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Bank CEO charged with bribing in attempt to obtain Trump administration role


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Bank CEO charged with bribing in attempt to obtain Trump administration role

The Department of Justice has charged Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank Chairman and CEO Stephen Calk with financial institution bribery in his effort to obtain a role in President Donald Trump's administration.

Calk approved issuing millions of dollars in high-risk loans between July 2016 and January 2017 in exchange for assistance from Paul Manafort, who was chairman of Trump's presidential campaign and then was an informal adviser to the presidential transition team, to obtain a senior position in the then-incoming administration.

Calk, according to a press release by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York, allegedly extended $16 million in loans to Manafort and presented a list of the government positions he desired, ranging from being the secretary of either the Treasury, Commerce or Defense departments to ambassadorships.

The complaint also alleged Calk knew of red flags when considering the loans, such as Manafort's history of defaulting on prior loan payments. In order to circumvent lending limits, Calk had the parent company acquire a portion of the loans from Federal Savings Bank.

Just after Calk and the bank's credit committee conditionally approved a $9.5 million loan, Manafort appointed him to an economic advisory committee affiliated with the Trump campaign. The borrower's efforts eventually led to Calk being interviewed for Under Secretary of the Army, but he was not hired, according to the complaint.

A former Federal Savings Bank executive testified in court in August 2018 that Calk was directly involved in approving loans to Manafort in exchange for a role in the Trump administration.

Federal Savings Bank is a subsidiary of National Bancorp Holdings Inc.