A group of seven Senate Democrats asked the Federal Reserve on Thursday to investigate whether Deutsche Bank managers declined to report to the federal government suspicious transactions involving accounts held by President Trump and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.
The New York Times reported last month that senior Deutsche Bank wealth management officials repeatedly ignored requests from internal anti-money laundering watchdogs to file suspicious activity reports on transactions conducted by Trump, his businesses and Kushner.
In a Thursday letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams, the seven Democratic senators asked for an investigation into the allegations raised in the Times article.
“We urge you to undertake a thorough evaluation of the Bank’s compliance with Bank Secrecy Act and Anti- Money Laundering regulations with respect to the Trump and Kushner-related activities identified by Deutsche Bank compliance staff as suspicious,” the senators wrote.
The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and co-signed by Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), Jack Reed (R.I.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Catherine Cortez Masto (Nev.) and Tina Smith (Minn.), all members of the Senate Banking Committee.
The senators asked Powell and Williams to answer 11 questions by June 24 regarding whether they have begun investigating claims from the Times article, what they’ve found and how they expect banks to monitor accounts for potential financial crimes.
“Only by conducting a thorough review of the full range of this activity can we better understand what happened in these cases; what practices, procedures, or personnel may need to be changed at the bank; and what regulators should do to ensure the Federal Reserve’s ability effectively to monitor compliance with Anti- Money Laundering laws,” they wrote.
Democratic lawmakers have homed in on Deutsche Bank and the international legal scrutiny it has drawn, along with its close connections to Trump, his family and business empire. The German lender has paid billions in fines and legal settlements, including nearly $700 million in fines related to Russian money laundering scheme.
Three Democratic-led House committees are investigating Deutsche Bank’s involvement in potential money laundering and financial crimes, along with Trump’s long-standing relationship with the bank. The panels have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for its financial records pertaining to Trump, which the president has sought to block in court.
Over the past two decades, Deutsche Bank has lent roughly $2 billion to Trump, including unconventional loans for real estate projects through its private wealth management wing.
The president owes roughly $300 million to Deutsche Bank, the only major bank who would lend to Trump after a series of bankruptcies and defaults ruined his standing among most financial firms.
Democratic lawmakers argue that Deutsche Bank’s implication in Russian money laundering and ties to Trump raise questions about a potential nexus with the Russian government’s attempts to sway the 2016 election in the president’s favor.
“This overdependence on Deutsche Bank and the heightened potential for conflicts of interest it poses is made more troubling because the President has refused to make any effort to address conflicts of interest or disclose his extensive global financial ties, as other Presidents and candidates have done in the past,” the senators wrote.
Author: Sylvan Lane
Source: The Hill: Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump’s Deutsche Bank ties