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Trump and company saved $168 million in loan interest as a result of fraud, banking expert testifies

By Lauren del Valle, Kara Scannell and Jeremy Herb, CNN

New York (CNN) — A banking expert testified Wednesday that Donald Trump and his company benefited more than $168 million by obtaining favorable loan terms on transactions where the former president personally guaranteed the loans.

The New York Attorney General’s office called Michiel McCarty to testify about his assessment of the $168 million in ill-gotten gains.

McCarty analyzed the lending documents related to transactions at issue in this case for the following Trump Organization properties: 40 Wall Street in New York, The Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Florida, Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, and the Old Post Office project in Washington DC.

McCarty calculated the difference in interest payments that Trump might have paid with a commercial real estate loan that would have had a much higher interest rate than the rate he obtained by personally guaranteeing the loans on the basis of financial statements that inflated his net worth.

He determined the Trump Organization saved on interest for the properties:

$72,908,308 for the Doral Resort;

$53,423,209 for the Old Post Office loan;

$17,443,359 for Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago;

and $24,265,291 for 40 Wall Street.

Trump’s attorney Chris Kise argued repeatedly in objections that the expert should not be permitted to suggest what loan rate Trump Org. could have gotten because no trial evidence has shown the lenders would have changed the loan terms if they knew Trump’s net worth was inflated based on the asset valuation in his financial statements.

Judge Arthur Engoron overruled the defense objections, reminding Kise of the summary judgment that already found Trump and his company liable for fraud before the trial started.

“I decided they were ill gotten. He’s not deciding that – he’s deciding the number,” Engoron said.

McCarty testified that lenders price an interest rate based on the risk they associate with the transaction.

“Risk is a representation of the probability of default. As [probability of default] goes up you have to compensate for the potential for loss. To do that you raise the interest rate,” McCarty said.

McCarty said he agreed with Engoron’s assessment of the lenders’ risk exposure in the loans with Trump Organization that were backed by Trump.

“The subject loans made the banks lots of money, but the fraudulent [financial statements] cost the banks lots of money. The less collateral for a loan, the riskier it is, and a first principal of loan accounting is that as risk rises, so do interest rates. Thus, accurate [financial statements] would have allowed the lenders to make even more money than they did,” Engoron wrote in his summary judgment ruling.

McCarty said that had Trump went with a commercial loan that relies on the risk rating of the actual property. The Doral Resort and the Old Post Office loans held lower credit ratings at the time of the transactions because they were considered riskier projects that required high spending to renovate Doral and convert the Old Post Office into a hotel.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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