NEW YORK (AP) - A banker who prosecutors say tried to buy himself a senior post in President Donald Trump’s administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was arrested Thursday on a financial institution bribery charge.
Stephen M. Calk, 54, was scheduled to appear in Manhattan federal court in the afternoon. A message was left with his attorney for comment.
Authorities said Calk committed the crime while serving as CEO of The Federal Savings Bank, a small bank headquartered in Chicago with an office in New York.
Federal prosecutors described the charge in a release, saying Calk abused his bank position by approving $16 million in high risk loans that were ultimately downgraded by the bank’s primary regulator.
William F. Sweeney Jr., head of New York’s FBI office, said Calk “went to great lengths to avoid banking violations in an attempt to secure a senior position in a presidential administration.”
“His attempt at petitioning for political favors was unsuccessful in more ways than one - he didn’t get the job he wanted, and he compromised the one he had,” Sweeney added.
If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.
Manafort lobbied Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to consider Calk for Secretary of the Army, according to emails from the weeks leading up to the 2016 election shown to jurors at Manafort’s tax evasion and bank fraud trial last year.
Prosecutors said while Manafort’s loans were pending approval, Calk gave Manafort a ranked list of government positions he wanted, starting with Secretary of the Treasury, followed by Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Commerce and Secretary of Defense, as well as 19 ambassadorships similarly ranked and starting with the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy.