Paul Manafort trial day 9: Bank CEO wanted Manafort to pitch him for Treasury secretary

After a lengthy, unexplained recess of over three hours, Judge T.S. Ellis III reconvened Manafort’s trial at 2:20 p.m. Prosecutor Greg Andres called Dennis Raico, a senior vice president of New York-based Federal Savings Bank.

Raico described his role as the bank’s salesman, telling the court that he helped facilitate two loans on Manafort’s behalf. The first, for $9.5 million, was to fund construction on Manafort’s property in the Hamptons.

The second loan, for $6.5 million, was to be used for construction on one of Manafort’s properties in Brooklyn. The loans, totaling $16 million, resulted in a $150,000 commission for Raico. Raico, testifying after receiving immunity from the government, explained the loan application and approval process undertaken by Manafort.

Raico explained that the bank’s credit committee, based in Chicago, was required to authorize the loans. The CEO of the bank, Stephen Calk, and James Brennan, a senior credit officer, were among those who sat on the committee. Although Manafort’s finances were “scattered” and “disorganized,” Raico said the committee approved Manafort’s loans within a day, which he characterized as unusually fast.

Raico testified that, on more than one occasion, Calk had asked him to pass messages along to Manafort expressing interest in working for both the Trump Foundation and the Trump administration. On November 11, 2016, Raico said Calk asked him to act as an intermediary between him and Manafort. Calk requested that Raico call Manafort on his behalf to express interest in serving as Treasury secretary. Raico, however, said that he did not do so because he felt “uncomfortable.”

He was also asked about an outstanding American Express card balance, too. Court documents said that Rick Gates, to whom Manafort had lent his credit card, had incurred a $300,000 charge for Yankee tickets.

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