Tired of bad press and global scrutiny—and owed hundreds of millions of dollars by the Trump Organization—Deutsche Bank's management is trying to figure out how to cut ties with President Donald Trump after Tuesday's election, Reuters revealed, citing three senior officials at the German investment bank.
The Trump Organization didn't respond to Reuters' requests for comment and both Deutsche Bank and the White House declined to comment. The president refused to divest from his business empire upon taking office in January 2017 but the Trump Organization—"a rat's nest of hundreds of ambiguous limited liability companies"—is now managed by his adult sons, Don Jr. and Eric, and CFO Allen Weisselberg.
While Deutsche Bank has lent Trump over $2 billion since the 1990s, the Trump Organization currently owes the bank about $340 million for three loans against his golf course in Miami and hotels in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Reuters reports. Although the conglomerate has made payments on interest, the entire principal is outstanding and the loans—personally guaranteed by the president—are set to come due in 2023 and 2024.
A bank management committee has recently discussed how to sever ties with Trump, whose relationship with the bank has caused probes and negative publicity that one senior executive called "serious collateral damage," according to the news agency. Though selling off Trump's loans has been discussed, one bank official explained the proposal isn't popular because it's unclear who would be willing to buy them.
Deutsche Bank is looking for ways to end its relationship with President Trump after #Election2020, as it tires of the negative publicity stemming from the ties, according to three senior bank officials https://t.co/fPd717qD38 pic.twitter.com/RB4n6gKNul
— Reuters (@Reuters) November 3, 2020
The bank leadership's final decision regarding Trump will be based on the result of the November 3 election in which the president is facing Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Reuters reports, explaining how the loans may factor into Trump's effort to secure a second term.
"If Trump is not in office, Deutsche Bank executives feel that it would be easier for them to demand repayment, foreclose if he is not able to pay it off or refinance, or try to sell the loans," according to Reuters. "Since Trump has personally guaranteed all the loans, Deutsche Bank could also seize the president's assets if he is unable to repay."
The news agency adds:
If the Republican president loses, and Democrats take control of the White House and Congress, senior Deutsche Bank executives believe congressional investigations that have stalled amid a court battle over access to Trump's financial records could be rejuvenated, the three bank officials said.
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In this scenario, however, Deutsche Bank executives believe they will also have more freedom to deal with the loans and end their relationship with Trump, the officials said. They hope doing so might help reduce some of the scrutiny, they said.
However, at least one federal lawmaker who has previously called for investigation into the bank's money laundering controls and relationship with the Trump family said she doesn't intend to back off. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) told Reuters, "You bet I'm going to continue to fight for accountability and strong enforcement of our banking laws, especially for giant institutions like Deutsche Bank."
The exclusive Reuters report on Election Day came after the New York Times exposed some background on the president's long relationship with Deutsche Bank as a piece of the newspaper's ongoing investigative series based in part on over two decades of tax data. Warren was among those who blasted the bank and others for forgiving $287 million in debt mostly related to Trump's skyscraper Chicago:
Trump strong-armed lenders like @DeutscheBank to forgive $287M in debt from his lousy real estate deals – but he won’t lift a finger to help families facing eviction or foreclosure during this crisis. Donald Trump only cares about helping Donald Trump. https://t.co/yskm6GfM86
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 28, 2020
Trump has had $287 million in debt forgiven since 2010.
The rich play by a different set of rules than the rest of us.https://t.co/I7rpM1EH1j
— Tax March (@taxmarch) October 28, 2020
Even after Trump sued Deutsche Bank, accusing it of preying on him, the bank agreed to lend him another $99 million — more than twice as much as was previously known — so that he could pay back what he still owed the bank.https://t.co/XeCePqd2Fa
— Citizens for Ethics (@CREWcrew) October 28, 2020
The Times pointed to the revelations about president's financial struggles with Trump International Hotel & Tower in the Windy City as just "the latest example of his ability to strong-arm major financial institutions and exploit the tax code to cushion the blow of his repeated business failures."