Former banker Stephen Calk, who loaned Paul Manafort $16 million in an alleged bid to win a position in the Trump administration, pleaded not guilty at his brief virtual arraignment Thursday on a new conspiracy charge. The new indictment charges Calk, who was chairman and CEO of Federal Savings Bank, with conspiracy to commit financial institution bribery. Prosecutors allege Calk and the borrower, who is not identified by name but matches the description of Manafort, were engaged in conspiracy to defraud the bank. Calk has previously been charged with one count of financial institution bribery to which he has pleaded not guilty.
“Calk and the borrower agreed that Calk would and did corruptly solicit and receive from the borrower assistance in obtaining a position with the Presidential campaign and the incoming presidential election, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with the extension of approximately $16 million in loans from the bank and the holding company to the borrower,” the filing says. Calk never got any of the positions he sought in the Trump administration, including secretary of Defense, secretary of the Army and secretary of the Treasury, according to the indictment, although as a result of Manafort’s influence, Calk was interviewed for a senior role. And when Manafort defaulted on the loans, Federal Savings Bank incurred a multi-million-dollar loss.
The allegations about the loan for a position in the administration surfaced during Manafort’s criminal trial. Manafort was convicted and pleaded guilty to multiple charges but the jury deadlocked on charges relating to the Federal Savings Bank loan. Former President Donald Trump pardoned Manafort and the new indictment does not charge Manafort as part of the conspiracy.