Thursday, October 31, 2019

U.S. Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat, from his base in Jacksonville, FL, appears to be in the pocket of Deutsche Bank, which is awash in probes of money laundering and other possible financial crimes

Deutsche Bank in Jacksonville, FL

A federal judge, who has a financial stake in JPMorgan Chase (JPMC) and Bank of America (BOA) and a perfect record of ruling in their favor in court matters (see here and here), also has a .1000 batting average in favoring Deutsche Bank, the shady German-based outfit that is under investigation for reported money laundering involving Donald Trump, Jared Kushner, Russia and the late accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

We have found no public record that indicates U.S. Circuit Judge Gerald Bard Tjoflat holds stock or other financial interests in Deutsche Bank. But he is based in Jacksonville, FL, where the bank has a major operations center. Our research indicates Tjoflat is five-for-five in favoring Deutsche Bank when sitting on a three-judge panel in cases involving the bank.

If the bank is found to have been involved in international money laundering -- and Tjoflat serves as its protector on the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (covering Florida, Georgia, and Alabama) -- could that mean Tjoflat is involved in a criminal conspiracy, with ties to the Trump-Russia scandal and Epstein's grotesque crimes? Our answer is yes.

Gerald Bard Tjoflat
How ugly could the Deutsche Bank-money laundering story get? Consider this from a June 2019 report by Lisette Voytko at Forbes:

Jeffrey Epstein used Deutsche Bank since 2013 to move millions of dollars through dozens of accounts, according to the Wall Street Journal, and while the embattled German bank is cooperating with federal investigators, it took months for the bank to close Epstein’s accounts and flag suspicious activity. . . .

The Epstein fallout is the latest gut punch for Deutsche Bank. In addition to laying off 18,000 employees by 2022, the bank is cooperating with two federal investigations: one on Trump’s financial ties to Russia and the other for money laundering.

Deutsche Banks headquarters were raided last November as part of a wide-ranging money laundering investigation. From a report at Wall Street Journal:

Around 170 police officers and other officials seized documents during searches through six different properties Thursday, including one employee’s home, according to authorities.

The raid was a visible sign of mounting legal problems for the German lender, which has faced a string of allegations and costly legal settlements tied to failures to prevent money laundering and other banking violations.

Thursday morning, police vehicles lined up outside Deutsche Bank’s central Frankfurt headquarters, and German federal police and other officers crowded into the lobby of the high-rise towers. Officers soon filtered upstairs onto other floors of the bank to search records, a person inside the bank said. . . .

The probe includes two unidentified Deutsche Bank employees aged 50 and 46 and other unidentified employees suspected of helping clients create offshore entities in tax havens, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement. The person who works in the financial crime-fighting division remained an employee Thursday, the people familiar with the matter said.

Deutsche Bank confirmed the investigation. Both the bank and prosecutors said it is related to the Panama Papers, a trove of records revealed by a consortium of journalists in 2016 tied to a Panamanian law firm that specialized in offshore holding companies.

Since early this year, Deutsche Bank has been in the cross hairs of Congressional investigators. From a report at CNN:

House Democrats gearing up for fresh investigations into President Donald Trump's businesses and money laundering involving Russia are setting their sights on the German lender Deutsche Bank.

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said his committee would be working alongside House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters to probe the bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Both chairs had previously signaled interest in Deutsche Bank while they were still in the House minority. . . .

Deutsche Bank has been of interest to lawmakers because it is one of the few big banks that has been willing to lend to the Trump Organization. Trump businesses have borrowed over $300 million for a Florida golf course and hotels in Chicago and Washington, according to financial disclosures and public filings from 2012 to 2015.

Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner has also disclosed an unsecured line of credit from the bank ranging between $5 million to $25 million that he's shared with his mother since 2015.

As for federal judge Tjoflat, he seems to think Deutsche Bank can do no wrong -- much as he appears to view JPMC and BOA. Here are five cases, all in the past six years, in which Tjoflat has been part of three-judge panels that ruled in favor of Deutsche Bank. We can find no cases where he ruled against the bank:

(1) Zelaya/Capital v. John Zelaya, 769 F.3d 1296 (11th Cir., 2014) Court approves award of $70,644.56 in costs and attorney fees to Deutsche Bank;

(2) Avenue CLO Fund v. Bank of America, 709 F. 3d 1072 (11th Cir., 2013) Court sides with Deutsche and other "revoling lenders in a complex dispute involving the ambitious Fontainebleau development in Las Vegas;

(3) Westley v. Albert (11th Cir., 2017). Court sided with Deutsche and other entities in a case of alleged fraudulent eviction;

(4) Quinn v. Ocwen Loan Serviging (11th Cir., 2017) Court sided with Deutsche in case alleging improper loan servicing and initiation of foreclosure;

(5) Smedley v. Deutsche Bank (11th Cir., 2017). Court sided with Deutsche in a case alleging improper loan servicing and default.

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