Manafort banker charged with bribery in seeking Trump post

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Chicago banker Stephen Calk was charged by federal prosecutors with bribery for seeking a post in the Trump administration in return for $16 million in loans to a senior official in the Trump 2016 presidential campaign.

That official matches the description of former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who received millions of dollars in loans from Federal Savings Bank of Chicago. Manafort isn’t named in court papers unsealed on Thursday.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team has said that Calk, age 54, conspired with Manafort to defraud his own bank when he pushed approval of Manafort’s loans in the hopes of winning a senior post in the Trump administration, prosecutors said.

Calk is set to appear in Manhattan federal court later Thursday.

The charge against Calk grew out of Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. As part of that probe, Mueller’s office accused Manafort of lying to three lenders, including Calk’s bank, to obtain $20 million in loans.

In Manafort’s trial last August, a witness testified that Calk expedited approval of two loans to Manafort despite red flags raised by his staff about Manafort’s ability to repay. Calk wanted Manafort to help him land a job in Trump’s administration as Treasury secretary or housing secretary, according to testimony at the Manafort trial by Dennis Raico, a former senior vice president at Federal Savings Bank. Jurors were also told that Calk was also interested in becoming secretary of the Army.

Manafort’s request “didn’t go through the normal process because Mr. Calk was expediting the loan and pushing it through, notwithstanding the red flags,” prosecutor Greg Andres said during Manafort’s trial. “So there was agreement between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Calk to have the loans approved, they were approved, and in turn, Mr. Manafort proposed Mr. Calk for certain positions within the administration.” Calk didn’t receive a position in the administration.

Bloomberg News