NYT: Bank employees reported suspicious Trump, Kushner activity
Deutsche Bank’s anti-money laundering specialists once recommended that transactions involving entities controlled by President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a US agency that investigates financial crimes, according to a new report in the New York Times.
The Times reports that Deutsche Bank employees flagged the transactions in 2016 and 2017, and that at least one of the reports involved the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which is now defunct.
Executives at Deutsche Bank rejected the advice of their specialists, according to the Times, which reported that the recommendations were never filed with the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
The Times, which spoke with five current and former Deutsche Bank employees, also said the nature of the transactions “was not clear,” though the newspaper added that at least some of them involved “money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious.”
The report says the red flags raised by employees “do not necessarily mean the transactions were improper.”
The report is significant in part because Deutsche Bank has been one of the few big banks willing to lend money to the Trump Organization in recent years. Trump’s businesses have borrowed more than $300 million from Deutsche to finance a golf course in Florida and hotels in Chicago and Washington, according to financial disclosures and public filings from 2012 to 2015.
CNN Business could not immediately verify any of the claims in the Times report.
Deutsche Bank told CNN Business in an emailed statement Sunday: “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. An effective AML program requires sophisticated transaction screening technology as well as a trained group of individuals who can analyze the alerts generated by that technology both thoroughly and efficiently.”
“At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious. Furthermore, the suggestion that anyone was reassigned or fired in an effort to quash concerns relating to any client is categorically false,” the statement said.
The Times reported that several employees said the bank criticized them after they complained about the bank’s anti-money laundering process.
The Kushner Companies said in a statement: “The New York Times tries to create scandalous stories which are totally false when they run out of things to write about.”
Spokespeople for the Trump Organization and the Treasury Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from CNN Business.
A Trump Organization spokesperson told the Times that the company had “no knowledge of any ‘flagged’ transactions with Deutsche Bank.” A Kushner companies spokesperson told the newspaper that “any allegations regarding Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Kushner Companies which involved money laundering is completely made up and totally false.”
The relationship between Trump and Deutsche Bank has been scrutinized in recent weeks. Last month, Trump, three of his children and his business sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One to block them from turning over financial records to congressional committees that have issued subpoenas for the information.
CNN’s Cristina Alesci contributed to this report.