MONEY LAUNDERING?? Now, this is SERIOUS. Will Congress, in particular the Republicans, finally step up and demand accountability????!!!
Excerpted from New York Times 5.19.2019
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving legal entities controlled by Donald J. Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog.
You present them with everything, and you give them a recommendation, and nothing happens,” said Tammy McFadden (pictured below), a former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist who reviewed some of the transactions. “It’s the D.B. way. They are prone to discounting everything.”
Ms. McFadden said she was terminated last year after she raised concerns about the bank’s practices. Since then, she has filed complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators about the bank’s anti-money-laundering enforcement.
Ms. McFadden’s job at Deutsche Bank was to inspect clients and transactions in the company’s private-banking division — the unit that lent money to Mr. Trump. She joined the bank in 2008, after working for Bank of America, also in Jacksonville.
Ms. McFadden had left Bank of America in 2005, and later sued for racial discrimination and wrongful termination. According to court records, her lawsuit was settled on confidential terms the same year she joined Deutsche Bank, where she went on to win multiple performance awards.
Around the time she flagged the Kushner Companies’ transactions, Ms. McFadden said, she also complained about how the bank was scrutinizing the accounts of high-profile customers, such as those in public office. Those customers — known as politically exposed persons — are regarded as at heightened risk of being involved in corruption. As a result, their accounts are subject to extra vetting.
Ms. McFadden said she had told her superiors that dozens of politically exposed clients of the private-banking division, including Mr. Trump and members of his family, were not receiving that added attention. Her superiors told her to stop raising questions, according to Ms. McFadden and the two former managers.
After taking her complaint to the human resources department, Ms. McFadden was transferred to another division. She was terminated in April 2018. The bank told her that she was not processing enough transactions.
Ms. McFadden disputed that. She said her superiors had reduced the number of transactions she was assigned to review after she voiced her concerns. She and the two former managers said they perceived her termination as an act of retaliation.
“They attempted to try to silence me,” she said. “I’m at peace because I know that I did the right thing.”
Mr. Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank spans two decades. During a period when most Wall Street banks had stopped doing business with him after his repeated defaults, Deutsche Bank lent Mr. Trump and his companies a total of more than $2.5 billion. Projects financed through the private-banking division include Mr. Trump’s Doral golf resort near Miami and his transformation of Washington’s Old Post Office Building into a luxury hotel.
When he became president, he owed Deutsche Bank well over $300 million. That made the German institution Mr. Trump’s biggest creditor — and put the bank in a bind.
Senior executives worried that if they took a tough stance with Mr. Trump’s accounts — for example, by demanding payment of a delinquent loan — they could provoke the president’s wrath. On the other hand, if they didn’t do anything, the bank could be perceived as cutting a lucrative break for Mr. Trump, whose administration wields regulatory and law enforcement power over the bank.
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. 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.
But executives at Deutsche Bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees’ advice. The reports were never filed with the government.
The nature of the transactions was not clear. At least some of them involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious.
Real estate developers like Mr. Trump and Mr. Kushner sometimes do large, all-cash deals, including with people outside the United States, any of which can prompt anti-money laundering reviews. The red flags raised by employees do not necessarily mean the transactions were improper. Banks sometimes opt not to file suspicious activity reports if they conclude their employees’ concerns are unwarranted.
But former Deutsche Bank employees said the decision not to report the Trump and Kushner transactions reflected the bank’s generally lax approach to money laundering laws. The employees — most of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve their ability to work in the industry — said it was part of a pattern of the bank’s executives rejecting valid reports to protect relationships with lucrative clients.