Financial transactions by legal entities controlled by Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner in 2016 and 2017 were flagged as suspicious by anti-money laundering specialists inside Deutsche Bank. But bank executives repeatedly discouraged the staffers from raising the concerns and filing a formal report with the Treasury Department, according to the New York Times.
The Times talked to five current and former bank employees who said transactions involving Trump’s and Kushner’s firms set off alerts in the computer system that detects potentially suspicious activity. Staff members then prepared what are known as suspicious activity reports but executives at the bank put a stop to them and they were never submitted to the Treasury Department.
Deutsche Bank has been in the spotlight because it has lent billions to the Trump and Kushner companies even as other financial institutions refused to do business with them. Although it isn’t clear what the transactions were about, at least some of them had to do with money going from Kushner’s firms to Russian individuals. Concerns were also raised regarding Trump’s firms and at least one transaction was related to the now-dissolved Donald Trump Foundation.
The Times makes clear that suspicious activity reports by themselves don’t prove any wrongdoing. And regular transactions involving real estate can raise red flags because they can involve all-cash deals. The bank, the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies all denied wrongdoing. But the Times’ sources say the failure to report the transactions is part of a wider culture inside Deutsche Bank in which executives reject reports in order to protect their relationship with wealthy clients.
Congressional investigators have been looking into the long relationship between Deutsche Bank and Trump as well as his family members. Two House committees have filed subpoenas for documents relating to suspicious activities involving Trump’s accounts since 2010 but the president and his family have sued Deutsche Bank to try to block it from complying.
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