Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties

Democrats ask Fed to probe Trump's Deutsche Bank ties
© Getty Images

A group of seven Senate Democrats asked the Federal Reserve on Thursday to investigate whether Deutsche Bank managers declined to report to the federal government suspicious transactions involving accounts held by President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump campaign opening 15 community centers to reach black voters Trump declares US-India relationship 'stronger than ever before' Trumps tour Taj Mahal to cap off first day in India MORE.

The New York Times reported last month that senior Deutsche Bank wealth management officials repeatedly ignored requests from internal anti-money laundering watchdogs to file suspicious activity reports on transactions conducted by Trump, his businesses and Kushner.

In a Thursday letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams, the seven Democratic senators asked for an investigation into the allegations raised in the Times article.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We urge you to undertake a thorough evaluation of the Bank’s compliance with Bank Secrecy Act and Anti- Money Laundering regulations with respect to the Trump and Kushner-related activities identified by Deutsche Bank compliance staff as suspicious,” the senators wrote.

The letter was spearheaded by Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development Senate Dems blast Barr for 'clear violation' of duty in Stone case, urge him to resign MORE (D-Md.) and co-signed by Democratic Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Stocks close with second day of steep losses | Dow falls over 800 points as coronavirus fears grow | Kudlow claims virus has been contained | US expects China to honor trade deal amid outbreak Hillicon Valley: Agencies play catch-up over TikTok security concerns | Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling | Pentagon unveils AI principles Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference MORE (Ohio), Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Lawmakers tear into Pentagon over .8B for border wall | Dems offer bill to reverse Trump on wall funding | Senators urge UN to restore Iran sanctions Democrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall Lawmakers wary as US on cusp of initial deal with Taliban MORE (R.I.), Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMenendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees Senators condemn UN 'blacklisting' of US companies in Israeli settlements Media's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle MORE (N.J.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives MORE (Mass.), Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoProgressives hope Nevada offers roadmap for pro-union 2020 victory Kennedy, Markey spar over experience in first Senate primary debate DSCC endorses McGrath in race against McConnell MORE (Nev.) and Tina SmithTina Flint SmithDemocratic senators ask FDA to ban device used to shock disabled students Trump pick for Fed seat takes bipartisan fire Biden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements MORE (Minn.), all members of the Senate Banking Committee.

The senators asked Powell and Williams to answer 11 questions by June 24 regarding whether they have begun investigating claims from the Times article, what they’ve found and how they expect banks to monitor accounts for potential financial crimes.

“Only by conducting a thorough review of the full range of this activity can we better understand what happened in these cases; what practices, procedures, or personnel may need to be changed at the bank; and what regulators should do to ensure the Federal Reserve’s ability effectively to monitor compliance with Anti- Money Laundering laws,” they wrote.

Democratic lawmakers have homed in on Deutsche Bank and the international legal scrutiny it has drawn, along with its close connections to Trump, his family and business empire. The German lender has paid billions in fines and legal settlements, including nearly $700 million in fines related to Russian money laundering scheme.

Three Democratic-led House committees are investigating Deutsche Bank’s involvement in potential money laundering and financial crimes, along with Trump’s long-standing relationship with the bank. The panels have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for its financial records pertaining to Trump, which the president has sought to block in court.

Over the past two decades, Deutsche Bank has lent roughly $2 billion to Trump, including unconventional loans for real estate projects through its private wealth management wing.

The president owes roughly $300 million to Deutsche Bank, the only major bank who would lend to Trump after a series of bankruptcies and defaults ruined his standing among most financial firms.

Democratic lawmakers argue that Deutsche Bank’s implication in Russian money laundering and ties to Trump raise questions about a potential nexus with the Russian government’s attempts to sway the 2016 election in the president’s favor.

"This overdependence on Deutsche Bank and the heightened potential for conflicts of interest it poses is made more troubling because the President has refused to make any effort to address conflicts of interest or disclose his extensive global financial ties, as other Presidents and candidates have done in the past," the senators wrote.