Last week was a whirlwind of news stories from every corner of the globe, on both sides of the aisle from all walks of life…there was something going on that affected each and every single one of us.
- Nancy Pelosi was elected speaker of the House in the first caucus vote.
- CIA confirms MBS ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist murder
- 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake in Alaska.
- MBS and Putin bromance was seen on national television when they high-fived each other.
- Invanka’s Emails – Hope Trey Gowdry is getting right on that.
- Thomas Farr “Right” has his voter suppressing bigoted ass handed to him by the only black Republican, Tim Scott.
- Cindy Hyde-Smith says public hangings are bringing sexy back and is elected in Mississippi.
- Ambery Guyer is convicted of killing Botham Jean in his own apartment. Finally, a cop is indicted…but is it because she is a woman? Did they sacrifice her?
- More Troops are sent to the border (totaling 4,000 and expected to remain through January)
- Border families were tear gassed and Republicans said tear gas is so harmless you can put it on Nachos. (I’m here for the 1st Republican to try.)
- GM Ohio closes its doors to more than 1,000 workers and Trump threatens to withhold federal subsidies…from Twitter
- Russian hijacks Ukraine ships in a strange Pirates of the Carribean style takeover.
- MSNBC refused to air the Lying Press Secretary, Sarah Sanders during her
- Jared Kushner received Mexico Governments’ highest honor.
- Dozens of pilot whales wash up on the beach of New Zealand
- Flash floods hit the same California neighborhoods wrought with the wildfires
- Ex-police chief in Florida is sentenced to 3 years for framing innocent black men
- Trump says the environment is the best it has been in years
- Manafort lied and had his plea deal taken off the table
- NRA claims it has lost $55 million since 2016 and started laying off employees at NRA TV
- Stephen Hillenburg, the creator of SpongeBob Squarepants has died at age 57
- We still have 14,000 children in concentration camps.
- Trump and White House lied about meeting with Putin, he did, in fact, keep the meeting.
(Leave a story or two that blew your mind last week in the comments below, if you don’t see it listed here)
And that’s just the ones I read myself….these are all significant in some form or another, stories of lives all across this country affected…in ONE week…We are seeing unprecedented times ladies and gentlemen, but the one story that I want you to not lose sight of is the Deutsche Bank/Burke raids, and the Cohen Guilty Plea all striking on the same day, last Thursday. That’s a triple-double that not even Oliver Robertson could pull off! But what does it REALLY all mean and who are these key players. I want to tell you what most people aren’t really saying too loudly… Grab a glass of wine, grab your reading glasses, have a seat and get comfy.
Deutsche Bank’s Top 5 Scandals and its ties to Russia and Trump:
What better fitting bank to have for a lifetime thug and criminal, than a bank that makes Scarface look like the Pope in comparison.
Deutsche Bank has been embroiled in money laundering, espionage, and even schemes involving interest rates. The bank is Germany’s largest financial institution and money lender and has a worldwide reputation for disastrous scandals, ordered to pay exorbitant fines and settlement payoffs in order to rectify its shitty business behavior.
On Thursday of last week, the Frankfurt Police Department raided six of the Bank’s offices, after allegations of Russian money laundering, once again came to light. The allegations first appeared in the “Panama Papers” investigation that was published by a consortium of journalists back in 2016. The bank is accused of helping its nefarious clientele “transfer money from criminal activities” to offshore accounts and tax havens.
This isn’t the bank’s first rodeo with criminal allegations and investigations. This is why the company’s stock prices fell from €90 before the 2007/2008 financial crash to €8.25 in trading last week. This, ladies and gentleman, is The President of the United States’ preferred financial institution.
Let’s look at what else Deutsche Bank has been up to.
Crime #1: Laundering Money From Russia
Back in 2017, Deutsche was fined a total of $630 million dollars by the United States and United Kingdom Financial crimes divisions, in regards to allegations that the bank was laundering substantial amounts of money out of Russia.
According to investigators from both countries, Deutsche Bank’s anti-money laundering quality control measures, failed to catch the scam trades and as a result of $10 billion dollars, “allowed a corrupt group of bank traders and offshore entities to improperly and covertly transfer more than $10 billion out of Russia,” the regulators said.
Crime #2: London Interest Scam
During the time span of 2003-2007, Deutsche Bank was fined $2.5 billion dollars, once again by US and British authorities, for their role in criminal conspiracy to commit wire fraud and a huge interest scam, where they fixed the interest rates to benefit their bottom line, but came out of loans and contracts across the globe.
When it was all said and done, authorities had identified at least 30 Deutsche Bank employees who had been involved in the interest scam, yet only 7 employees were ordered to be terminated by US authorities, and that included several directors and vice presidents of the involved departments.
This was one of the largest fines imposed on a financial institution to date and UK regulator Georgina Philippou said at the time: “This case stands out for the seriousness and duration of the breaches by Deutsche Bank – something reflected in the size of today’s fine.”
Crime #3: Violation of Economic Sanctions of the United States of America
Yet again in the same time span, yet after the London interest scam fines had been imposed, Deutsche Bank settled in a case with US authorities for violating sanctions imposed by the US government against Iran, Syria, Libya, and Sudan.
The bank was charged with falsifying transaction information, and often times hiding them, during the years between 1996 and 2006, which happens to be the same years that the US strictly prohibited the business dealings and financial transactions with any of the countries on the terrorists’ financier list.
The employees at Deutsche Bank found a loophole in the sanctions and was able to get around doing business in these countries regardless, which cost the company $258 million dollars in settlement fees.
Crime #4: The Selling of Toxic Securities
During the period right before the financial crisis of 2007/2008, Deutsche Bank once again pulled out its gangster card and plead guilty to selling and pooling toxic financial products. This time the settlement reached was $7.2 billion dollars with the USDJ in 2017. The bank was accused of selling bad mortgage funded securities during 2005 and 2007. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch adamantly stated at the time that, “Deutsche Bank did not merely mislead investors: it contributed to an international financial crisis.”
Crime #5: Illegal Spying on Competitors and Critics
3 individuals, in 2009 gained the unwanted and negative attention of Deutsche Bank and an internal investigation found that the bank had hired a private PI firm to spy and report on it’s loudest critics at the time. A shareholder of the company, a journalist and a general member of the public. Pretty scary right?
After the dust settled, the company was determined not to have committed any wrongdoing, but the accusations rocked the company’s remaining reputation and was forced to terminate it’s Head of Corporate Security for Germany and the Global Head of Investor Relations, as sacrificial lambs, for the public’s outrage and thirst for corporate blood.
So here we are in November of 2018, days after the raid, and weeks after The New York Times reported that the president entreated his former business relationship with Justin Kennedy as part of a continued effort to compel his father to retire, it is important to point out these Russian connections with Deutsche Bank, Russia, and Trump.
As the Trump Organization staggered through the 1990s and 2000s, Deutsche Bank was one of the only financial institutions ready to lend to him.
Other big banks have hard declined any type of loan to Trump, reportedly stamping the term “the Donald risk” to refer to his repeated bankruptcies and failures to repay loans. Nonetheless, Deutsche Bank, whose real-estate department continued to lend him hundreds of millions of dollars to finance his projects, seemed to have a greater risk yearning.
Despite being a disastrous credit risk at Deutsche Bank as well, the relationship continued: Struggling to repay a $640 million loan after the 2008 financial crash, Trump instead sued a group of lenders led by the bank for $3 billion their roles in causing the crisis, only for Deutsche Bank to countersue for an unspecified amount.
The cases were ultimately settled—and Deutsche Bank reopened its line of credit with Trump, who still owes the bank hundreds of millions of dollars, through its private-wealth-management side.
Justin Kennedy not only held a senior executive position at Deutsche Bank but reportedly worked closely with Trump through this bizarre and tumultuous time, departing the firm soon after in 2009.
Others in Trump’s orbit have also benefited from a relationship with Deutsche Bank; his son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner’s floundering real-estate empire has also received massive loans from Deutsche Bank, including $285 million one month before the 2016 election.
Trump has consistently labored to keep his finances opaque but has been especially averse to any investigation of his Deutsche Bank activity.
Trump once told The New York Times he considers investigating his and his family’s finances “a red line” and “a violation”, but Mueller has not stopped looking into the Trump Organization.
One move, in particular, seemed to trigger an outsized response: After multiple outlets reported that Mueller had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank’s records on Trump’s accounts, Trump reportedly attempted to fire Mueller, only to pull back when Mueller’s team told him those reporters were inaccurate. A U.S. official has, however, told Reuters that Mueller is investigating whether Deutsche Bank may have sold Trump Organization debts to sanctioned Russian banks. (Neither Deutsche Bank nor the Russian banks contacted by Reuters commented on whether such a transaction was made.)
The list of Russian scandals with Deutsche Bank is astounding.
During the 2000s, Deutsche Bank worked closely with Russian state institutions that have since come under U.S. sanctions. (Whether these relationships continued after the sanctions were enacted is unknown, and Deutsche Bank is not known to have commented on the relationships.)
In 2015, Deutsche Bank’s Russian arm was implicated in the “mirror trading” scandal, a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme, leading international oversight bodies to fine Deutsche Bank more than $600 million, which Deutsche Bank paid in January 2017. The bank has since signed a consent order and is cooperating with ongoing investigations.
Earlier this month, Bloomberg reported another line of inquiry into Deutsche Bank’s activities in Russia—namely, that internal investigators are looking into whether the company attempted to curry favor with Russian officials by hiring their children. (The former executive at the center of the probe, who has since left the company, denies any improper behavior; the bank has not commented.)
Deutsche Bank has also reportedly loaned at least $90 million to Prevezon, a Russian company (represented by the June 9 Trump Tower meeting attendee Natalia Veselnitskaya) that recently settled a massive money-laundering case with the U.S. government. Deutsche Bank was not implicated in the fraud, and Prevezon has not admitted wrongdoing.
This just keeps getting better and better, doesn’t it? So let’s talk about the raid on Burke’s office and how Cohen also plays into all of this as if this weren’t enough…I hope your wheels are turning, and you are seeing how all of this spells disaster for the 45th sitting President of the United States.
As if this raid on Deutsche Bank weren’t enough, Trump Tower was once again at the center of all this drama.
On the same day, Michael Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, made an impromptu appearance in front of a Federal judge, to plead Guilty about lying to Congress during the Russian investigation. It is worth noting that there is no official or formal written agreement between Cohen and special counsel Robert Mueller, but it would appear that Michael is keeping his end of the bargain and telling his story for the sake of democracy. We’ll see if he keeps out any hope of a pardon, although, I’m certainly not going to hold my breath for it.
Last year during the committee hearing, Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow deal, stating at the time, there was little to no discussion about a Trump Tower Moscow deal at any time during Trump’s campaign. As it turns out, not only did he lie to Congress about it, but he was the key orchestrator of the deal, which is in direct contradiction to what he told Congress last year.
Mueller’s prosecutor’s uncovered that the Trump Tower Moscow deal was, in fact, discussed several times with Trump Organization, among key staff and players, during the late spring of 2016. It is also worth noting that prosecutors refute all previous statements made by “Individual 1”, who we now all know is Trump. It also included other individuals, Ivanka, Don Jr, and Even Eric who were the key players of the organization.
So how does the raid on 74 year old, Alderman Ed Burke’s City Hall Office play into all of this? It happened on the same day, is it tied together? Despite what you may be hearing on Twitter, this raid timing was a coincidence and is not associated in any way to the Mueller investigation, according to Joseph Fitzpatrick, a spokesman for U.S. Attorney John Lausch. In fact, the raid was done in conjunction with the United States Attorney’s Office of Chicago.
The focus of the federal investigation remained unknown. What is apparent: Burke’s connections at City Hall and beyond are endless.
The City Council Finance Committee Burke has chaired for decades holds great rule over the city’s “pocketbook”, and commands the city’s $100 million per year workers’ compensation program that often decides whether Chicago’s most important legislation will move forward. Burke also has carried a substantial impact on who becomes appointed to the judicial bench in Cook County.
Burke long has been the most productive fundraiser among Chicago’s 50 aldermen, often receiving contributions from interests affected by legislation before the City Council.
Burke also has a profitable business as one of the city’s most notable property tax appeals attorneys, routinely saving some of Chicago’s largest business industries, millions of dollars on their tax bills, Trump is one of his main clients.
If Burke knows what the feds are after, he maintained his poker face as he spoke to reporters outside his Southwest Side home on Thursday.
This isn’t the first time Burke has come under investigation, as federal authorities have served his office with several subpoenas in the past. The difference is that this time was a full-blown FBI raid and take-over. Shutting the office completely down and putting up brown paper at all of the windows, including his other office on 51st Street.
There has been no official report released as to the nature of the raids and of course, Alderman Burke is all, “Mums the word”.
So what is the connection? We have yet to find out, but whatever it is, I know I’m quite sure it’s way bigger and way more relevant than you and I can fathom at this point. All I know is whatever happens? I’m here for it!
Stay tuned folks, there are going to be many more coincidences and revelations in the days to come. See you next week!
Renee’ s Column, “Dem Words: Wednesday Words of Wisdom”, that breaks down everyday issues from the perspective of the black community.
Her hope is that through her words, she can get more people in her community and across America to become consistently involved in our democracy and become educated and re-informed about how politics does, in fact, affect our every day lives.
Everyone of every race, religion, gender, and creed are encouraged to read this blog each Wednesday and increase your self-awareness as an African American, but also for those of you are avid supporters and believers of all equality to support our movement, and become educated and informed of our struggles as well.
This is for everyone. So we never have to worry about history repeating itself…again! Let’s say enough is enough and let’s stay engaged, and keep those around us engaged as well!
It’s up to us. Those of us on Twitter, ARE the leaders, the ones who are not on social media are the ones we need to reach. This alternative perspective allows you to speak to multiple groups of people and help save our democracy. The midterms are just one step, we have 2020 to get through, and beyond!
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