The cover story of the business section of the Sunday New York Times features a fascinating profile of a drug-addled, attention-starved whistleblower named Val Broeksmit. Amid the avalanche of details in David Enrich’s 3500-word story is buried something that is passed off as a detail but is perhaps the single most stunning part of a story filled with stuff like informants ducking out of meeting with government officials to snort heroin and emerging victorious when tangling with Sony Pictures and superlawyer David Boies.
Broeksmit is the son of Bill Broeksmit, the colleague and confidant of former Deutsche Bank CEO Anshu Jain. The elder Broeksmit committed suicide amid an investigation into the bank’s handling of a scandal involving the manipulation of LIBOR rates.
Following the tragic death of his adoptive father, the younger Broeksmit hacked into his mother’s email account and came into possession of internal Deutsche Bank documents. These documents were of intense interest to bank regulators throughout the world. And, of course, to journalists.
But they were also of interest to rivals of President Trump, who had borrowed from Deutsche Bank throughout his business career.
Broeksmit, who is desperately trying to arrange for a movie to be made about his life, didn’t want to hand over these documents simply to further the aims of the republic. A committed drug user with a penchant for fancy hotels (he stole his mother’s AmEx number to finance some of his trips) he tried to sell these documents to different journalists, including from The Financial Times and the New York Times. Paying for documents or compensating sources is strictly forbidden by most reputable publications, of course. But in politics, not so much. According to the article, Broeksmit agreed to hand over the Deutsche Bank file for $10,000. The buyer? Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS.
A controversial firm enters the picture
Fusion GPS is the DC-based research firm that was hired – originally by The Washington Free Beacon and then by Hillary Clinton — to conduct oppo research against then-candidate Donald Trump. In Summer, 2016, after the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee took over the funding of Fusion’s research, the firm hired British private investigator Christopher Steele, a former MI-6 agent, to research Russian connections to Trump. That resulted in the “Steele Dossier” –the 35-page list of uncorroborated memos that played a key role in the Mueller investigation.
If that connection to a firm devoted to undoing Trump’s election wasn’t quite startling enough, Mr. Broeksmit moved even higher up the ladder of Trump antagonists. While trying to stir up interest in a movie of his life, Broeksmit was invited to a dinner party in Los Angeles. One of his seatmates was Moby, the godfather of electronic and dance music. According to Enrich, Moby was so impressed by Broeksmit and his “existential sadness … that [Moby] arranged an introduction to his friend Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, which had recently opened an investigation into Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump.”
According to the article, Schiff “badly wanted the secret Deutsche files.” But once again, commerce came before altruism. Broeksmit asked the California Congressman for money. He proposed being hired by the Intelligence Committee as a consultant. A committee investigator, Daniel Goldman, pushed back. Goldman told Broeksmit on a recorded phone call, “Imagine a scenario with some of the material that you have can actually provide the seed that we can then use to blow open everything that Trump has been hiding ….You will go down in American history as a hero and as the person who really broke open an incredibly corrupt president and administration.”
If that’s the language that a congressional investigator uses, it is little wonder that Team Trump feels that this investigation is not exactly free from bias.
Meanwhile, Broeksmit went to the FBI with his documents. There he was promised a “special advisory title” and given permission to let it be known that he was a cooperating witness in a federal criminal investigation. And according to the New York Times, the FBI “even helped procure a visa for [Broeksmit] French girlfriend.”
Considering that he stole the documents in the first place, it’s not a bad score. Apparently, sometimes crime does pay.
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