Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank flagged multiple suspicious transactions involving President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and recommended the bank turn over information about their transactions to the federal government’s financial crimes unit, The New York Times reported Sunday.
But top executives at the global financial giant rejected that recommendation, current and former employees told the newspaper.
The transactions in question, which occurred between 2016 and 2017, “set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity,” five current and former Deutsche Bank employees told The Times. Some of the transactions were reportedly connected to the now dissolved Trump Foundation.
Those transactions were then reviewed by the bank’s compliance staff, who prepared suspicious activity reports that they felt should be sent to the U.S. Treasury Department for investigation.
Those reports, however, were never filed, The Times reported. The Times added that the nature of the transactions was unclear, but some of them involved money going between the entities and foreign companies or individuals, which raised red flags with bank employees. The Times noted that those red flags “did not necessarily mean the transactions were improper.”
NBC News reports:
Over the past few years, Deutsche Bank has been punished by both U.S. and European authorities for its role in money laundering schemes, paying hundreds of millions in fines as a result. The bank has a substantial relationship with Trump, as it was the only major financial institution to continue lending to Trump after he went through a financial downturn in the 1990s. Deutsche Bank lent Trump and his businesses more than $2.5 billion and, when he became president, the bank held more than $300 million in Trump’s debt.
“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,” Kerrie McHugh, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman, said in a statement. “An effective (anti-money laundering) program requires sophisticated transaction screening technology as well as a trained group of individuals who can analyze the alerts generated by that technology both thoroughly and efficiently.”
“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.”
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.