that should serve as a remind that the con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty is just as much a crea­ture of big cor­po­ra­tions and busi­ness inter­ests as it is a cap­tive of the far right on social issues. In a 6–3 opin­ion writ­ten by Chief Jus­tice John Roberts, the court struck down the EPA’s author­i­ty under the Clean Pow­er Act to man­date that pow­er plants tran­si­tion to clean­er ener­gy sources.

    The rul­ing appears to be pred­i­cat­ed on the “major ques­tions case” right-wing legal the­o­ry that asserts that gov­ern­ment agen­cies be exact­ing when inter­pret­ing the pow­ers Con­gress has del­e­gat­ed to them. Accord­ing to Roberts, push­ing a tran­si­tion to clean­er, renew­able sources of ener­gy, goes beyond what Con­gress intend­ed when it gave the EPA the author­i­ty to reg­u­late air pol­lu­tants.

    As Jus­tice Kagan writes in her dis­sent, “The cur­rent Court is tex­tu­al­ist only when being so suits it...When that method would frus­trate broad­er goals, spe­cial canons like the ‘major ques­tions doc­trine’ mag­i­cal­ly appear as get out-of-text-free cards.” In oth­er words, this rul­ing was a seman­tic word game dressed up as a legal the­o­ry. Sur­prise!

    And while Roberts did­n’t indi­cate in his opin­ion that the log­ic of this rul­ing should be applied to oth­er areas of reg­u­la­tion, he did­n’t shut down that pos­si­bil­i­ty either, which is rather omi­nous giv­en the obvi­ous ways the “major ques­tions doc­trine” can be applied to oth­er reg­u­la­tions. So while the Supreme Court’s con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty did­n’t entire­ly gut the EPA’s abil­i­ty to reg­u­late air pol­lu­tion, as many feared might hap­pen, the major­i­ty also left that option very open.

    There’s anoth­er hint as to whether or not we should expect this ‘major ques­tions doc­trine’ to be applied to more reg­u­la­tions in the future: this rul­ing was­n’t even about an exist­ing reg­u­la­tion. Instead, it was over an Oba­ma-era reg­u­la­tion that the Biden admin­is­tra­tion isn’t even plan­ning on reviv­ing. Yep, in set­ting up this ‘major ques­tions doc­trine’ prece­dent, the con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty decid­ed to strike down a non-exis­tent reg­u­la­tion. It’s a big hint regard­ing future intent:

    Talk­ing Points Memo

    SCOTUS Shack­les EPA’s Author­i­ty To Reg­u­late Green­house Gas Emis­sions From Pow­er Plants

    By Kate Riga
    June 30, 2022 10:05 a.m.
    Updat­ed June 30, 2022 2:53 p.m.

    The Supreme Court issued a major rul­ing Thurs­day cur­tail­ing the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s pow­er to reg­u­late pow­er plant emis­sions, and sent a shot across the bow of exec­u­tive agency pow­er in gen­er­al.

    Chief Jus­tice John Roberts deliv­ered the opin­ion for the Court. Jus­tice Ele­na Kagan wrote for the dis­sent­ing lib­er­als, and Jus­tice Neil Gor­such wrote a con­cur­rence, joined by Jus­tice Samuel Ali­to.

    “Con­gress did not grant EPA in Sec­tion 111(d) of the Clean Air Act the author­i­ty to devise emis­sions caps based on the gen­er­a­tion shift­ing approach the Agency took in the Clean Pow­er Plan,” Roberts writes.

    While the case makes clear that con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty is very hos­tile to exer­cis­es of agency pow­er, it does not go as far as envi­ron­men­tal­ists feared it might. It insists on plant-by-plant reg­u­la­tions (known as “inside the fence”) rather than ones across the grid (“out­side the fence”), but doesn’t com­plete­ly toss the agency’s abil­i­ty to reg­u­late cli­mate change-caus­ing emis­sions.

    Roberts claims that this is a “major ques­tions case,” a nod to a the­o­ry favored in the rightwing judi­cial world that demands agen­cies be exact­ing when inter­pret­ing the pow­ers Con­gress has del­e­gat­ed to them. Push­ing a tran­si­tion to clean­er, renew­able sources of ener­gy, Roberts writes for the major­i­ty, goes beyond what Con­gress intend­ed when it gave the EPA the author­i­ty to reg­u­late air pol­lu­tants.

    He points to Con­gress’ lack of leg­is­lat­ing on the issue as proof, though Repub­li­cans have long blocked any sig­nif­i­cant cli­mate change bills and have only recent­ly, and tepid­ly, accept­ed the fact of the cri­sis’ exis­tence.

    The major­i­ty opin­ion is a clear state­ment of antag­o­nism to exer­cis­es of agency pow­er, with Roberts proud­ly list­ing recent Court deci­sions cur­tail­ing agency author­i­ty.

    Lead­ing the dis­sent, Kagan lists the cat­a­clysmic results of cli­mate change, say­ing that Con­gress absolute­ly gave the EPA the pow­er to address “big” and “new” prob­lems like those threat­en­ing the plan­et.

    She also points out the bizarreness in the Court tak­ing this case premised on an Oba­ma-era rule that is not cur­rent­ly in place, and that the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has no plans to revive.

    “But this Court could not wait—even to see what the new rule says—to con­strain EPA’s efforts to address cli­mate change,” she writes.

    “The cur­rent Court is tex­tu­al­ist only when being so suits it,” she adds lat­er. “When that method would frus­trate broad­er goals, spe­cial canons like the ‘major ques­tions doc­trine’ mag­i­cal­ly appear as get out-of-text-free cards.”

    In some neat sym­me­try — his moth­er had tried to dis­man­tle the EPA as admin­is­tra­tor dur­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion — Gor­such takes a vic­to­ry lap in his con­cur­rence, singing the prais­es of the major ques­tions doc­trine. He cheers the lack of move­ment in Con­gress, say­ing its slow­ness is a fea­ture, not a bug.

    “Admit­ted­ly, law­mak­ing under our Con­sti­tu­tion can be dif­fi­cult. But that is noth­ing par­tic­u­lar to our time nor any acci­dent,” he writes. “The framers believed that the pow­er to make new laws reg­u­lat­ing pri­vate con­duct was a grave one that could, if not prop­er­ly checked, pose a seri­ous threat to indi­vid­ual lib­er­ty.”

    He spends less time con­sid­er­ing that Con­gress’ glacial pace will leave a plan­et dev­as­tat­ed by cli­mate change and, even­tu­al­ly, inhab­it­able for humans.

    This case had had court-watch­ers on high alert since the Court took it up in the fall. It was a bizarre choice — red states and coal com­pa­nies rest much of their argu­ment on the Oba­ma-era Clean Pow­er Plan, which is not on the books and which the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has no intent to revive.

    The coali­tion want­ed the Court to rule that the Clean Pow­er Plan would have been out­side the EPA’s author­i­ty to enforce under the Clean Air Act, putting guardrails on the agency’s pow­er to reg­u­late green­house gas emis­sions.

    Court watch­ers feared that the case could be a win-win for the red states, giv­en the amenabil­i­ty of the con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices. Either the con­ser­v­a­tive Court could make a nar­row read­ing based on the statu­to­ry text, and hand­cuff the EPA from reg­u­lat­ing one of the country’s biggest pol­luters. Or it could go fur­ther, and make a sweep­ing state­ment about the lim­its of agency pow­er, which could rever­ber­ate through­out the entire admin­is­tra­tion.

    In the end, Roberts walked a path between the two sce­nar­ios, cur­tail­ing the EPA’s pow­er with­out explic­it­ly extend­ing his rul­ing to oth­er agen­cies. He still, how­ev­er, waved toward fur­ther Supreme Court rul­ings restrict­ing exec­u­tive author­i­ty with his invo­ca­tion of the major ques­tions doc­trine.

    The jus­tices’ intent was obfus­cat­ed at oral argu­ments by the many idio­syn­crasies of the case. They spent less time on the big ques­tions of agency pow­er, and much more puz­zling over the case’s pedes­tri­an ques­tions — like whether the peti­tion­ers had stand­ing to even bring this law­suit in the first place.

    ...

    ———–

    “SCOTUS Shack­les EPA’s Author­i­ty To Reg­u­late Green­house Gas Emis­sions From Pow­er Plants” By Kate Riga; Talk­ing Points Memo; 06/30/2022

    Chief Jus­tice John Roberts deliv­ered the opin­ion for the Court. Jus­tice Ele­na Kagan wrote for the dis­sent­ing lib­er­als, and Jus­tice Neil Gor­such wrote a con­cur­rence, joined by Jus­tice Samuel Ali­to.”

    As we can see, Jus­tice Roberts does­n’t shy from stay­ing true to his cor­po­rate lawyer roots. The con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty was so eager to restrict the EPA’s author­i­ty that it took up a case involv­ing an Oba­ma-era reg­u­la­tion that the Biden admin­is­tra­tion was­n’t even plan­ning on reviv­ing. And by mak­ing this rul­ing based on the “major ques­tions case” right-wing legal the­o­ry, the court was basi­cal­ly affirm­ing that the­o­ry for future use. A the­o­ry that rais­es ques­tions about vir­tu­al­ly all reg­u­la­tions that rel­e­gates them to seman­tic word games, like whether or not the EPA’s man­date under the Clean Air Act allows the agency to man­date clean­er ener­gy sources. Accord­ing to the log­ic of the “major ques­tions case” the­o­ry, man­dat­ing clean­er ener­gy sources rwas a bridge too far for the agency. It’s the kind of omi­nous rul­ing that hints at a lot more omi­nous rul­ings involv­ing oth­er fed­er­al agen­cies are on the way:

    ...
    While the case makes clear that con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty is very hos­tile to exer­cis­es of agency pow­er, it does not go as far as envi­ron­men­tal­ists feared it might. It insists on plant-by-plant reg­u­la­tions (known as “inside the fence”) rather than ones across the grid (“out­side the fence”), but doesn’t com­plete­ly toss the agency’s abil­i­ty to reg­u­late cli­mate change-caus­ing emis­sions.

    Roberts claims that this is a “major ques­tions case,” a nod to a the­o­ry favored in the rightwing judi­cial world that demands agen­cies be exact­ing when inter­pret­ing the pow­ers Con­gress has del­e­gat­ed to them. Push­ing a tran­si­tion to clean­er, renew­able sources of ener­gy, Roberts writes for the major­i­ty, goes beyond what Con­gress intend­ed when it gave the EPA the author­i­ty to reg­u­late air pol­lu­tants.

    He points to Con­gress’ lack of leg­is­lat­ing on the issue as proof, though Repub­li­cans have long blocked any sig­nif­i­cant cli­mate change bills and have only recent­ly, and tepid­ly, accept­ed the fact of the cri­sis’ exis­tence.

    The major­i­ty opin­ion is a clear state­ment of antag­o­nism to exer­cis­es of agency pow­er, with Roberts proud­ly list­ing recent Court deci­sions cur­tail­ing agency author­i­ty.

    ...

    This case had had court-watch­ers on high alert since the Court took it up in the fall. It was a bizarre choice — red states and coal com­pa­nies rest much of their argu­ment on the Oba­ma-era Clean Pow­er Plan, which is not on the books and which the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has no intent to revive.

    The coali­tion want­ed the Court to rule that the Clean Pow­er Plan would have been out­side the EPA’s author­i­ty to enforce under the Clean Air Act, putting guardrails on the agency’s pow­er to reg­u­late green­house gas emis­sions.

    Court watch­ers feared that the case could be a win-win for the red states, giv­en the amenabil­i­ty of the con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices. Either the con­ser­v­a­tive Court could make a nar­row read­ing based on the statu­to­ry text, and hand­cuff the EPA from reg­u­lat­ing one of the country’s biggest pol­luters. Or it could go fur­ther, and make a sweep­ing state­ment about the lim­its of agency pow­er, which could rever­ber­ate through­out the entire admin­is­tra­tion.

    In the end, Roberts walked a path between the two sce­nar­ios, cur­tail­ing the EPA’s pow­er with­out explic­it­ly extend­ing his rul­ing to oth­er agen­cies. He still, how­ev­er, waved toward fur­ther Supreme Court rul­ings restrict­ing exec­u­tive author­i­ty with his invo­ca­tion of the major ques­tions doc­trine.
    ...

    And note the dis­sent from Jus­tice Kagan: she’s basi­cal­ly declar­ing the con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty to be intel­lec­tu­al­ly bank­rupt and devis­ing spe­cial canons like the ‘major ques­tions doc­trine’ that mag­i­cal­ly appear when­ev­er the con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty needs to jus­ti­fy what it wants. It’s a remark­able dis­sent in that it does­n’t just sounds like a dis­sent against this rul­ing. Jus­tice Kagan was mak­ing a state­ment about the intel­lec­tu­al and moral integri­ty of cur­rent Supreme Court con­ser­v­a­tive major­i­ty:

    ...
    Lead­ing the dis­sent, Kagan lists the cat­a­clysmic results of cli­mate change, say­ing that Con­gress absolute­ly gave the EPA the pow­er to address “big” and “new” prob­lems like those threat­en­ing the plan­et.

    She also points out the bizarreness in the Court tak­ing this case premised on an Oba­ma-era rule that is not cur­rent­ly in place, and that the Biden admin­is­tra­tion has no plans to revive.

    “But this Court could not wait—even to see what the new rule says—to con­strain EPA’s efforts to address cli­mate change,” she writes.

    “The cur­rent Court is tex­tu­al­ist only when being so suits it,” she adds lat­er. “When that method would frus­trate broad­er goals, spe­cial canons like the ‘major ques­tions doc­trine’ mag­i­cal­ly appear as get out-of-text-free cards.”
    ...

    How much longer before the lib­er­al jus­tices just start open­ly call­ing their con­ser­v­a­tive col­leagues legal frauds in these dis­sent­ing opin­ions? Because that’s basi­cal­ly what Kagan just wrote, even if she was­n’t quite that explic­it. So how many more mag­i­cal ‘major ques­tions doc­trine’ rul­ings are we going to see before Kagan open­ly declare the court cor­rupt? Time will tell. Time and one open­ly cor­rupt rul­ing after anoth­er after anoth­er.

    And don’t for­get that Kagan’s dis­sent did­n’t just come in the face of this rul­ing. Her dis­sent came in the wake of one absurd pro-cor­po­rate rul­ing after anoth­er for years. As the fol­low­ing July 2020 piece by David Siro­ta reminds us, when John Roberts was plucked from obscu­ri­ty in 2005 by George W. Bush to become the new Chief Jus­tice, he was plucked pre­cise­ly due to cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca’s con­fi­dence that John Roberts was going to be com­mit­ted cor­po­rate whore through and through. And boy where they right!

    BillMoyers.com

    John Roberts Is Fol­low­ing Cor­po­rate America’s Long-Term Plan

    BY David Siro­ta | July 2, 2020

    When Roberts was nom­i­nat­ed in ’05, few focused on his busi­ness feal­ty, but he was appoint­ed because he rep­re­sent­ed cor­po­rate clients aim­ing to trans­form the court — which is exact­ly what he’s doing.

    This week, the Supreme Court duti­ful­ly hand­ed anoth­er vic­to­ry to the US Cham­ber of Com­merce, sid­ing with the cor­po­rate lob­by­ing group by inval­i­dat­ing the law that pro­tect­ed one of the nation’s chief finan­cial reg­u­la­tors from White House med­dling. It was anoth­er step towards mak­ing the Roberts Court the most cor­po­rate-com­pli­ant judi­cial body in mod­ern Amer­i­can his­to­ry.

    In the rul­ing, the court struck down pro­vi­sions that said a pres­i­dent could only fire the head of the Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau for cause. The deci­sion did pre­serve the agency’s right to exist, but as dis­sent­ing Jus­tice Elana Kagan put it, the rul­ing “wipes out a fea­ture of that agency its cre­ators thought fun­da­men­tal to its mis­sion — a mea­sure of inde­pen­dence from polit­i­cal pres­sure.”

    ...

    The result is a hyp­o­crit­i­cal stan­dard that favors the finan­cial indus­try: a cor­po­rate pres­i­dent can instant­ly fire a CFPB chair­man who assess­es fines against Wall Street con­glom­er­ates that bankroll his polit­i­cal machine, but a future pro­gres­sive pres­i­dent is still barred from fir­ing a Fed­er­al Reserve chair­man who doles out hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars of bailouts to cor­po­ra­tions.

    The CFPB rul­ing exem­pli­fies the court’s sharp shift to right — a shift that rel­a­tive­ly few even know about because media head­lines about the court typ­i­cal­ly focus on social issues.

    In an age when our pub­lic mem­o­ry typ­i­cal­ly lasts about 15 min­utes or less, even few­er seem to remem­ber that this soci­ety-chang­ing judi­cial shift is part of a longer-term plan that Roberts and his cor­po­rate allies have been method­i­cal­ly cat­alyz­ing for 15 years.

    That may sound like hyper­bole, but it is an under­state­ment: In 2005, Roberts was nom­i­nat­ed and appoint­ed to the court pre­cise­ly because he was seen by the busi­ness lob­by as the most like­ly to engi­neer a jurispru­den­tial shift in favor of cor­po­ra­tions. He earned that rep­u­ta­tion after a career in pri­vate prac­tice rep­re­sent­ing the Cham­ber and the major cor­po­rate clients that he would go on to faith­ful­ly serve as chief jus­tice.

    The Lost His­to­ry of A Cor­po­rate Chief Jus­tice

    If you only fol­lowed major rul­ings on social issues like abor­tion or immi­gra­tion, or if you only fol­lowed Roberts’ pub­lic pro­nounce­ments, you might con­clude that he is a mod­er­ate jus­tice. But as this newslet­ter showed last week, he has presided over a court that is a cor­po­rate star cham­ber. Roberts him­self reflex­ive­ly sides with the US Cham­ber in most cas­es that the cor­po­rate lob­by­ing group weighs in on.

    That is exact­ly what the Cham­ber had hoped for way back in 2005, when Roberts was nom­i­nat­ed to the court by Pres­i­dent George W. Bush. In a span of just 5 years, Roberts would go from lit­tle-known cor­po­rate lawyer pitch­ing in on the GOP’s effort to pil­fer the Flori­da 2000 elec­tion to chief jus­tice of the country’s high­est court.

    Weeks before Bush plucked Roberts out of obscu­ri­ty, the Cham­ber launched what was billed as its first cam­paign for a Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion, includ­ing paid media, grass­roots out­reach and lob­by­ing (this kind of cam­paign­ing is now rou­tine, and pow­ered by a well-financed GOP machine).

    The Los Ange­les Times report­ed that as part of its inau­gur­al pub­lic cam­paign for a Supreme Court jus­tice, the Cham­ber “for­ward­ed to the White House its review of fed­er­al judges from each cir­cuit, with rat­ings of each judge based on rul­ings that con­cern busi­ness.”

    The Times not­ed that while lib­er­als tend­ed to focus on social issues, busi­ness groups had come to under­stand that the court wield­ed tremen­dous pow­er over the econ­o­my:

    The head of the Nation­al Assn. of Man­u­fac­tur­ers, for­mer Michi­gan Gov. John Engler, a Repub­li­can, has long argued that busi­ness should pay more atten­tion to the courts.
    “We can’t sit on the side­lines with the third branch of gov­ern­ment” mak­ing so many deci­sions affect­ing busi­ness, he has said.
    Patrick Cleary, a vice pres­i­dent of the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ asso­ci­a­tion, cal­cu­lat­ed that 80% of a fed­er­al judge’s civ­il cas­es “con­cerns issues that we care about” — lia­bil­i­ty, con­tract and employ­ment law.
    “All the hard-fought gains busi­ness has made in the exec­u­tive and leg­isla­tive branch­es could be lost” by the deci­sion of a sin­gle judge, Cleary said.

    Roberts was soon nom­i­nat­ed to the high court despite hav­ing bare­ly two years of expe­ri­ence as a judge.

    “He Was The Go-To Lawyer For The Busi­ness Com­mu­ni­ty”

    Upon Roberts’ nom­i­na­tion, the Cham­ber pub­licly endorsed him in a glow­ing press release — one that notably did not men­tion that Roberts had rep­re­sent­ed the Cham­ber “in a bat­tle over a Maine law designed to low­er drug prices for state res­i­dents who lacked insur­ance cov­er­age,” accord­ing to the Asso­ci­at­ed Press.

    That wasn’t the only Roberts client with big busi­ness before the gov­ern­ment.

    In a sto­ry head­lined “A Resume Strong on Busi­ness,” the Los Ange­les Times not­ed that “while in pri­vate prac­tice, Roberts rep­re­sent­ed numer­ous com­pa­nies — Chrysler Corp., Lit­ton Sys­tems, Toy­ota Motor Corp., Well­Point Health Net­works and NBC.” In addi­tion, he helped major cor­po­ra­tions cir­cum­vent the Amer­i­cans With Dis­abil­i­ty Act, the Endan­gered Species Act, seat­belt laws, affir­ma­tive action statutes and antitrust stric­tures.

    The Times not­ed that Roberts was nom­i­nat­ed specif­i­cal­ly because he would car­ry the water for cor­po­ra­tions.

    “He was the go-to lawyer for the busi­ness com­mu­ni­ty. They are very com­fort­able with him,” Wash­ing­ton lawyer Thomas Gold­stein told the news­pa­per. “He def­i­nite­ly is a friend of the cham­ber. Of all the can­di­dates, he is the one they knew best.”

    “Busi­ness­peo­ple are very enthused,” added C. Boy­den Gray, a for­mer White House coun­sel for Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush. “I think the rea­son is he under­stands busi­ness issues…He has been immersed in them in pri­vate prac­tice.”

    Fast for­ward 15 years, and Roberts has deliv­ered for his old cor­po­rate clients — his court sides with the Cham­ber far more than the pre­vi­ous two courts, which were already fair­ly con­ser­v­a­tive.

    Of course, Roberts’ under­stat­ed tone and his occa­sion­al swing vote on non-cor­po­rate issues give him the pati­na of mod­er­a­tion. But it is all part of Roberts’ long con. As The Nation’s legal ana­lyst Elie Mys­tal com­pelling­ly argues, Roberts may occa­sion­al­ly shy away from some of the most extreme opin­ions of his con­ser­v­a­tive col­leagues on the court, but it is only to main­tain the image of judi­cial legit­i­ma­cy as his court sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly tears up the social con­tract with under­stat­ed-but-rad­i­cal rul­ings that get lit­tle pub­lic atten­tion.

    “Unlike his con­ser­v­a­tive col­leagues, Roberts, who is only 65 years old, under­stands that he will wield pow­er for anoth­er decade or more,” Mys­tal writes. “Roberts rules like a man who plans to be here when Don­ald Trump is off some­where hawk­ing ‘Amer­i­ca Used to Be Great’ hats at the ‘Don­ald J. Trump MOST Pres­i­den­tial Library and Bigly Golf Course.’ His rul­ings do not reflect a mod­er­a­tion of his phi­los­o­phy; they reflect an unwill­ing­ness to be caught up by the law­less­ness of this moment.”

    Mys­tal right­ly con­cludes: “John Roberts is not a fail­ure of the con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment. He’s not a ‘squish’ or a RINO. He’s a rock-ribbed Repub­li­can jurist who is doing the long and patient work of defend­ing cor­po­rate Amer­i­ca and the white male patri­archy.”

    That work is not the scheme of one lone rogue jurist — it is part of a long-term blue­print craft­ed by the most pow­er­ful cor­po­rate forces in Wash­ing­ton.

    ———–

    “John Roberts Is Fol­low­ing Cor­po­rate America’s Long-Term Plan” by David Siro­ta; BillMoyers.com; 07/02/2020

    “The CFPB rul­ing exem­pli­fies the court’s sharp shift to right — a shift that rel­a­tive­ly few even know about because media head­lines about the court typ­i­cal­ly focus on social issues.”

    While the over­turn­ing of Roe may have shocked the Amer­i­can pub­lic, shock­ing rul­ings on mat­ters of cor­po­rate account­abil­i­ty have long been a fea­ture of the Roberts Court. In the case of the 2020 CFPB rul­ing, Jus­tice Kagan points out how the rul­ing effec­tive­ly wipes out what was seen as a cen­tral fea­ture of the agency when law­mak­ers cre­at­ed it. It’s an inter­est­ing obser­va­tion in light of the “major ques­tions” basis of the Roberts EPA rul­ing. When it was clear the CFPB was fol­low­ing the stat­ed mis­sion of the agency law­mak­ers intend­ed, the Roberts court mag­i­cal­ly found a new excuse:

    ...
    In the rul­ing, the court struck down pro­vi­sions that said a pres­i­dent could only fire the head of the Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau for cause. The deci­sion did pre­serve the agency’s right to exist, but as dis­sent­ing Jus­tice Elana Kagan put it, the rul­ing “wipes out a fea­ture of that agency its cre­ators thought fun­da­men­tal to its mis­sion — a mea­sure of inde­pen­dence from polit­i­cal pres­sure.”

    ...

    The result is a hyp­o­crit­i­cal stan­dard that favors the finan­cial indus­try: a cor­po­rate pres­i­dent can instant­ly fire a CFPB chair­man who assess­es fines against Wall Street con­glom­er­ates that bankroll his polit­i­cal machine, but a future pro­gres­sive pres­i­dent is still barred from fir­ing a Fed­er­al Reserve chair­man who doles out hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars of bailouts to cor­po­ra­tions.
    ...

    And as the arti­cle reminds us, this was why Roberts was nom­i­nat­ed back in 2005 in the first place: to be a cor­po­rate legal whore. The Chief Cor­po­rate Legal Whore, in this case. That’s his mis­sion. A long-term decades-long mis­sion that requires that Roberts occa­sion­al­ly pre­tend to be a ‘mod­er­ate’ for the sake of main­tain­ing some degree of legit­i­ma­cy for the court in the eyes of the pub­lic. It’s intend­ed to be a slow boil:

    ...
    In an age when our pub­lic mem­o­ry typ­i­cal­ly lasts about 15 min­utes or less, even few­er seem to remem­ber that this soci­ety-chang­ing judi­cial shift is part of a longer-term plan that Roberts and his cor­po­rate allies have been method­i­cal­ly cat­alyz­ing for 15 years.

    That may sound like hyper­bole, but it is an under­state­ment: In 2005, Roberts was nom­i­nat­ed and appoint­ed to the court pre­cise­ly because he was seen by the busi­ness lob­by as the most like­ly to engi­neer a jurispru­den­tial shift in favor of cor­po­ra­tions. He earned that rep­u­ta­tion after a career in pri­vate prac­tice rep­re­sent­ing the Cham­ber and the major cor­po­rate clients that he would go on to faith­ful­ly serve as chief jus­tice.

    ...

    If you only fol­lowed major rul­ings on social issues like abor­tion or immi­gra­tion, or if you only fol­lowed Roberts’ pub­lic pro­nounce­ments, you might con­clude that he is a mod­er­ate jus­tice. But as this newslet­ter showed last week, he has presided over a court that is a cor­po­rate star cham­ber. Roberts him­self reflex­ive­ly sides with the US Cham­ber in most cas­es that the cor­po­rate lob­by­ing group weighs in on.

    That is exact­ly what the Cham­ber had hoped for way back in 2005, when Roberts was nom­i­nat­ed to the court by Pres­i­dent George W. Bush. In a span of just 5 years, Roberts would go from lit­tle-known cor­po­rate lawyer pitch­ing in on the GOP’s effort to pil­fer the Flori­da 2000 elec­tion to chief jus­tice of the country’s high­est court.

    ...

    Of course, Roberts’ under­stat­ed tone and his occa­sion­al swing vote on non-cor­po­rate issues give him the pati­na of mod­er­a­tion. But it is all part of Roberts’ long con. As The Nation’s legal ana­lyst Elie Mys­tal com­pelling­ly argues, Roberts may occa­sion­al­ly shy away from some of the most extreme opin­ions of his con­ser­v­a­tive col­leagues on the court, but it is only to main­tain the image of judi­cial legit­i­ma­cy as his court sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly tears up the social con­tract with under­stat­ed-but-rad­i­cal rul­ings that get lit­tle pub­lic atten­tion.
    ...

    It’s been quite the long con: even to this day, the John Robert­s’s judi­cial extrem­ism and cor­po­rate whor­ing are bare­ly rec­og­nized by the pub­lic at large. He real­ly has suc­ceed­ed in slow boil­ing the US in close to two decades of cor­po­rate shilling at the high­est court in the land. And at the rel­a­tive­ly youth­ful age of 65 (youth­ful for a jus­tice), we have decades more of this slow boil­ing to go. Well, decades of Roberts’ slow boil­ing long con. Future gen­er­a­tions will pre­sum­ably have cen­turies and mil­len­nia to enjoy the slow boil of cli­mate change.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | June 30, 2022, 3:32 pm

Post a comment