Why Trump Doesn’t Want You To See His Deutsche Bank Records
Update May 22, 2019: President Trump’s lawsuit has failed in court. A federal judge in New York has ruled that Deutsche Bank and Capital One can hand over President Trump’s financial records to Congress. Below is our article from Monday about what may be found in those records.
If you’ve been following the complex web of President Trump’s corruption scandals, you’ve likely heard about Deutsche Bank. The German bank was the only major financial institution willing to do business with businessman Donald Trump when he was deemed too risky an investment for US banks. According to reports, the Trump Organization currently owes Deutsche Bank $364 million (his companies have received over $2.5 billion in loans over two decades) and his son-in-law, and White House Adviser, Jared Kushner’s company owes the bank $285 million. In November 2018, Deutsche Bank was raided in a money laundering investigation and has a documented history of money laundering for Russians.
Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and Jared Kushner made headlines again this week with an important story from The New York Times. Here are some of the highlights:
Anti-money-laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.
But executives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees’ advice. The reports were never filed with the government.
The transactions were oddly timed, especially Jared Kushner’s:
In the summer of 2016, Deutsche Bank’s software flagged a series of transactions involving the real estate company of Mr. Kushner, now a senior White House adviser.
Ms. McFadden, a longtime anti-money laundering specialist in Deutsche Bank’s Jacksonville office, said she had reviewed the transactions and found that money had moved from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals.
After Mr. Trump became president, transactions involving him and his companies were reviewed by an anti-financial crime team at the bank called the Special Investigations Unit. That team, based in Jacksonville, produced multiple suspicious activity reports involving different entities that Mr. Trump owned or controlled, according to three former Deutsche Bank employees who saw the reports in an internal computer system.
Some of those reports involved Mr. Trump’s limited liability companies. At least one was related to transactions involving the Donald J. Trump Foundation, two employees said.
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Several questions come to mind. Why were Kushner’s companies paying Russians during the height of Russia’s attack on US democracy that the Trump Campaign benefitted from? Were these transactions money laundering related? Why did Deutsche Bank executives refuse to report these transactions to the government? It’s not clear exactly what these transactions were, but given Deutsche Bank’s history and Donald Trump’s alleged history of money laundering for Russian oligarchs, this is an important story to watch.
President Trump responded to the news with a tweet thread that can only be described as fearful.
….fashioned, but true. When you don’t need or want money, you don’t need or want banks. Banks have always been available to me, they want to make money. Fake Media only says this to disparage, and always uses unnamed sources (because their sources don’t even exist)……
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019
…..was very good and highly professional to deal with – and if for any reason I didn’t like them, I would have gone elsewhere….there was always plenty of money around and banks to choose from. They would be very happy to take my money. Fake News!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019
President Trump’s claims that he didn’t need banks and had plenty of money available is false. The New York Times received Donald Trump’s tax figures from between 1985-1994 and reported that Trump took on $1.17 billion in losses over that decade.
New York Attorney General Letitia James has subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank related to loans President Trump’s company has received from the bank, according to multiple reports. This came after Michael Cohen claimed Trump inflated his assets in an effort to try and obtain a loan from Deutsche Bank for the purchase of the Buffalo Bills – a loan he didn’t receive. The New York Times reported in March that President Trump inflated his wealth to Deutsche Bank, citing bank officials. When House Democrats subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank pertaining to Trump’s family, President Trump responded by suing Deutsche Bank to prevent them from complying with the subpoena.
In related news, DC District Court Judge Amit Mehta just ordered President Trump’s accounting firm to comply with House Democrats’ subpoena by turning over documents to the House Oversight Committee. This decision came after President Trump’s lawsuit (Trump now aims to appeal the decision). Given this decision, it’s likely that when Trump’s Deutsche Bank case is taken up in the coming days, there could be a similar ruling.
The President of the United States is trying to stiff-arm a co-equal branch of government by refusing to comply with every single subpoena from House Democrats. Democratic lawmakers have claimed this is part of President Trump ongoing effort to obstruct justice. Just like his tax returns, President Trump has several reasons to want to keep these Deutsche Bank records hidden.
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