Even after Deutsche Bank senior executives – including Christian Sewing, who once ran the bank’s wealth management business but is now its CEO – decided during the 2016 campaign to curtail the bank’s relationship with the Trump, allegedly over worries that Trump, if elected, might default on a $350 million loan while in office – lawmakers and prosecutors have continued to bash the bank as “the biggest money laundering bank in the world” and threatened to leave no stone unturned in their examination of its relationship with the Trump family.
And as if investigations launched by the House Financial Services and House Intelligence Committees wouldn’t be comprehensive enough (it’s also believed that the Mueller probe has investigated Trump’s ties to the bank), New York State Attorney General Letitia James has launched a civil inquiry into the bank, demanding via subpoena more information about its involvement in Trump’s failed bid to buy the Buffalo Bills, among other dealings with the now-first family.
The inquiry, according to the New York Times, was prompted by Michael Cohen’s allegations that Trump would inflate his assets on financial statements, particularly when applying for loans (or trying to get his name on the Forbes List of wealthiest people).
Here’s more from the New York Times:
The new inquiry, by the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, was prompted by the congressional testimony last month of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, the person briefed on the subpoenas said. Mr. Cohen testified under oath that Mr. Trump had inflated his assets in financial statements, and Mr. Cohen provided copies of statements he said had been submitted to Deutsche Bank.
The inquiry by Ms. James’s office is a civil investigation, not a criminal one, although its focus and scope were unclear. The attorney general has broad authority under state law to investigate fraud and can fine — or in extreme cases, go to court to try to dissolve — a business that is found to have engaged in repeated illegality.
James’s subpeonas seek loan applications and information on mortgages, lines of credit and other financing involving Deutsche Bank and New Jersey-based Investors Bank, which also received subpoenas. In addition to the failed Bills deal, James and her office are also looking into Trump Organization projects including the Trump International Hotel, The Trump National Doral, Trump International Hotel and Tower (in Chicago) and Trump Park Avenue.
The request to Deutsche Bank sought loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and other financing transactions in connection with the Trump International Hotel in Washington; the Trump National Doral outside Miami; and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, the person said.
Investigators also requested records connected to an unsuccessful effort to buy the Bills, the person said. Mr. Trump gave Deutsche Bank bare-bones personal financial statements in 2014 when he planned to make a bid for the team, The New York Times has reported. The deal fell through when the team was sold to a rival bidder for $1.4 billion.
Mr. Trump worked with a small United States-based unit of Deutsche Bank that serves ultra-wealthy people. The unit lent Mr. Trump more than $100 million in 2012 to pay for the Doral golf resort and $170 million in 2015 to transform the Old Post Office Building in Washington into a luxury hotel.
New Jersey-based Investors Bank was subpoenaed for records relating to Trump Park Avenue, a project it had backed.
Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank declined to comment. The Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment.
Keep in mind that this inquiry is civil, not criminal – so the stakes for Trump aren’t very high. If anything, the inquiry will send a chilling message to any banks that still have the temerity to deal with the Trump Family during and after his tenure in office: Prosecutors will be watching their every step.