Bank looked for evidence of whether loans to president were underpinned by guarantees from Moscow, Guardian learns.
The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump has conducted a close internal examination of the US president’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia, the Guardian has learned.
Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow.
The Guardian has also learned that the president’s immediate family are Deutsche clients. The bank examined accounts held by Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, her husband, Jared Kushner, who serves as a White House adviser, and Kushner’s mother.
The internal review found no evidence of any Russia link, but Deutsche Bank is coming under pressure to appoint an external and independent auditor to review its business relationship with President Trump.
Democratic congressman Bill Pascrell Jr, a member of the House Ways and Means committee, said: “We know that Deutsche Bank is a major lender to President Trump, and the firm is also currently undergoing scrutiny by the Department of Justice for alleged misconduct.”
“I think it’s important for the American people to know the extent of the bank’s involvement with the president, and whether there is any Russian involvement in loans made to Mr Trump.”
Pascrell said the bank was under federal investigation for aiding Russian money-laundering – a “troubling potential conflict”. He said that he would encourage Deutsche to “shine a bright light” on its lending to the president to “eliminate any speculation of wrongdoing.” Congress should also be allowed to review Trump’s tax returns in closed session, he added.
A source familiar with Deutsche Bank’s internal review said it came after Trump’s bid to become US president made him a politically exposed person. Under banking regulations, PEPs undergo tougher scrutiny than regular clients because of their proximity to government.
After Trump’s victory in the US election in November the bank “double-checked” its records, the source said. The bank has also fielded numerous media inquiries about recent Trump loans, which were viewed as unorthodox among some bankers familiar with the transactions.
According to an analysis by Bloomberg, Trump now owes Deutsche around $300m. He has four large mortgages, all issued by Deutsche’s private bank. The loans are guaranteed against the presdent’a properties: a new deluxe hotel in Washington DC’s old Post Office building, just round the corner from the White House; his Chicago tower hotel; and the Trump National Doral Miami resort.