House Panels Subpoena Deutsche Bank, Others In Trump Finance Inquiry (#GotBitcoin?)
Two House panels have issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and other financial institutions, as Democrats continued to pursue an inquiry into President Trump’s financial interests. House Panels Subpoena Deutsche Bank, Others In Trump Finance Inquiry (#GotBitcoin?)
German lender vows ‘productive dialogue’ with Democratic-led committees probing president’s businesses.
The subpoenas from the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee came just days before the expected release of a report from special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any connection to the Trump campaign.
In a statement, Deutsche Bank said it is “engaged in a productive dialogue with the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committee.” The German company said it “remain[s] committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations in a manner consistent with our legal obligations.”
A representative for the White House couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and has called the probes launched by House Democrats earlier this year “presidential harassment.”
In a statement, Eric Trump, an executive at the Trump Organization and one of the president’s sons, said: “This subpoena is an unprecedented abuse of power and simply the latest attempt by House Democrats to attack the President and our family for political gain.”
“The potential use of the U.S. financial system for illicit purposes is a very serious concern,” House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D., Calif.) said. “The Financial Services Committee is exploring these matters, including as they may involve the President and his associates…and will follow the facts wherever they may lead us.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) said his panel issued subpoenas to “multiple financial institutions” in coordination with the Financial Services Committee, “including a friendly subpoena to Deutsche Bank, which has been cooperative with the Committees.” He added: “We look forward to their continued cooperation and compliance.”
The lawmakers didn’t name the other financial institutions. Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Mr. Trump goes back decades. Since 1998, the bank has led or participated in loans of at least $2.5 billion to companies affiliated with Mr. Trump, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
Mr. Schiff said the subpoenas were issued as part of the panel’s oversight authority and investigation into “allegations of potential foreign influence on the U.S. political process.”
In 2017, Ms. Waters and House Democrats repeatedly called for Deutsche Bank to disclose details of any ties to Russia, Mr. Trump and related client accounts. Deutsche Bank rebuffed the House requests at the time, which lacked Republican support.
The subpoenas come after Ms. Waters last week pressed the heads of the largest U.S. banks—including the chief executives of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and Bank of America —on whether the lenders had uncovered accounts tied to illicit Russian businesses or individuals. Most of the chief executives, who were all gathered in Washington to testify before Ms. Waters’s panel, said their firms had no such connections. Citigroup Chief Executive Michael Corbat said he couldn’t comment on internal investigations.
In the Mueller probe, Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of Mr. Mueller’s findings last month, and plans to release a redacted version of the full report on Thursday.
In the summary, Mr. Barr said the Mueller probe didn’t establish that Mr. Trump or his campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election—but reached no conclusion on whether the president obstructed justice. With the absence of a recommendation on that matter, Mr. Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein determined Mr. Trump’s actions weren’t criminal.
Deutsche Bank Considers Forming ‘Bad Bank’
Executives mulling strategy as part of contingency planning amid continuing merger discussions with Commerzbank.
Deutsche Bank AG executives have discussed creating a new unit to house unwanted assets and businesses that could be earmarked for closure, part of contingency planning under way should a possible merger with German rival Commerzbank AG fall through, according to people familiar with the matter.
Deutsche Bank for years has been retooling its strategy and management, promising to reinvigorate profits, repair compliance weaknesses and cut rising costs. Executives insisted publicly up until late 2018 that the bank should only consider deals after it heals itself. Now, deep into merger talks, it is looking at a potentially bigger cleanup effort than it previously signaled.
Planning for a possible no-deal outcome has taken on greater urgency at Deutsche Bank as merger talks have proven more complicated than proponents originally expected, the people said.
Staunch union resistance to massive job cuts needed for a deal to work financially have proved an especially difficult impediment since the two banks revealed in mid-March that they are exploring a potential tie-up. Deutsche Bank at that time described the merger talks as part of a strategic review aimed at boosting its profitability.
A new unit for disposing of assets and discontinued operations—a so-called bad bank—could be used flexibly, whether Deutsche Bank strikes a deal or not, some of the people said. A merger would likely require Deutsche Bank to make sizable cuts to parts of its investment bank, narrowing the scope of businesses to focus resources on more-profitable areas as part of a strategy overhaul, some of the people said.
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