U.S. President Donald Trump is insisting he didn’t borrow from many banks because he “didn’t need the money,” not because they wouldn’t do business with him.
Mr. Trump’s tweets Monday appear to be in response to The New York Times reporting that Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialists recommended that multiple transactions associated with Mr. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be flagged to federal authorities.
Bank executives rejected that advice, the Times story said.
The Times and others have reported the bank was the “only mainstream financial institution consistently willing to do business” with Mr. Trump because of his repeated defaults.
Two House committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and several other financial institutions as part of their investigations into Mr. Trump’s finances. Mr. Trump, his family and the Trump Organization have filed a lawsuit to try to stop them from complying.
The Times story said anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Mr. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.
The transactions, some of which involved Mr. Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to five current and former bank employees. Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared suspicious-activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.
But executives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees’ advice. The reports were never filed with the government.
The nature of the transactions was not clear. At least some of them involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious.
Real estate developers such as Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner sometimes do large, all-cash deals, including with people outside the United States, any of which can prompt anti-money laundering reviews. The red flags raised by employees do not necessarily mean the transactions were improper. Banks sometimes opt not to file suspicious-activity reports if they conclude their employees’ concerns are unwarranted.
But former Deutsche Bank employees said the decision not to report the Trump and Kushner transactions reflected the bank’s generally lax approach to money-laundering laws. The employees – most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve their ability to work in the industry – said it was part of a pattern of the bank’s executives rejecting valid reports to protect relationships with lucrative clients.
“You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens,” said Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist who reviewed some of the transactions. “It’s the D.B. way. They are prone to discounting everything.”
Ms. McFadden said she was terminated last year after she raised concerns about the bank’s practices. Since then, she has filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators about the bank’s anti-money-laundering enforcement.
Deutsche Bank responded with a denial of the report.
“At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious,” the bank said in a statement.
“Furthermore, the suggestion that anyone was reassigned or fired in an effort to quash concerns relating to any client is categorically false.”