Democratic lawmakers asked Deutsche Bank to hand over its findings on two politically charged matters – its banking on behalf of now-President Donald Trump and trades from the bank’s Moscow operation that helped move some $10 billion out of Russia.
Rep. Maxine Waters of California and four other Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee asked the Frankfurt-based lender for its internal report about its conduct in the Russian “mirror trading” scandal. They also asked for any internal review of Trump’s business dealings with the bank, descriptions of which have surfaced in news reports.
The lawmakers asked whether the bank’s loans to Trump, made years before the New York developer ran for president, “were guaranteed by the Russian government, or were in any way connected to Russia.” A copy of the letter sent to the bank was reviewed by Bloomberg News.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the letter.
As the minority party in Congress, the Democrats don’t have the power to force Deutsche Bank to make any disclosures. It’s not clear whether Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the chairman of the committee, shares his colleagues’ interest in the matter. Hensarling’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
The same group of Democrats demanded in March that Hensarling hold a hearing to explore the bank’s conduct in the Russian mirror-trading scandal, as part of an effort to ensure that the Justice Department investigation wasn’t influenced by the lender’s relationship with Trump. No hearing has been scheduled.
The mirror-trading scheme allowed some of the bank’s wealthy clients in Moscow to convert rubles into western currency through the simultaneous purchase and sale of publicly traded shares, investigators have found.
The Democrats cited Deutsche Bank’s previous compliance failures, which have resulted in more than $6 billion in fines and penalties to U.S. regulators since 2015. Along with the internal review of the Russian stock-trading scheme, they are seeking any internal correspondence and communications related to loans extended to Trump and his immediate family members. The bank has made more than $300 million in loans to Trump, for the Doral golf resort in Florida, a Washington, D.C., hotel and a Chicago tower.
Bloomberg has reported that the bank’s loans to Trump were structured as “recourse” loans, which, in the case of default, would allow the bank to go after Trump’s own assets.
The letter asks Deutsche Bank to respond by June 2.
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