Deutsche Bank Refuses Democrats’ Request for Reports on TrumpBy
Lender cites U.S. law saying documents cannot be provided
Bank says individual lawmakers aren’t entitled to information
Deutsche Bank AG intensified its fight with Democrats over their requests for information related to loans to President Donald Trump, saying the German lender cannot legally turn over the documents.
In a letter on Thursday, lawyers for Deutsche Bank wrote that confidential financial information cannot be turned over to individual members of Congress -- but could potentially be turned over in response to a formal congressional committee request.
The information had been requested by five Democratic lawmakers, including Representative Maxine Waters of California, the top Democrat on the Financial Services Committee.
Earlier this year, the Democrats asked for its findings on two politically charged matters: banking on behalf of now-President Donald Trump, and trades from the bank’s Moscow operation that helped move some $10 billion out of Russia. They also asked for any internal review of Trump’s business dealings with the bank, descriptions of which have surfaced in news reports.
The Thursday letter was part of back-and-forth correspondence with lawmakers over what can be turned over under the law.
“We respectfully disagree with the suggestion that Deutsche Bank freely may reveal confidential financial information in response to requests from individual members of Congress,” lawyers for the bank at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP wrote to the lawmakers.
In a letter earlier this month, the Democrats argued that federal laws forbidding the disclosure of client information to a “government authority” don’t apply to Congress, since the legislative branch isn’t an agency or department of the government.
That letter chided Deutsche Bank for refusing to acknowledge even the existence of the internal reports, which have been cited in the press. Waters and her fellow Democrats also contend that banking-secrecy laws, which are designed to protect client confidentiality, can’t be used to hide potentially fraudulent conduct.
"This bank has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump and his family members, and reportedly conducted an internal review of whether their accounts had any ties to Russia," said Waters in a statement.
"Efforts by Trump, his family members and associates, and Deutsche Bank to avoid scrutiny only intensify our resolve to follow the Trump money trail," she said.