Trump’s tax battle puts Deutsche Bank in the firing line

Linda J. Dodson

Past misconduct and scrutiny over the bank’s relationship with Trump continued to plague Deutsche in the years that followed. Last year it emerged that the FBI was scrutinising the bank for a range of potential anti-money laundering lapses, reportedly including a review of potentially problematic transactions linked to Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. A spokesman for Mr Kushner’s company said at the time that any allegation involving money laundering was “completely made up and totally false”. 

Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche specialist who reviewed some of the transactions, told the New York Times that at the bank “you present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens. It’s the DB way. They are prone to discounting everything.”

That oversight was laid bare this week when the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) said the bank failed to step in when Epstein was wiring money to co-conspirators, Russian models and women “with Eastern European surnames” and did not question the fact he was withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash for “tipping and household expenses”.

Rather than carrying out detailed scrutiny, the DFS said Deutsche’s compliance workers simply looked online to check that the women paid by Epstein were over the age of 18. 

Following the $150m fine, which also covered compliance failures related to Danske Bank Estonia and FBME Bank, Deutsche chief executive Christian Sewing told staff: “We all have to help ensure that this kind of thing does not happen again. It is our duty and our social responsibility to ensure that our banking services are used only for legitimate purposes.”

Sewing also said bringing in Epstein as a client in 2013 was a “critical mistake and should never have happened”.  

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