cover image Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction

Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction

David Enrich. Custom House, $29.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-287884-7

Journalist Enrich (The Spider Network) wraps an exposé of Deutsche Bank’s financial misdeeds around an adopted son’s investigation into his father’s suicide in this propulsive, richly detailed account. After sketching the bank’s origins as a lender to German industries seeking international expansion in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Enrich focuses on the period from the mid-1990s to 2019 when Deutsche aggressively entered the Wall Street investment banking industry, briefly became the world’s biggest bank, and ended up “teetering on the brink of financial ruin.” He details outright frauds, including hiding more than $3 billion in losses during the 2007–2008 financial crisis, manipulating interest rates, laundering money for Russian oligarchs, and violating international sanctions, as well as a laundry list of poor decisions, including lending millions of dollars to serial defaulter Donald Trump when no other mainstream financial institution would do so. As Deutsche executives fostered a culture of reckless behavior, risk management officer Bill Broeksmit tried, in vain, to apply the brakes; his suicide in 2014, as the bank was facing harsh penalties from U.S. regulators, sparked his hard-partying musician son’s drug-fueled efforts to take down the bank—a quest that ends, in this account, with the delivery of a cache of internal bank documents to the FBI. Enrich writes with verve, making financial jargon accessible to general readers. This journalistic tour de force hints that plenty of shocking secrets are yet to be revealed. (Apr.)