Deutsche Bank probes Trump banker’s apartment deal

Donald Trump’s longtime private banker at Deutsche Bank, Rosemary Vrablic, is facing an internal investigation into the terms of a previously unknown apartment deal between her and a company co-owned by the US president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

Ms Vrablic’s 2013 purchase of an apartment linked to Mr Kushner came to light after his latest annual financial disclosures, which are required because he is a senior adviser in the White House.

The disclosures revealed a previously unknown connection between Mr Kushner and a company that sold apartments in a luxury building on New York’s Park Avenue.

The New York Times subsequently unearthed property records showing that Ms Vrablic and two of her colleagues at Deutsche at the time bought an apartment from the company — Bergel 715 — in 2013 when Mr Kushner was part-owner of the firm and his family was a client of Ms Vrablic’s.

A person familiar with the situation said Deutsche was not previously aware of the deal and was investigating the terms of the $1.5m transaction. Bankers are prohibited from taking preferential deals from their clients.

Deutsche also currently has a rule requiring bankers to disclose any transactions they do with clients. The bank could not immediately confirm whether this rule was in place in 2013.

In a statement, Deutsche said it will “closely examine the information that came to light on Friday and the fact pattern from 2013”.

Deutsche hired Ms Vrablic from Bank of America as a senior private banker and managing director 14 years ago, calling her “one of the top private bankers to the US ultra high-net-worth community”.

Mr Trump and Mr Kushner have both showered praise on Ms Vrablic, with the former telling the New York Times in 2016 that she was “the boss” of Deutsche, and the latter describing her as an “amazing banker, amazing woman” in closed-door testimony to the House intelligence committee in 2017.

Ms Vrablic will continue with her normal duties during the investigation, as will Dominic Scalzi, a private banker who was hired alongside Ms Vrablic in 2006 and also invested in the property, said the person familiar with the situation.

The third banker listed on the apartment’s property deeds, Matthew Pontoriero, has since moved to Citigroup.

The property in question — a 908 sq ft one-bedroom apartment in a doorman building, 715 Park Avenue — was transferred to a company registered to Ms Vrablic’s home address in 2014 and sold for $1.85m the following year, according to public property records cited by the Times.

Ms Vrablic’s lawyer, Mr Scalzi and Mr Pontoriero did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while a spokesperson for Citigroup declined to comment.

The White House referred questions to the Kushner family’s property company. Christopher Smith, general counsel for Kushner Companies, said it was “not the managing partner of that entity [Bergel 715] and has no involvement with the sales of the apartments”.

The US president has a complex relationship with Deutsche. Both parties have sued each other, but Mr Trump has remained an active client of the German lender, turning to them for some of his biggest loans.

Last month, the US Supreme Court temporarily blocked subpoenas from Congress demanding Deutsche hand over Mr Trump’s financial records, sending the issue back to lower courts. At the time Deutsche said it “remained neutral” throughout the proceedings and would abide by the courts’ final decision.

Mr Trump has long argued that his finances should remain private, breaking with the long-held tradition for presidential candidates to publish their tax returns.

Additional reporting by Joshua Chaffin in New York and Aime Williams in Washington

Link to Original Story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.