Trump Owed Millions to Bank of China for Building Loan, Records Show

President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019 (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Editor’s Note: This headline and article have been updated to reflect that President Trump no longer has outstanding debt held by the Bank of China. The Bank of China released a statement saying it sold its debt on the Trump building in 2012, three weeks after Trump took out the loan from the bank.

Financial records show that President Trump took on millions of dollars in debt from the Bank of China to refinance his 30-percent stake in a New York City skyscraper in 2012.

Politico reported Friday that Trump’s investment in 1290 Avenue of the Americas, a 43-story building adjacent to the Trump Tower in Manhattan, is a passive one, with Vornado Realty Trust holding the majority stake — 70 percent — in the skyscraper, which has a market value of over $1 billion.

In a 2012 refinancing of the building, the Bank of China became the first Chinese lender to join the U.S. commercial-mortgage-backed securities market by providing a $211 million loan. Vornado and Trump are due to pay back the loan by November 2022, with Chinese experts warning that Beijing could have compromising financial information on the president.

Trump has mentioned the investment in the past, saying when he announced his candidacy in 2015 that he owns “a big chunk” of the building “that I got from China in a war.” The New York Times reported in 2016 that Trump received his 30 percent share in the building in a court order, after suing former Hong Kong business partners for cash, who he argued had committed a “staggering breach” of fiduciary duty for not consulting him on a real-estate development sale.

“Through more luck than talent, I ended up much better because the buildings have increased in value,” Trump said at the time. “In the end, it was fine.”

Trump’s reelection campaign has centered around China as a key issue for 2020, releasing attack ads targeting Biden’s past praise of China, and his son Hunter’s business dealings in the country. The younger Biden was appointed to the board of a Chinese private equity firm after arranging a meeting between the firm’s founder and his father during a diplomatic trip in 2013.

A spokesperson representing the Bank of China USA told National Review in a statement that the Bank of China “has not had any ownership interest in that loan since late November 2012.”

“On November 7, 2012 several financial institutions including the Bank of China participated in a commercial mortgage loan of $950 million to Vornado Realty Trust. Within 22 days, the loan was securitized and sold into the CMBS market, as is a common practice in the industry,” the statement reads.

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