A retired bank official, Nicholas Haigh, testified in the civil fraud trial of former President Donald Trump in New York, revealing startling information about the loans Trump secured using financial statements declared fraudulent by a court.
These “statements of financial condition” were pivotal in obtaining loans, including a $125 million loan for his golf resort in Doral, Florida, in 2011 and a $107 million loan for his Chicago hotel and condo skyscraper in 2012, both from Deutsche Bank.
Haigh, a former Deutsche Bank risk management officer, disclosed that the bank sometimes adjusted the values Trump attributed to his properties, such as Trump Tower and golf courses, providing him with larger loans and lower interest rates.
These adjustments were instrumental in Trump’s ability to secure financing, and Haigh headed the risk group for the bank’s private wealth management unit from 2008 to 2018.
The trial revolves around allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud, and falsifying business records, and New York Attorney General Letitia James leads it.
It’s the first time a bank official has testified about the impact of Trump’s financial statements on his ability to obtain loans.
Deutsche Bank’s rules mandated that Trump act as a guarantor for the loans he sought and put up his properties as collateral.
According to Haigh, Deutsche Bank wouldn’t have approved these loans without a “strong financial guarantee” from Trump.
Haigh, who reviewed Trump’s financial statements before approving the loans, initially had no reason to doubt their validity.
Trump’s Financial Statements and the Impact on His Legal Battle
These documents portrayed Trump as a wealthy businessman with substantial golf courses and real estate investments, strong cash flow, and minimal debt.
Deutsche Bank representatives even met with Trump Organization executives and examined bank account and brokerage statements to verify his cash holdings.
Trump has consistently denied any wrongdoing and emphasizes disclaimers on the documents that he believes alerted lenders to do their due diligence.
These disclaimers state that the financial statements aren’t audited and that others “might reach different conclusions” about Trump’s financial position if they had more information.
In one example, Trump’s 2011 financial statement listed his net worth at $4.3 billion, while Deutsche Bank pegged it at approximately $2.4 billion in an internal credit report.
Trump’s golf course values were halved, and there was a significant difference of opinion regarding how to account for golf membership deposits.
The trial’s outcome will significantly affect Trump and his business empire. New York Attorney General Letitia James seeks $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump conducting business in New York.
Despite his denials, the testimony from Haigh and other evidence presented in the trial may have lasting consequences for the former president.
Trump is also expected to testify later in the practice, making it a pivotal moment in his legal battles.