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New York Attorney General's Trump Investigation Involves Bank's Wealth Management Unit, News Reports

March 12, 2019

The New York attorney general’s office has opened an investigation related to the financing of Trump Organization projects by Deutsche Bank, whose wealth management unit allegedly extended credit to Trump even after its investment bank stopped doing business with the organization, according to news reports.

The AG’s office issued subpoenas to Germany-based Deutsche Bank and New Jersey-based Investors Bank yesterday, seeking records on how the firms helped finance four Trump projects and an unsuccessful bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills football team, according to the New York Times, which cites a person briefed on the subpoenas.

The investigation was prompted by last month’s congressional testimony of president Donald Trump’s former lawyer and trusted advisor Michael Cohen, who said Trump had submitted falsified financial statements to the German lender, the paper writes. The office of the attorney general, Letitia James, is conducting a civil — rather than criminal — investigation, and its scope is unclear, according to the Times.

The Deutsche Bank subpoenas apply to mortgages, loan applications, lines of credit and other financing related to projects in Washington, the Miami area and Chicago, as well as records about Trump’s bid to buy the Bills, the person tells the paper.

While other commercial banks had stopped working with Trump (apparently due to his bankruptcies), Deutsche Bank continued doing business with Trump for decades, Bloomberg writes. The company’s investment bank broke ties with Trump after the financial crisis, after he had a loan default and sued the bank, according to the news service. But Trump was still able to get credit from its wealth management unit, Bloomberg writes.

The U.S.-based unit, which works with ultra-wealthy clients, lent Trump more than $270 million from 2012 to 2015 for his Doral golf resort outside Miami and the luxury hotel revamp of the Old Post Office Building in Washington, the Times writes.

James’s office subpoenaed Investors Bank for documents on the financing of Trump Park Avenue in New York, according to the paper.

Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank declined comment to the Times, while the Trump Organization didn’t respond to its requests for comment.

President Donald Trump (Getty)

James had vowed to investigate Trump in connection to the probe by the special counsel, Robert Mueller III, into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election, the paper writes.

“I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn,” she said in her election victory speech in November, according to the Times.

The House Intelligence Committee has also been investigating Trump’s real estate transactions and Deutsche Bank loans to the Trump Organization, the paper writes.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the New York Times article cited in this story, click here.