Val Broeksmit, a whistle-blower who used his dead stepfather's passwords to revealDeutsche Bank's role in money-laundering and other dealings with Russia and the Trump Organization, died mysteriously last month in Los Angeles. He was 46 years old.
The body of a man was found in the courtyard of a Los Angeles high school on Monday, April 25. The police found no evidence of trauma or foul play. The cause was not known by the medical examiner.
Mr. Broeksmit was said to have been evicted with his girlfriend from a Los Angeles loft in late March and since then was believed to have been nomadic.
A refugee from Ukraine who was abandoned by his parents when he was 5 and later adopted by his banker stepfather into a life of privilege, Mr. Broeksmit went on to abuse cocaine and opioids, a credit card fraudster and a rock musician without a job.
He wanted to be the center of attention to prove that he mattered.
His bands, the Good Time Charlies and the Bikini Robot Army, never had a hit.
Mr. Enrich wrote that Mr. Broeksmit became an informer because he was a terrible spy.
The opportunity presented itself in January of last year, when his stepbrother, a seniorDeutsche Bank executive, hanged himself in his London flat.
Val Broeksmit gained access to confidential files at the bank after finding passwords to his stepfather's email accounts.
When his father died, Mr. Enrich had an opportunity to make the world pay attention.
According to suicide notes, the elder Mr. Broeksmit was distraught because he had failed to uncover the alleged fraud.
For nearly five years, the younger Mr. Broeksmit teased the F.B.I., congressional investigators and journalists into a hunt for the incriminating needles in a haystack of documents claiming to implicateDeutsche Bank in a run of malfeasance.
Alla and Alexander Cherednichenko were the parents of Valentin Gregory Cherednichenko.
His mother obtained exit visas for the family after graduating from the Moscow College of Agriculture in 1977. Vienna and Rome helped the family emigrate to Chicago in 1979.
By 1982, the couple had separated, father and son were living in a Salvation Army shelter and a juvenile court had consigned 6-year-old Val to foster care after failing to find Alla.
His parents began visiting occasionally after a while. When Val was 9 years old, Alla was granted custody of her and her new husband adopted her. Alla refused to comment on her son's death.
Val was kicked out of the Dublin School in New Hampshire at the age of 13 but he was able to get through the troubled school in northern Idaho and attend Albright College in Reading, Pa., in 1999.
He studied film and television production in New York.
His mother and stepsisters are from his mother's second marriage.
Mr. Broeksmit had been dangling the documents he had found for five years. An article written by Mr. Enrich before he joined The Times caused a drop in the bank's share price by more than $1.
The bank is being investigated. It will pay millions of dollars in fines for violating accounting controls.
Mr. Enrich wrote in The Times that all of the whistle-blowers used secret documents to change.
He said that Mr. Broeksmit wanted to expose corporate wrongdoing and give meaning to his father's death.
His fame was embellished when he gained access to Sony Pictures Entertainment documents through hackers. The documents had been stolen by the group that wanted the studio to pull the film about a plot to assassinate the North Korean leader.
Sony threatened to retaliate, which made Mr. Broeksmit's image as a musician more prominent.
He shared banking files with the Financial Times and Glenn R. Simpson, whose research company was the source of the Steele Dossier of salacious allegations against President Trump.
He befriended the musician, who introduced him to the congressman who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Schiff subpoenaed Mr. Broeksmit to turn over his documents.
It's not clear how much confidential bank documents Mr. Broeksmit acquired helped investigators. He was courted by the F.B.I. investigators and was interviewed by the Fox Business channel, but he had achieved his goal of attracting an audience.