POLITICS
01/19/2018 11:51 pm ET Updated Feb 28, 2018

Report: Deutsche Bank Flags 'Suspicious' Kushner Company Transactions

The bank is prepared to turn over documents to special counsel Robert Mueller, says a German business magazine.

A German magazine is reporting that officials of Deutsche Bank have informed Germany’s banking regulator about “suspicious” transactions by the real estate company owned by Jared Kushner and his family.

No details were provided about the nature of the transactions, but Deutsche Bank officials are prepared to turn over documents related to them to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, the business magazine reported Friday.

Deutsche Bank is a key banker for both senior White House adviser Kushner and his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. Reuters reported last month that Mueller had issued subpoenas to the bank for information on certain money and credit transactions by Trump and members of his family, according to a source described as being close to the matter. The New York Times reported last month that the U.S. attorney based in Brooklyn, New York, had also issued a subpoena to the bank for information related to Kushner.

The bank discovered the troubling Kushner company transactions after an internal audit ordered by board President Paul Achleitner, according to the German publication, Manager Magazin, in an article first reported and translated by Mother Jones magazine.

“Achleitner’s internal detectives were embarrassed to deliver their interim report regarding real estate tycoon [Jared] Kushner to the [German] financial regulator BaFin,” stated the article, according to Mother Jones. “Their finding: There are indications that Donald Trump’s son-in-law or persons or companies close to him could have channeled suspicious monies through Deutsche Bank as part of their business dealings.”

 Deutsche Bank has reportedly loaned over $2 billion to companies affiliated with Trump since the 1990s. It continued to give millions to him even though he defaulted on one of his loans. Trump owes the German bank at least $130 million, according to the president’s most recent financial disclosure form, though it could be much more. Trump initially turned to the bank after a number of his businesses declared bankruptcy, making it difficult for him to find loans in the U.S.

The bank also loaned Kushner’s real estate company $285 million for a planned renovation of its building at Times Square in Manhattan, The Times has reported. Kushner and his mother, Seryl Stadtmauer, also have a multimillion-dollar line of credit from the bank, according to a financial disclosure form Kushner filed with the government. 

Kushner stepped aside as the Kushner Companies’ chief executive when he assumed his White House job a year ago. He sold some of his assets but still owns part of the business.

Deutsche Bank agreed last January to pay $630 million to U.S. and British regulators to settle investigations into fraudulent stock trades that Russian account holders used as a suspected cover to launder some $10 billion. That followed a  $7.2 billion settlement the bank reached with the Justice Department a month earlier over toxic mortgage assets and a $2.5 billion settlement in 2015 for interest rate manipulation. 

Earlier this month, the Trump administration reduced fines against five banks — including Deutsche Bank — linked to interest rate manipulation, reported the International Business Times.  

Days later, Senate Banking Committee member Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) sent a letter to Jerome Powell, Trump’s pick to head the Federal Reserve. He asked Powell for reassurance that he would rebuff any White House attempt to interfere with the Fed’s supervision of Deutsche Bank. Van Hollen said he was concerned about Trump’s “significant liabilities” with the bank. Powell responded that he would hold the bank accountable and that the Fed would function as an independent entity answerable to the public and Congress, Bloomberg reported.

House Democrats last summer demanded that Deutsche Bank reveal if any Trump loans were linked to alleged money-laundering operations or if any loans were guaranteed by Russians. Bank officials refused, citing client privacy regulations.

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