A group of Democratic lawmakers in the US Senate have called on the Federal Reserve to investigate President Donald Trump’s relationship with Germany’s Deutsche Bank over alleged suspicious transactions.
The Democratic senators urged top officials in the Federal Reserve in a letter on Thursday to investigate Deutsche Bank AG’s ties with the US president and his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, citing the need for “further examination” of media reports about potentially suspicious transactions at the bank involving Trump business entities in 2016 and 2017 – during the presidential campaign and Trump’s first year in office.
The plea was made in response to a New York Times article on May 19 that said specialists at Deutsche Bank had recommended transactions by legal entities controlled by Trump and Kushner be reported to a federal financial-crime regulator but top officials at the German bank had rejected the advice and not alerted the government.
The specialists said the handling of the Trump and Kushner transactions had been part of a pattern of the bank’s executives rejecting valid reports to protect relationships with lucrative clients.
The Thursday’s letter called on the Fed, which is one of the main regulators of Deutsche Bank’s American operations, to look into the transactions and review whether the bank had complied with anti-money-laundering laws.
“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,” the senators wrote.
The letter, sent by Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, was signed by six other Senate Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who is campaigning for the presidential candidacy of the Democrats in 2020 and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee.
Representatives of the Fed and Deutsche Bank have up to this point declined to comment.
“This is a test of the Fed’s independence,” Van Hollen said in an interview with the New York Times. “It would be gross negligence if they weren’t investigating.”
Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank has been a focal point for Democratic Party investigators in Congress as the bank has served as a principle lender for Trump’s real estate business.
Democrats in the House have subpoenaed the bank for financial records involving the American head of state, his family and his businesses. But the investigatory effort is on hold while Trump’s lawyers challenge the subpoena in court.