Deutsche Bank has launched an internal investigation into Rosemary Vrablic, the longtime personal banker of President Trump and Jared Kushner - after a Friday disclosure by Trump's son-in-law revealed what may have been an inappropriate real estate transaction between Vrablic, two Deutsche Bank colleagues, and a company part-owned by Kushner in 2013.
On Friday, Kushner disclosed in an annual personal financial report that he and wife Ivanka Trump received between $1 million and $5 million in 2019 from a company called Bergel 715 Associates.
The New York Times did some digging and uncovered that in 2013 Vrablic and her Deutsche Bank colleagues purchased a Park Avenue apartment for approximately $1.5 million from Bergel at the time Kushner held an ownership stake in the entity, posing a potential conflict of interest which may have violated firm rules.
When Ms. Vrablic and her colleagues bought the apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner were her clients at Deutsche Bank. They had received roughly $190 million in loans from the bank and would seek hundreds of millions of dollars more.
Typically banks restrict employees from doing personal business with clients because of the potential for conflicts between the employees’ interests and those of the bank. -NYT
According to the report, Deutsche Bank was unaware of the potentially inappropriate nature of the transaction until the Times contacted them.
"The bank will closely examine the information that came to light on Friday and the fact pattern from 2013," said bank spokesman Daniel Hunter.
Until now, Deutsche Bank has tried to shield Vrablic from outside scrutiny, presumably in part because she knows *so much* about the Trump and Kushner relationships.— David Enrich (@davidenrich) August 2, 2020
It is therefore quite interesting that the bank is now publicly stating that they are looking into her conduct.
Christopher Smith, general counsel at Kushner Companies, told the Times that "Kushner is not the managing partner of that entity and has no involvement with the sales of the apartments."
Kushner's stake in Bergel - which has sold dozens of high-end condos in the Park Avenue building since the 1980s - is unknown, though at least one apartment was sold to the Kushner family's real estate company according to the report.
Bergel 715’s main owners include George Gellert, a close friend of the Kushner family and an investor in numerous deals with Kushner Companies.
There is no indication that the three Deutsche Bank employees bought the apartment — described on Zillow as a 908-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath unit with a balcony overlooking Park Avenue — at a below-market price.
In 2014, the deed for the apartment, Unit 12A, was transferred to a limited liability company registered to Ms. Vrablic’s home address, according to property records. The next year, the apartment was sold for $1.85 million — a not-unheard-of 22 percent increase from the 2013 purchase price. -NYT
The Kushner family has a long relationship with Vrablic predating her employment at Deutsche Bank which began in 2006. As one of New York's leading private bankers, Kushner brought Vrablic to meet his father-in-law in 2011 at a time when many banks avoided business with Trump over his previous bankruptcies.
"I introduced him to this woman Rosemary," Kushner told the House Intelligence Committee during closed-door testimony in 2017. "She is one of the biggest private wealth bankers, probably in the world. Amazing banker, amazing woman. Very smart banker. And she banked my family for a long time."