Deutsche says money-laundering reports not waived for Trump
Germany’s largest lender Deutsche Bank failed to forward suspicions about transactions involving US President Donald Trump to American authorities, the New York Times reported, prompting the firm to issue a categorical denial Monday.
“At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious” to the Treasury Department, a spokesman for the bank told AFP.
“The suggestion that anyone was reassigned or fired in an effort to quash concerns related to any client is categorically false,” he added.
The New York Times reported Sunday that Deutsche did not follow recommendations from its own money-laundering specialists that some transactions by companies controlled by Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner should be flagged to authorities.
Certain dealings in 2016 and 2017, including some with entities and individuals outside the US, set off automated alerts in the bank’s systems, prompting employees to prepare “suspicious activity reports” on some of them.
But executives “rejected their employees’ advice” that they be sent to the Treasury, the NYT reported.
Former employees interviewed by the paper, some speaking on condition of anonymity, alleged culture of blocking suspicious activity reports to protect client relationships at Deutsche, with one saying she was fired after raising concerns.
Deutsche Bank was one of the few major banks to continue to lend to Trump following the bankruptcies of his casinos and other businesses in the 1990s and has lent “billions” to him and Kushner according to the NYT.
“We have increased our anti-financial crime staff and enhanced our controls in recent years and take compliance with the anti-money-laundering laws very seriously,” the Deutsche spokesman said.
While the lender has boosted its compliance staff to around 3,000 people spread around the world, its performance in pursuing financial crime has failed to satisfy some authorities.
Last year, German market watchdog Bafin took the unprecedented step of naming audit firm KPMG as an independent supervisor of Deutsche’s progress on squeezing out money-laundering and other illicit activities.
That role has been extended to cover so-called “correspondent banking” after Deutsche was drawn into a massive money-laundering scandal around Denmark’s Danske Bank.
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