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Deutsche Bank Officials Flagged Kushner/Trump Transactions as 'Suspicious' But Top Execs Killed Inquiry: Report

"You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens."

White House Advisor Jared Kushner and President Donald Trump together at the G20 Summit, December 2018.

White House Advisor Jared Kushner and President Donald Trump together at the G20 Summit, December 2018. (Photo: President of Mexico, Flickr)

New reporting from The New York Times claims that higher-ups at Deutsche Bank killed internal inquiries into accounts held by the Trump and Kushner families, raising questions about the financial institution's connection to the White House. 

According to the Times report, in 2016 and 2017 employees at the bank—specifically anti-money laundering specialist Tammy McFadden—flagged transactions from Kushner Companies and the Trump Organization that were suspected of being involved with money laundering and referred them to executives in the expectation that the transactions would then be sent to the Treasury Department.

But the executives took no action, preferring instead to kill the matter. That has McFadden, and other former employees of the bank that the Times spoke to, fuming. 

"You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens," said McFadden, who was fired in 2018 for performance issues. 

Also fuming was President Donald Trump, who attacked the Times using one of his favored insults, "fake news." In a lengthy Twitter thread, Trump went after the Times for its reporting on Deutsche Bank. Notably, the president didn't address the central claims of Sunday's article. 

"The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years), and others of the Fake News Media, keep writing phony stories about how I didn't use many banks because they didn't want to do business with me," tweeted Trump.

"WRONG!" said the president. "It is because I didn't need money."

In response, Times finance editor David Enrich, the author of the recent article, hit back.

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"This is not true," Enrich tweeted. "I have spent a long time looking into this, and Deutsche Bank was the only bank willing to lend to Donald Trump for 20 years because of his pattern of defaults and the bank's hunger for growth in the US."

In statements to the Times, both the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies dismissed the allegations. 

"Any allegations regarding Deutsche Bank's relationship with Kushner Companies which involved money laundering is completely made up and totally false," said Kushner Companies spokesperson Karen Zabarsky. "The New York Times continues to create dots that just don't connect."

The Times report did not detail the nature of the transactions other than saying they raised questions for McFadden and others in the bank. 

The Times reporting is sure to add to the bank's mounting headaches. On Monday, Deutsche Bank stocks hit a record low due to a downgrade from UBS.

In a column about the Trump and Kushner transactions controversy, Esquire writer Charlie Pierce put the accusations into their broader context within the Trump presidency. 

"None of this is normal," wrote Pierce. "None of this is right. None of this comes within several hundred hectares of complying with the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that this guy swore to preserve and protect."

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