U.S. Markets closed

Deutsche Bank Staff Eyed Trump, Kushner Transactions: NYT

Josh Saul
Deutsche Bank Staff Eyed Trump, Kushner Transactions: NYT

(Bloomberg) -- Multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner aroused the suspicion of anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank AG in 2016 and 2017, according to the New York Times.

The specialists recommended the matter be referred to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes, but executives at Deutsche Bank -- which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies -- rejected their advice, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

Trump on Monday defended his banking practices on Twitter, disputing the Times’ reporting that no other mainstream banks wanted to do business with him. “WRONG!” Trump wrote. “It is because I didn’t need money.”

“Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks,” Trump said in another posting. “But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there.”

The “suspicious activity reports” prepared by Deutsche Bank compliance staff members about the Trump and Kushner transactions were never filed with the government, the New York Times reported.

“At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman said in an emailed statement, responding to the NYT story.

The NYT report didn’t give specifics about the nature of the transactions but said some of them involved money being transferred back and forth between foreign entities or individuals. Former employees of Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions to the Trump and Kushner companies, told the New York Times that the decision not to report the transactions reflected the bank’s indifferent approach toward money laundering laws and its focus on protecting its relationship with important clients.

“We have increased our anti-financial-crime staff and enhanced our controls in recent years and take compliance with the AML/BSA laws very seriously,” Deutsche Bank said in its statement.

Representatives for the Trump Organization told the New York Times that the company had no knowledge of any flagged transactions with Deutsche Bank. A representative for Kushner Companies told the New York Times that any allegations regarding Deutsche Bank and Kushner Companies that involve money laundering are made up and false.

The NYT story cited a former Deutsche Bank employee, Tammy McFadden, who said she was terminated from her job last year after raising concerns about the bank’s practices. She has since filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators, the NYT report said.

“The suggestion that anyone was reassigned or fired in an effort to quash concerns relating to any client is categorically false,” Deutsche Bank said.

Deutsche Bank has been the target of numerous money laundering investigations. This month, a probe into the bank’s clients raised by the Panama Papers led to a series of raids of wealthy individuals in Germany. The lender is also facing scrutiny after it was identified as one of the main correspondent banks that helped Danske Bank move as much as $230 billion of suspicious funds through its Estonian unit.

In unrelated actions, Trump has asked a U.S. judge to block subpoenas directing Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corp. to turn over his bank records, as well as those of his three oldest children and some Trump businesses, to Congress. Two committees of the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives have asked for the records as part of investigations into Trump’s businesses.

(Updates with Trump tweets starting in third paragraph.)

--With assistance from Steven Arons and Terrence Dopp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Josh Saul in New York at jsaul15@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rick Green at rgreen18@bloomberg.net, Ross Larsen, Christian Baumgaertel

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.