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Stephen Calk, Paul Manafort’s banker, found guilty in federal bribery case

According to a press release by the United States Department of Justice, Chicago banker Stephen Calk was found guilty on all counts last week in a federal bribery case.

Prosecutors said he tried to trade $16 million in loans given to 2016 Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort in exchange for a top administration post, from Secretary of the Army to Treasury Secretary to an Ambassadorship.

Calk is the founder and now-ex chairman of The Federal Savings Bank in Chicago’s Fulton Market neighborhood.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said:  “A unanimous jury convicted Stephen M. Calk of approving millions of dollars in high-risk loans to Paul Manafort in an effort to secure a personal benefit, namely a high-profile spot on the presidential campaign and appointment as Secretary of the Army or another similarly high-level position in the incoming presidential administration.  Calk used the federally insured bank he ran as his personal piggy bank to try and buy himself prestige and power.  Today’s verdict sends the message that corruption at the highest levels of federally regulated financial institutions will be prosecuted by this Office.”

The bribery case grew from an investigation of Russian influence on the 2016 election conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Calk has steadfastly denied the charges of a quid pro quo with Manafort and contends that $16 million in loans to the campaign boss were solid. Among those leading Calk’s legal team is Jeremy Margolis, a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago and ex-director of the Illinois State Police.

Manafort, convicted in separate and unrelated financial crime cases, was pardoned by President Trump and is not charged with Calk.

Calk and his legal team left the courthouse in Lower Manhattan without commenting. He will remain on bond until sentencing.

The charges carry 30 and 5-year maximum prison sentences, respectively.

Calk is scheduled to be sentenced on January 10, 2022.

 

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