A whistleblower who was involved in an investigation into Donald Trump's business deals with Deutsche Bank was found dead in Los Angeles on Monday.
Missing for more than a year, the body of Valentin Broeksmit, 46, was discovered this week on the grounds of Woodrow Wilson High School, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Broeksmit was officially reported missing by the Los Angeles Police Department last year. According to NBC News, Broeksmit was last seen in Los Angeles driving a Mini Cooper in April 2021. While missing, his Twitter account – @BikiniRobotArmy – remained active. Broeksmit also reportedly maintained relationships with various friends and journalists despite his absence.
Investigative journalist Scott Stedman, who last spoke to Broeksmit in January, told Forensic News that he didn't suspect foul play. Broeksmit "supplied me and other journalists with Deutsche Bank documents that highlighted the bank's deep Russia connections," Stedman said. "It is very sad. I don't suspect foul play. Val struggled with drugs on and off."
He added: "Val's father took his own life in 2014 and it consumed Val in recent years. To see his life end so short is incredibly depressing."
Broeksmit appeared to be homeless at the time of his death, said Sgt. Rudy Perez of the LAPD.
Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.
Broeksmit's father was an executive at Deutsche Bank before taking his own life. Following his father's death, Broeksmit acquired access to father's email account, which contained hundreds of confidential bank documents, according to The New York Times. Broeksmit reportedly supplied these documents to federal investigators as well as journalists who sought to further understand the connections between Trump and Deutsche Bank, one of the former president's biggest lenders. Broeksmit's documents reportedly gave investigators access to materials "only people within the inner circle of Deutsche would ever see."
Trump's past relationship with Deutsche Bank was heavily detailed by New York Times reporter David Enrich, who directly worked with Broeksmit for his 2020 book "Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction."
Enrich wrote that Broeksmit's death was "This is terrible news."
"Val was a longtime source of mine and the main character in my book," Enrich tweeted. "We had a complicated relationship, but this is just devastating to hear."