The New York Times broke a story Sunday that revealed staff of Deutsche Bank were hired especially for their expertise of money-laundering.
The bank staff recommended that they contact federal investigators about possible criminal activity in the accounts of President Donald Trump and his senior aide and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
“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,” the Times reported. “Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.”
The bank rejected the recommendation, and it appears now it might spark another investigation, according to Trump biographer David Cay Johnston.
“We know for a fact that Donald Trump has been involved in money laundering in the past, fined for it,” Johnston said. “We know that Deutsche Bank is fined over $600 million just for laundering money for Russian oligarchs and are nondenial denials. The Trump Organization said we never heard of this. Why would you? It was locked up in the bank. The bank said we didn’t stop anyone. The story makes it clear.”
He noted that former Deutsche Bank employee Tammy McFadden pushed it up the chain of command, but then the career began to go badly after that.
“So in addition, The Times has a pregnant line in it. It says that is there are other, ‘politically connected people’ who also were swept up,” Johnston said. “It’s clear that David Enrich, a very good reporter at The New York Times has seen these documents and other people whose money laundering suspicion of money laundering activities were also apparently quashed by the people at the private banking unit of Deutsche Bank in New York. This is for Donald Trump a really serious problem.”
Daily Beast reporter Betsy Woodruff also noted that this was quite a shock to those closely watching the Russia investigation. Most commentators found it strange that special counsel Robert Mueller didn’t know about this. She said that they “expected that Mueller would try to pull threads in terms of whether Trump had engaged in financial transactions or developed business relationships that could affect the way he thought about American foreign policy vis-a-vis Russia.”
That’s one reason why Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Maxine Waters (D-CA) plan to focus on that part of the investigation to pull “additional threads,” she explained.
“What this story suggests and indicates is that there is more to the story of Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank than we already know, even given all the investigating that’s already happened,” Woodruff said.