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Deutsche Bank reportedly ignored employees' calls to report Trump transactions to a federal watchdog

Key Points
  • Transactions in 2016 and 2017 triggered automated controls at Deutsche Bank meant to catch illicit activity, and compliance workers then prepared what's known as suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to the Treasury, according to The New York Times, which cited five current and former bank employees.
  • The move to disregard the compliance workers' recommendation was part of a pattern at Deutsche Bank of rejecting concerns to protect relationships with valued clients, the Times said.
  • Deutsche Bank denied that it prevented employees from escalating reports, and the Trump Organization and Kushner Companies each pushed back against the report.
President Donald Trump and his senior advisor Jared Kushner arrive for a meeting with manufacturing CEOs at the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. February 23, 2017.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

Deutsche Bank ignored employees' calls to report transactions made by legal entities controlled by President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner to the Treasury Department's financial crimes unit, according to The New York Times.

Transactions in 2016 and 2017 triggered automated controls at Deutsche Bank meant to catch illicit activity, and compliance workers then prepared what's known as suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to the Treasury, according to the Times, which cited five current and former bank employees. But the reports were never filed with the government, the article states.

The red flags raised by employees don't mean the transactions were improper, the Times said. The newspaper said it couldn't determine the exact nature of the transactions, but that some of them involved funds flowing overseas, which typically brings greater scrutiny.

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The move to disregard the compliance workers' recommendation was part of a pattern at Deutsche Bank of rejecting concerns to protect relationships with valued clients, the Times said. The German bank, along with other global institutions, has been fined billions of dollars over failing to police internal transactions tied to illicit activity.

"We have increased our anti-financial crime staff and enhanced our controls in recent years and take compliance with" anti-money laundering laws very seriously, Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Kerrie McHugh said in a statement provided to NBC News.

"At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious," McHugh said. Addressing allegations in the Times that employees were sidelined for bringing up their concerns, McHugh added that "the suggestion that anyone was reassigned or fired in an effort to quash concerns relating to any client is categorically false."

A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization told the Times it had no knowledge of flagged transactions and said that it doesn't have any current accounts with Deutsche Bank. A spokeswoman for Kushner Companies said that any allegation that it violated money laundering rules was "made up and totally false," the newspaper reported.

Some of the transactions involved money sent from Kushner Companies to Russian individuals, the newspaper said, citing Tammy McFadden, a former Deutsche Bank employee who claims to have viewed the payments.

Trump's relationships with Deutsche Bank have drawn scrutiny in Congress and elsewhere. Trump sued the bank last month to prevent it from complying with congressional subpoenas seeking information about potential suspicious payments.

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