Senate Democrats are urging the Federal Reserve to investigate Deutsche Bank’s relationship with President Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, following reports that bank officials ignored alleged suspicious activities on their accounts.
Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, penned a letter Thursday to the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and its president, John Williams, requesting that they probe allegations against the bank.
“Deutsche Bank has deep ties to President Trump and Mr. Kushner. Deutsche Bank has been the President’s largest lender and extended him lines of credit when other financial institutions would not,” the senators wrote. “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.”
“In light of these most recent press accounts, and Deutsche Bank’s extensive history of violations, which have prompted huge penalties for the bank, 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.
Van Hollen and Brown gave the Federal Reserve until June 24 to respond to almost a dozen questions related to the allegations.
Their letter came after The New York Times reported last month that senior Deutsche Bank Wealth Management officials repeatedly ignored recommendations of their own anti-money laundering compliance experts that the bank file suspicious activities (SARs) on transactions tied to Trump, including Trump businesses and the Trump Foundation, and companies owned or controlled by Kushner and his family.
Last month, Van Hollen and Brown also penned a letter to Deutsche Bank about the report, writing that if it were true, it “would seem to be another especially alarming failure of the bank’s risk management and internal controls,” and cited the bank’s “record of recent serious violations of U.S. securities, sanctions, banking, and anti-money laundering laws.”
Meanwhile, on the other side of Capitol Hill, House Democrats are also probing Trump’s ties to Deutsche Bank. Last month, a federal judge in New York ruled that the bank was required to comply with congressional subpoenas seeking access to Trump’s financial records.
The House Financial Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee both have requested the documents from Deutsche Bank, as well as Capital One, in their investigations of possible “foreign influence in the U.S. political process.”
“We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations and will abide by a court order regarding such investigations,” Deutsche Bank said in a statement to Fox News after the ruling last month.
The inquiries into Deutsche Bank are just part of sweeping probes led by congressional Democrats into the president’s finances.
Last month, Wells Fargo and TD Bank turned over Trump’s financial records to the House Financial Services Committee. Those banks are just two of the nine financial institutions with which congressional Democrats are seeking cooperation. The push has led to an escalating legal battle on multiple fronts.
Meanwhile, the House Ways and Means Committee is seeking the president’s tax returns, and has issued subpoenas for the files. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he would not comply with the subpoena for the president’s tax returns.
The standoff between the congressional Democrats and the administration is likely to lead to a court battle, with Trump reportedly indicating he’s prepared to fight all the way to the Supreme Court.
Trump declined to reveal his tax returns during the 2016 presidential election, claiming he was under audit. Political candidates aren’t required to disclose their tax returns, though traditionally all candidates do.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.