FRANKFURT / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A US federal investigator UU Investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election asked Deutsche Bank ( DBKGn.DE ) about the accounts of President Donald Trump and his family, a person close to the matter said on Tuesday, but Trump's lawyer denied that a citation of that type had been issued.
The largest bank in Germany received a citation from Special Adviser Robert Mueller several weeks ago to provide information on certain money and credit transactions, the person said, without giving details, adding that key documents had been delivered in the meantime. .
Deutsche Bank has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Trump Organization for real estate ventures and is one of the few major lenders that has granted large amounts of credit to Trump in the last decade. A series of bankruptcies in their hotel and casino businesses during the 1990s made most Wall Street avoid giving them credit.
Mueller is investigating Russia's alleged attempts to influence the elections and the possible collusion of Trump's advisers. Russia has denied the conclusion of the US intelligence agencies that it interfered in the elections and Trump has said there was no collusion with Moscow.
Jay Sekulow, one of Trump's personal attorneys, said Deutsche Bank has not received any subpoena for financial records related to the president as part of Mueller's investigation.
"We have confirmed that the news reports that the special lawyer has cited financial records related to the president are false," Sekulow told Reuters in a statement. "No citation has been issued or received." We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources. "
He later said that the bank in question was Deutsche Bank A spokesman for Mueller declined to comment.
A spokesperson for Deutsche Bank in New York made no comment beyond the statement issued by the bank on Tuesday that said the bank "takes its legal obligations seriously and remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations into this matter."
A US official with knowledge of Mueller's investigation He said one of the reasons for the subpoenas was to find out if Deutsche Bank sold some of the mortgage loans or other loans from Trump to the Russian state development bank VEB or other Russian banks that are now subject to sanctions from the United States and the European Union.
VEB, as well as the Agricultural Bank of Russia and Gazprombank ( GZPRI.MM ) did not respond immediately to requests for comments p or email.
"None of the representatives of the VTB Group ( VTBR.MM ) has received a subpoena because there is absolutely no basis for this," said a representative of the bank in response to a request from Reuters. "Deutsche Bank did not contact us regarding people related to the Trump administration."
"We would not comment on the existence of such a request, if one had been received," replied a representative of Sberbank ( SBER.MM ).
Keeping Trump's debt, particularly if part of it was due or could come, could give Russian banks some leverage over Trump, especially if they are state-owned, a second US official said. UU Familiar with Russian intelligence methods.
"An obvious question is why Trump and those around him expressed interest in improving relations with Russia as one of the top priorities of foreign policy, and if some personal considerations played any role in that," said the second official. , speaking on condition of anonymity
A source close to Deutsche Bank said that the bank had verified Trump's financial dealings with Russia.
During his election campaign, Trump said he would seek to improve ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who tensed during the administration of President Barack Obama.
the citation was previously reported by the German newspaper Handelsblatt.
RED LINE FINANCES
During a photo shoot with senators at the White House on Tuesday, Trump refused to answer the shouted questions from reporters about whether Mueller had crossed the line asking Deutsche Bank for information.
In an interview on July 9 with The New York Times, Trump said Mueller should not extend his investigation into Trump's finances if they were not directly related to Russia's accusations.
When asked if deepening the finances of him and his family, which were not related to Russian research, would cross a red line, Trump replied: "I would say yes. I would say yes"
Deutsche Bank earlier this year rejected the Efforts of US Democratic Legislators UU For more information about his dealings with Trump, as well as any information he may have about whether the Republican, his family or his advisors had financial backing from Russia.
Trump had liabilities of at least $ 130 million for Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, a unit of the German bank, according to a financial disclosure form published in June by the US Government Ethics Office. UU
Deutsche's debts include a loan of more than $ 50 million for the Old Post Office, a historic property that developed in downtown Washington, mortgages worth more than $ 55 million on a golf course in Florida, and a loan $ 25 million at Trump hotel and condo in Chicago, the revelation shows.
All those loans were taken in 2012 and will expire in 2023 and 2024, according to the disclosure.
Trump and Deutsche Bank have not always been on good terms. Trump sued the bank and other lenders in 2008, demanding $ 3 billion in damages, alleging that they broke agreements on the construction and financing of a Chicago hotel.
Deutsche Bank counterattacked and the two parties finally settled down.
Deutsche Bank's internal documents seen by Reuters include the names of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his wife, Kathleen, in a series of customer profiles. But it was not immediately clear what his relationship with the bank was or had been.
According to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity, Manafort and his wife do not have Deutsche Bank accounts.
The bank declined to comment on whether Manafort is or has been a client.
A Manafort spokesperson declined to comment.
In October, Manafort pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to launder money and conspiracy against the United States. The charges were presented as part of Mueller's investigation.
Reports by Arno Schuetze and Tom Bergin in Frankfurt, Tatiana Voronova in Moscow, and Nathan Layne, John Walcott, Nathan Layne, Karen Freifeld and Jonathan Landay in Washington; Written by Alistair Bell and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Keith Weir, Mark Potter, Toni Reinhold and Frances Kerry