Bank staff highlighted 'suspicious activity' in Trump-, Kushner-controlled accounts: report

Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering personnel reportedly recommended turning over information about transactions by entities owned by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE and his son-in-law, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - 2020 Democrats set for Lone Star showdown Exclusive: Kushner tells GOP it needs to unify behind immigration plan Arrests at southern border drop to 64K in August MORE, to a government watchdog in 2016 and 2017, but the bank's executives apparently declined to do so.

The transactions, including some connected to the now-dissolved Trump Foundation, were flagged by the bank's computer system, which was set up to find unlawful activity, five current and former employees told The New York Times. After this, staffers reportedly put together suspicious activity reports they thought should be sent to the Treasury Department for investigation. 

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The reports, however, were not filed with the department, according to the newspaper. The Times reports that it was not clear what the transactions were, but some of them involved money going between the entities and foreign companies or individuals. 

Real estate developers such as Trump and Kushner sometimes complete large cash transactions that can cause a review to be triggered without any actual wrongdoing, according to the paper, which reported that the warnings do not mean there was anything nefarious happening. Banks can choose not to file reports if they believe there was no wrongdoing.

Former employees told the Times, however, that the decision not to file is indicative of the bank's attitude toward money laundering rules. 

“You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens,” said Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche Bank employee who looked into some of the transactions. “It’s the D.B. way. They are prone to discounting everything.”

McFadden told the Times that she was fired after she questioned the bank's practices and has since filed complaints to regulators about what she sees as its lack of enforcement. 

Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Kerrie McHugh told The Hill in a statement that the bank takes compliance "very seriously" and has recently increased its financial crimes staff and controls. 

"At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious," she said. "Furthermore, the suggestion that anyone was reassigned or fired in an effort to quash concerns relating to any client is categorically false."

The Trump Organization did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment, but spokeswoman Amanda Miller told the Times that the organization has  "no knowledge of any 'flagged' transactions with Deutsche Bank."

She added that it currently has "no operating accounts with Deutsche Bank."

A Kushner Companies spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that "The New York Times tries to create scandalous stories which are totally false when they run out of things to write about."

Kushner Companies told The New York Times in a separate statement that "any allegations regarding Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Kushner Companies which involved money laundering is completely made up and totally false."

Deutsche Bank has loaned billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies. Federal and state authorities are currently reviewing the bank's relationship with President Trump. 

Updated at 2:50 p.m.