Deutsche Bank officials in charge of anti-money-laundering efforts flagged multiple transactions in 2016 and 2017 involving accounts controlled by Donald Trump and Jared Kushner and recommended they be reported to federal authorities, The New York Times reports.
The transactions, some of which involved Trump’s shuttered “charity,” set off red flags in a computer system that detects illegal activity, five current and former bank employees told The Times. Officials created suspicious activity reports related to the transactions and recommended they be reported to the Treasury Department’s unit that polices financial crimes.
But Deutsche Bank officials rejected the recommendation and never submitted the reports to the government.
The bank loaned billions to Trump since the 1990s, when nearly every other major bank refused to do business with him following a series of bankruptcies and defaults, even as they repeatedly ignored similar warning signs.
It’s unclear what transactions were flagged by the bank but at least some of them involved “money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious,” The Times reported.
The employees told the Times that the transactions “reflected the bank’s generally lax approach to money laundering laws.” In 2018, the bank’s headquarters was raided as part of a money laundering investigation.
Congressional and state instigators have requested records from the bank related to Trump’s accounts.
Trump claims he didn’t need the money:
Trump raged at the New York Times as he fired off a series of untrue claims about his financial history.
“The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years), and others of the Fake News Media, keep writing phony stories about how I didn’t use many banks because they didn’t want to do business with me. WRONG!” he claimed, despite numerous reports contradicting his claim. Trump filed for bankruptcy four times in the 1990s and twice more in the 2000s.
“It is because I didn’t need money. Very old 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,” he continued, despite borrowing a whopping $2 billion from Deutsche Bank.
“Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks. 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...and DeutscheBank 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!”
Trump did not address the suspicious activity reports.
Jared was flagged too:
In the summer of 2016, amid the presidential campaign, Deutsche Bank’s computers flagged a series of transactions involving Jared Kushner’s real estate company.
Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist, told The Times that the transactions involved money moving from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals and recommended they be reported to the government.
Instead of going up the chain of command, managers in New York took over the report and decided that the concerns were unfounded and did not submit the report to the government.
“Ms. McFadden and some of her colleagues said they believed the report had been killed to maintain the private-banking division’s strong relationship with Mr. Kushner,” The Times reported.