Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

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Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:25 pm

Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs — American and Russian, Part 1


Editor’s Note: We publish this lengthy, in-depth, technical piece by a former IRS investigator, knowing it raises more questions than it provides answers. But we believe that is a very useful service, particularly in relation to a complex topic of considerable public import — one that may be a key component for special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. We hope in the coming weeks to explore many of these questions in greater depth. And we welcome reader comments.

Martin J. Sheil is a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division.

Acronym Reference

DFS Department of Financial Services

LIBOR London Interbank Offered Rate (calculates interest payments across the globe)

DOJ US Department of Justice

SDNY Southern District of New York

EDNY Eastern District of New York

FinCEN Financial Crimes Enforcement Network

OCCRP Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project

President Donald J. Trump claims he has the “absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” This chilling assertion invites speculation about just what the president has in mind. For clues to what may surface when investigators dig deeper, consider the pending prosecution of banking giant Deutsche Bank over money laundering activities involving Russia.

Recent media reports confirm that Deutsche Bank has been subpoenaed for records in relation to the ongoing Russia collusion investigation. This development immediately raises questions: Chiefly, what did a certain bankrupt but ambitious American real estate developer have in common with predatory Russian oligarchs who had been plundering their own country’s industry and generating vast currency flows out of their homeland since the 1990s?

Indeed, Deutsche Bank is a common thread in numerous probes of questionable financial activities — including tax evasion and money laundering — with ties to multiple oligarchs and their businesses in the US and abroad. So far the bank itself has suffered minimal consequences.

In all the flurry of media attention to the Russia collusion story, little attention has been paid to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) criminal investigation of Deutsche Bank in Manhattan.

What are the ramifications for Deutsche of this potentially explosive investigation? For Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner? For the DOJ?

A recent CNN report noted that the DOJ’s money laundering section is participating in the investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of NY (SDNY). Who at Justice is supervising and coordinating its participation with SDNY? In addition to the money laundering investigation, is there an open criminal tax investigation into Deutsche Bank’s involvement in dicey tax shelters? Is the DOJ’s own tax division involved? Further, who is running the SDNY investigation on Deutsche?

On December 22, the New York Times reported that the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of NY (EDNY) has requested records from Deutsche Bank relative to Jared Kushner and his companies. Is this investigation related to any investigations ongoing in the SDNY? Is it related to the investigation of Russian collusion in the 2016 election by special counsel Robert Mueller? Who is coordinating all of these investigations? Who will ultimately make the final decision on any prosecution? Why does it all matter? Does the fact that Deutsche Bank is currently on the hook for approximately $360 million in loans to Trump have any bearing on these questions?

We aim to examine all of these questions.

Deutsche Bank A.G. — An Introduction

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Deutsche Bank was founded in 1870 as a specialist bank for foreign trade. It is considered one of the world’s largest financial institutions, with over 20 million clients and 70,000 employees. Its founding principle dictates that “the object of the company is to transact banking business of all kinds, in particular to promote and facilitate trade relations between Germany, other European countries and overseas markets.”

The American bank formerly known as Bankers Trust was folded into Deutsche in December 1998, becoming Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas (DBTCA). As the New York Times pointed out in its article on the announcement of the takeover, there were no platitudes about a “merger of equals,” nor about the need for deference to cultural and institutional differences.”

Because of Deutsche’s actions, the bank’s elite US clients were able to report approximately $29.3 billion in bogus transactions on their tax returns. This allowed them to evade approximately $5.9 billion in individual income taxes on capital gains and ordinary income.

Deutsche Bank’s chairman, Rolf-Ernst Breuer, made clear the values and lines of authority that would shape Deutsche.

“We don’t believe in autonomy as an instrument of management and leadership, as far as it goes, we want a centralized management of the business,” Breuer told the Times.

Banking analyst Diane Glossman noted at the time that “the goals Deutsche Bank has set for itself — including an increase in per-share earnings of 10 to 15 percent by 2001 — are incredibly ambitious. … The greatest challenge for Deutsche Bank will be consolidating the cultures in a way that allows them to increase their earnings. That’s crucial, and it’s an area where Deutsche Bank has dropped the ball before.”

How prescient of Ms. Glossman!

Monetary Penalties, Toxic Mortgages, Interest Rate Manipulation, Tax Evasion

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Before we explore the relationships between Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump, let us first review some of the enforcement difficulties regulatory agencies have had in confronting Deutsche Bank in just the past decade.

In December 2016, Deutsche Bank agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement with the DOJ over the sale of defective mortgage bonds. The settlement details the awarding of toxic home loans and the deceiving of investors during the period between 2005 and 2007. Deutsche was hardly alone in this business practice, but it played a significant role in the inglorious economic recession of 2008 and 2009.
In 2015, Deutsche agreed to pay a $2.5 billion fine to international regulators and the US Department of Justice through a deferred prosecution agreement over its role in a scheme to rig the London Interbank Offered Rate. The LIBOR is used to calculate interest payments across the globe. In June 2015, an International Monetary Fund report said the bank was one of the biggest “contributors to systemic risks in the global banking system.”
In November 2015, Deutsche was fined $258 million by New York Department of Financial Services and the US Federal Reserve for violation of US sanctions relative to Burma, Libya, Sudan, Iran and Syria.
The banking giant has had to deal with accusations of dodging regulatory concerns when it was accused of violating Dodd-Frank financial reforms aimed at tracking trades of financial instruments, known as swaps. The CTFC filed a civil complaint in SDNY in April 2016 charging Deutsche with multiple swap reporting violations and related supervision failures.
Deutsche also suffered civil penalties from two Federal Reserve enforcement actions announced on April 20, 2017, totaling $156.6 million. First, the Fed asserted a $136.9 million fine for Deutsche’s unsafe and unsound practices in the foreign exchange markets. Second, it applied a $19.7 million fine for failure to maintain an adequate Volcker Rule compliance program prior to March 30, 2016.
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If all of that wasn’t enough, Deutsche has had multiple issues with regard to allegations of facilitating tax evasion. Deutsche settled one case in SDNY with US Attorney Preet Bharara regarding its involvement in questionable tax practices through their use of insolvent shell companies. This was paid off in January 2017 for $95 million. It was not Deutsche’s only issue with the IRS or SDNY, as Deutsche’s untethered pursuit of earnings in the lucrative field of tax shelters drew the government’s attention, both at the DOJ and the US Senate.

Non-Prosecution Agreement, SDNY, Basket Options, RenTec

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According to a report by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Deutsche was the subject of a series of investigations focused on its participation in abusive tax shelters from 1996 through 2002. These aided and abetted the process of evading an estimated $5.9 billion in unpaid US income taxes.

On December 21, 2010, Deutsche and Bharara executed a non-prosecution agreement related to the bank’s involvement with abusive tax shelters. This involvement included Deutsche Bank’s participation in approximately 15 tax shelters, engagement in at least 1,300 deals for over 2,100 customers, and implementation of over 2,300 financial transactions related to these shelters. Because of Deutsche’s actions, the bank’s elite US clients were able to report approximately $29.3 billion in bogus transactions on their tax returns. This allowed them to evade approximately $5.9 billion in individual income taxes on capital gains and ordinary income.

Under the non-prosecution agreement (NPA), Deutsche paid $553 million to US regulators, while Bharara agreed not to criminally prosecute the bank for participating in abusive tax shelters benefiting its clients from 1997 to 2008, provided the bank met certain requirements.

During the multiple years in which the NPA was negotiated, Deutsche apparently made no mention to its independent monitor Bart Schwartz or anyone else about the “basket options” it began selling in 2000. Basket options are a financial instrument that allows for a highly leveraged investment on the front end, but most significantly, allows the company making use of the option to treat any capital gains as a long-term capital gain, instead of a short-term capital gain, cutting the tax due roughly in half. Basket options were found to have no real economic substance to them by the IRS and also the US Senate Subcommittee for Investigation.

After a Federal Reserve examination identified concerns in 2012, Deutsche, at the insistence of the Fed, brought the questionable product to the attention of the US Attorney in SDNY in August 2012, and engaged in several follow-up discussions and meetings. Aside from these contacts, the Senate Subcommittee was unaware of what, if any, actions were taken by the US Attorney’s office in SDNY as of July 22, 2014, while the NPA was still in effect.

The Mercers — American Oligarchs

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Renaissance Technology is a well-known hedge fund. Its co-CEO, Robert Mercer, is an American oligarch who contributed over $20 million to Republican candidates and PACs during the 2016 election campaign. Between 2000 and 2012, RenTec purchased 29 basket options with a notional value of $46 billion and profits totaling $15.9 billion.

Deutsche Bank risk management executive William Broeksmit expressed his anxiety about the massive risk the bank was taking on relative to the basket options, known internally as “MAPs.” In August 2009, he sent an email to Anshu Jain, a leading executive at Deutsche Bank (along with a cc to Satish Ramakrishna, the Global Head of Risk and Pricing for Global Prime Finance at Deutsche Bank Securities in New York). This email effectively demonstrated that hedge funds, such as RenTec, got paid through a tricked-up basket option offered by the bank that magically turned millions of short-term trades into long-term capital gains, saving the hedge fund approximately half the rate of taxes owed on the short-term trades, some of which lasted only minutes.

The email, as well as other materials obtained from Deutsche Bank, were turned over to the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, headed up at the time by Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.). These documents demonstrate knowledge, early on, of the shaky nature of the basket options Deutsche Bank was promoting at the highest levels of executive management.

In 2010, the IRS issued its Generic Legal Advice Memo (GLAM), advising that basket options were not true options and could not be used to treat short-term trading profits as long-term capital gains. Two years later, the IRS sent a 60-day letter to RenTec notifying it of the intended disallowance of the RenTec basket option long-term capital gain treatment on its tax returns. RenTec protested, and as of July 2014, the position by the IRS Office of Appeals remains pending. Recent media articles referenced the likely RenTec tax liability at issue to be in the neighborhood of $7 billion.

“Deutsche Bank was structurally designed by management to allow corrupt individuals to commit fraud.”

The Senate subcommittee report noted that, although Deutsche established proprietary accounts for the basket options, those accounts actually functioned as if they were RenTec’s own prime brokerage accounts, with RenTec acting in the role of trader rather than option holder. The facts show that RenTec had active and total control over the trading strategy and execution. Senator Levin characterized basket options in June 2014, as “let’s pretend” options, since they had no tangible economic purpose.

Before Senator Levin’s issuance of his conclusion, his committee took testimony in 2013 from independent monitor Bart Schwartz. He was brought in to SDNY to monitor Deutsche Bank’s compliance with the non-prosecution agreement concerning the bank’s commitment to avoid sales of any pre-packaged tax shelter products. Schwartz testified that he was unaware of Deutsche’s promotion of basket options, which would have come under his purview as independent monitor. The promotion of basket options by Deutsche Bank was clearly an intentional violation of that 2010 deal with the SDNY.

The non-prosecution agreement required Deutsche Bank’s continued cooperation with the Department of Justice in its tax shelter prosecution. The NPA also banned Deutsche’s involvement with any pre-packaged tax products, which were the type of tax shelters that led to the criminal proceedings. Under the terms, the government was also authorized to prosecute the bank for any violation of the NPA.

Risk management exec Broeksmit committed suicide in January 2014, according to the London coroner. Broeksmit’s son, Val, characterized his father’s death as “suicide by extortion.” A personal doctor’s report read at the inquest indicated he had been “anxious” about ongoing investigations of the bank. The day after Broeksmit’s body was discovered, Eric Ben-Artzi, who is referenced elsewhere in this article, spoke at Auburn University. Ben-Artzi is a former risk analyst turned whistleblower at Deutsche Bank. He alleged that Deutsche Bank, with the knowledge of senior executives, had hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis. Ben-Artzi said the bank had effectively invented assets and hid losses.

Renaissance Technologies, SDNY
Renaissance Technologies LLC is a New York-based American hedge fund that trades on financial markets. The Southern District of New York is located in the Thurgood Marshall United States Courthouse in lower Manhattan (right). Photo credit: Robin Oldfield / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) and Eden, Janine and Jim / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The IRS will not disclose the audit results nor appeal results of RenTec. The SDNY has not responded to queries relative to whether or not criminal prosecution of Deutsche was ever contemplated over the bank’s evident violation of the NPA it entered into in 2010.

It is noted here that no permanent US Attorney has been appointed in SDNY since Preet Bharara was terminated in early March, 2017, when all other US Attorneys across the country that had been appointed by President Obama were asked to resign. According to a New York Times article, Bharara’s job appeared to be secure. He had met with President-elect Trump, Kushner and Bannon at Trump Tower in November, 2016, when it was widely reported that Bharara had been asked to stay on by the President-elect. Bharara was then fired after he refused to resign. It should be noted that Geoffrey Berman was appointed Interim US Attorney for the SDNY on January 3, 2018. Berman, who was a partner at the same firm that employed Rudy Giuliani, was selected after President Trump, in a clear violation of precedent and protocol, personally interviewed Berman — raising the question of DOJ independence.

It is also noted that the term of the IRS Commissioner at the time ended November 12, 2017. David Kautter was appointed Acting IRS Commissioner at this time. Kautter retained his political policy position as Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy when assuming his new position, which raised conflict of interest questions from some.

Several senators questioned Kautter closely at his confirmation hearing as to whether he was involved in a tax shelter scandal when he worked at global accounting services firm Ernst & Young around the turn of the century. The scandal concerned a team of employees at Ernst & Young who developed and sold tax products that allowed wealthy individuals to avoid $2 billion in taxes. The story ended with four people in jail and Ernst & Young paying the IRS $123 million in a settlement that allowed them to avoid criminal prosecution. The “team” began its work in 1998, and, in 2000, Kautter became the head of US national tax services at the company. He went on to say that, following his participation in the Senate investigation into the team’s actions, the group “greatly abused the trust that the firm had placed in them. Looking back, I should have been more active.”

How active will Mr. Kautter be in reviewing RenTec’s $7 billion tax shelter bill on appeal before the IRS?

It should be noted here that Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin, who supervises both the IRS and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, was an investor in at least two Trump properties when he ran Dune Capital prior to the election.

With that in mind, it’s important to know who will be the new permanent IRS Commissioner. Who will select him? Will he or she aggressively pursue the flagrant multibillion dollar tax deficiency generated by RenTec and Deutsche Bank? Will the new US Attorney in SDNY reopen the non-prosecution agreement on Deutsche Bank over its sale of bogus tax shelters?

While the hundreds of millions of dollars in civil fines and penalties issued against Deutsche Bank make for nice headlines, no criminal prosecution has been brought by any of the countries affected by this nefarious $10 billion scheme.

The civil sanctions against Deutsche (several of which occurred in the SDNY), demonstrate a pronounced, aggressive attitude by Deutsche over its institutional risk management and compliance programs, as well as a distinct disdain for regulatory restraints that may threaten the bank’s earnings objectives. Accountability for individual executives has clearly been missing in action.

The German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported in November 2016 that the bank was looking to reclaim tens of millions of Euros in bonuses from its three most recent CEOs — Josef Ackerman, who ran the bank from 2002-2012, and his successors, Anshu Jain and Jurgen Fitschen.

Money Laundering

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The Federal Reserve Board announced on May 30, 2017, that a $41 million penalty and consent cease and desist order was asserted against Deutsche Bank to address unsafe and unsound practices in the firm’s domestic banking operations. The board identified failures by Deutsche’s US banking operations to maintain an effective program to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money-laundering laws.

The consent order requires Deutsche to improve its senior management oversight and controls related to compliance with anti-money-laundering laws. This innocuous statement covers some of the same activities and period of time as does the record-breaking penalties asserted by the New York State Department of Financial Services and the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority. The lack of management oversight appears to be a theme when looked at in the context of the delineated litany of civil fines and penalties.

On January 30, 2017, DFS Superintendent Maria T. Vullo announced that Deutsche Bank AG and its New York branch were to pay a $425 million fine for violation of New York anti-money-laundering laws. These involved a “mirror trading” scheme among the bank’s Moscow, London and New York offices that laundered $10 billion out of Russia. The DFS’s investigation found that the bank missed numerous opportunities to detect, investigate and stop the scheme due to extensive compliance failures, allowing the scheme to continue for years. The DFS report went on to state that the Russian scheme “highlights what has been a pervasive culture at Deutsche of skirting regulations to pad profits and personal bonuses.”

At the same time, Britain’s FCA announced fines of $204 million in civil penalties against Deutsche Bank. It represented the largest financial penalty ever asserted by the FCA for failings of anti-money-laundering controls. In a damning report, it said Deutsche had failed to have proper controls to stop customers transferring billions from Russia to offshore bank accounts “in a manner that is highly suggestive of financial crime.”

“Deutsche had been unable to determine who many of its customers were, citing missing identification documents, lack of information about corporate ownership and poorly understood foreign-language paperwork,” the report said.

The above description of the mirror trades that occurred in Moscow represents the next step in the evolution of Russia-based money laundering techniques. Deutsche Bank is listed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in its research into the top 50 global banks involved in activities described in their article as part of the “Russian Laundromat.”

Russian Laundromat

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OCCRP explained that this money laundering technique starts with transactions involving two companies, one of them based in the UK. “The companies sign a bogus contract in which one agrees to lend the other large sums, although no money ever actually changes hands. It is likely that both companies are owned by the same owner but that ownership is hidden behind ‘proxy’ figures.”

One example cited by OCCRP concerns a UK-registered company owned by murky Belize-registered shareholders, with sums of $100m-800m in each transaction. “The contracts in each case stipulated that the debt was guaranteed by companies in the Russian Federation, almost always run by a Moldovan citizen. This Moldovan gave the operation access to the courts in Moldova, which would ultimately permit the movement of the dirty money into the legitimate banking system,” the report said.

Typically, intermediary banks would be used to transfer the money to a friendly bank in a European Union country such as Latvia, also known as “the Switzerland of Eastern Europe.” And once it is in Latvia, voila! It is in the European Union, backed by a court order and clean and ready to use,” the OCCRP said. Typically, once the money has moved into the EU it will continue on to larger banks such as Deutsche and move offshore to such havens as Belize, BVI, Cyprus and the Seychelles. Commercial Bank of San Francisco and Bank of New York were tied into this scheme at one point, and some notable individuals associated with those banks include Bruce Rappaport and Peter Berlin at BNY, Boris Avramovich Goldstein and Irakaly “Ike” Kaveladze with Commercial Bank of SF. Senator Levin referred to “Ike” as a “poster boy for money laundering.”

Mirror Trades

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The scheme’s intent was to facilitate the transfer of over $10 billion out of Russia for wealthy Russian clients. They did this with mirror trades (Russians use the term “konvert” when employing this scheme) carried out between 2011 and 2015. These trades allowed for the buying of Russian stocks in rubles for a client generally located in the Moscow area, and the near simultaneous selling of the identical value of a security for US dollars for a related customer located in London. DFS outlined a web of trades converting rubles into dollars through security trades that had “no economic purpose.” The players involved in these deals stretched from Moscow, London and New York to Cyprus and the British Virgin Islands.

The Department of Financial Services found that Deutsche’s Moscow traders facilitated the scheme, with most of the trades placed by a single trader representing both sides of the transaction. Traders did not question the suspicious trades because it made for easy commissions. The counterparties involved were closely related, and the trades were routinely cleared through Deutsche Bank. The selling counterparty was usually registered offshore and would be paid for its shares in US dollars.

The practical effect of these large-scale mirror trades was to physically move a large volume of money out of Russia and away from predator plutocrats and regulatory entities, most significantly Russian tax authorities. Deutsche Bank played a key role in physically moving Russian money out of Russia to the UK, and facilitating Russian tax evasion in the process.

“I have a billion ruble today. … Will you be able to find a security for this size?” the DFS report cited one party to a deal as telling a Deutsche Bank trader in Moscow. The scheme centered on 12 Moscow brokers in Deutsche’s Moscow branch who hatched the plan for their wealthy Russian customers, essentially converting Russian currency into dollars.

Many of these dollar-based mirror transactions flowed through the office of Deutsche’s New York bank. This provided SDNY an avenue for the money laundering inquiry. More than $10 billion in laundered money was directed toward London and New York from Moscow, investigators found. DFS discovered that the Deutsche executives in Moscow had plenty of opportunities to crack down on the scheme, but did not. The department emphasized that Deutsche’s “Know Your Customer” screens, a crucial cog in its compliance department that analyzes the identity and intent of a prospective client, failed on numerous occasions.

Corrupt Surfer Dude May Be Easy Bait

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Who was the Deutsche supervisor who allowed $10 billion of “konvert” to go through? An article in the New Yorker identifies Tim Wiswell, an American citizen, as the supervisor on the Moscow equities desk of Deutsche where the suspicious trades were made. According to the piece, Wiswell took millions in bribes to facilitate the scheme. Or, as DFS put it, one supervisor in the Moscow office of Deutsche Bank was paid $3.8 million for “consulting agreements” by the companies behind the trades. It further notes that Wiswell was last thought to be with his family in Indonesia, where no extradition treaty with US exists. He is apparently involved with TakeOff, a surf school run by Russians near Bali.

It is possible that a vigorous US Justice Department prosecutor might extend a deal to Mr. Wiswell that includes a plea to lesser criminal tax charges in exchange for his testimony against Deutsche executives and their likely Russian oligarch clients. Such a deal would allow Wiswell and his family to return to the US and face perhaps limited prison time. It also might allow US federal prosecutors to obtain direct testimony on any possible role by Deutsche executives, up to, and possibly including, such heavyweights as past CEO Josef Ackerman.

Should prosecutors be so fortunate to move up the food chain, what bigger fish could this bait reel in?

One potential target might be Igor Putin, believed to be related to Vladimir Putin as a second cousin. Igor served on the Board of Directors of Promsberbank, which the Central Bank of Russia characterized as being a “key conduit for mirror trades,” according to a recent Bloomberg article.

The Offshore Leaks Database of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reveals some interesting links connecting Igor Putin to a British Virgin Island shell company called Parlomedia Corporation. (The Panama Papers are associated with the work of the ICIJ.) The database also documents Deutsche Bank’s links to more than 1,000 offshore accounts.

Project Square

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Deutsche was so concerned about the breakdown of internal controls surrounding the mysterious mirror trades that its brass directed a full internal inquiry called Project Square. Initiated in February 2015, the inquiry was headed by the chairman of Deutsche’s supervisory board and partner at Shearman & Sterling, Georg Thoma. Thoma aggressively tracked and reported on over 2,000 questionable transactions emanating from the bank’s Moscow office. Deutsche executives cut his query short, however, and forced his resignation on May 28, 2016, a full two years before his contract was scheduled to end.

Various media reports, including a Bloomberg article, noted that Thoma was left isolated after pushing to investigate Chairman Paul Achleitner and mounting intensive inquiries into Deutsche Bank executives, people familiar with the investigation have said. Deputy Chairman Alfred Herling criticized Thoma for being “overzealous” and spending too much in probing potential wrongdoing. People familiar with the investigation observed that friction arose over Thoma’s interest in examining potential links between individual board members and legal cases starting in 2014. Did Thoma get too close? Could premature closure of a productive and revealing internal query provide evidence of executive misconduct, concealment of financial crimes and potential willful blindness of AML controls? Considering suppression of the above may have misled investors, were securities violations at play?

Whistleblower, Eric Ben-Artzi, a past Deutsche Bank employee, was quoted by Ed Caesar in an August 2016 New Yorker article that “there was a cultural criminality” at Deutsche. Ben-Artzi went on to say that “Deutsche Bank was structurally designed by management to allow corrupt individuals to commit fraud.”

While the hundreds of millions of dollars in civil fines and penalties issued against Deutsche Bank make for nice headlines, no criminal prosecution has been brought by any of the countries affected by this nefarious $10 billion scheme. Therefore, no deterrence with any bite has emerged that might truly inhibit Deutsche executives or executives of other major banks. The lack of corporate liability laws in Germany suggest that no criminal prosecution will ever be brought against executive management headquartered in Frankfurt.

Harken back to Deutsche chairman Rolf-Ernst Breuer’s quote: “We don’t believe in autonomy as an instrument of management and leadership, as far as it goes, we want a centralized management of the business.”

A $10 billion money-laundering scheme was not run by some rogue cowboy (or surfer dude), but directed by centralized management with little regard to criminal liability. Furthermore, an aggressive internal inquiry was suppressed before executive responsibility could be determined. There have been some passing references in the media to an open criminal investigation by DOJ and the SDNY into the “mirror trading” schemes of Deutsche, but DOJ has refused comment. This lack of comment and activity has not sat well with everyone.

In the next installment, we’ll examine how Deutsche Bank’s brazen activities got on the radar of Congressional oversight committees. We’ll also take a look at Donald Trump’s association with the bank since 1998.

To be continued…
https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/01/08/deuts ... an-part-1/
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:37 am

DEUTSCHE BANK: A GLOBAL BANK FOR OLIGARCHS — AMERICAN & RUSSIAN, PART 2

Editor’s Note: Part II of this in-depth, technical piece by a former IRS investigator raises more questions than it answers. But WhoWhatWhy believes this is a very useful service, particularly in relation to a complex topic of considerable public import — one that may be a key component for special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. We hope in the coming weeks to explore many more of these questions in greater depth. And we welcome reader comments.

Martin J. Sheil is a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division.

See Part I here.

On March 10, 2017, US Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the ranking Democratic member on the House Committee on Financial Service, wrote a letter to US Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the committee’s Republican chairman. In it, she requested that the committee conduct a formal assessment of the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into Deutsche Bank’s Russian money laundering schemes.

This assessment would include a review of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s role in continuing the investigation. It would also involve determining the nature of Russian money laundering, including who participated in the arrangement, and whether violations of US law — beyond failure to maintain anti-money-laundering (AML) controls — may have occurred.

Waters made note of the various civil fines issued against Deutsche (covered in Part I). She called attention to the media reports that indicate the DOJ is investigating the matter, but then went on to express concern with the “integrity of this criminal probe and whether senior bank officials will be held accountable given the president’s ongoing conflicts of interest with Deutsche Bank.”

The letter further goes on to note that “the suspicious ties between President (Donald) Trump’s inner circle and the Russian government … raise concerns that the Department may fail to implicate those who benefitted from Deutsche Bank’s trading scheme.”

Waters’s letter also reminds the chairman of Trump and his companies’ estimated $360 million in outstanding loans from Deutsche Bank. It raises the question of whether the president’s conflict of interest with Deutsche bank will undermine the independence and impartiality of the DOJ’s ongoing investigation and diminish the likelihood that Deutsche Bank and its senior leadership will be brought to justice.

Jeb Hensarling, Maxine Waters
US Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) (left). US Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) (right). Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and US House of Representatives.

Rep. Hensarling has not moved forward on Rep. Waters’s request. Nor has he granted requests to provide the committee with Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) financial documents relative to Donald Trump.

Does Waters have a point? Does Donald Trump have a conflict of interest with Deutsche Bank with regard to any potential criminal investigation brought by the DOJ?

Enter Donald Trump, Real Estate Developer
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Donald Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank began in 1998 when he negotiated, and received, a loan for $125 million for construction of the Trump skyscraper located at 40 Wall St. At this point in his rocky financial history, six separate corporate bankruptcies related to Trump had been declared, and no other financial institution would grant the brash real estate mogul any credit. Deutsche took over Bankers Trust in 1998 and the only way to meet its ambitious earnings goals was to be aggressive under its new management. Still, Trump had to be grateful to his new lender. Through the years, he sought more loans from Deutsche.

It should be noted that Trump sued Deutsche Bank in 2008 when it called in a big loan that Trump had personally guaranteed to the tune of $40 million. Ultimately, they settled and the relationship continued. As the New York Times pointed out in an article, “Mr. Trump’s business has made the bank money.” Not long after the nastiness of the 2008 countersuits, Trump’s business with Deutsche moved from the bank’s commercial real estate lending division to its private wealth division, where executives were more willing to deal with him.

Trump’s wealth manager at Deutsche, Rosemary Vrablic, specializes in real estate and is close enough to Trump and his family — both Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are clients — that she was invited to attend the inauguration last year. In the past six years, the Deutsche Bank private wealth unit helped finance three of Trump’s properties, including a golf resort near Miami (Doral), a new hotel in Washington DC and Trump Tower in Chicago, all of which include personal guarantees by Trump. He and his organization currently owe Deutsche Bank over $300 million.

Trump Building, 40 Wall Street, Trump National Doral Miami, Trump Tower Chicago
40 Wall Street also known as the Trump Building in Manhattan (top left). Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC (top right). Trump National Doral Miami golf resort in Florida (bottom left). Trump Tower Chicago (bottom right). Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from wyliepoon / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0), Daniel Huizinga / Flickr (CC BY 2.0), slgckgc / Flickr (CC BY 2.0), and Kyle / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) .

Trump’s 2017 Financial Disclosure form reflected two Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management accounts. Management A/C 1 is a brokerage account that lists 71 assets (stocks) and Management A/C 2 is a bond account that lists 44 separate assets or bonds managed by Deutsche for Trump. The value of these assets is difficult to ascertain since they are only listed in a range, but a conservative estimate would be a minimum of $100,000, and a maximum of $10 million. This form does not address any possible use of tax shelters, nor does it indicate the ownership and/or use of any offshore bank accounts. Income tax returns would be required to determine the above — and the president has refused to disclose any tax returns to date.

The form also does not educate the reader as to whether any of the massive loans provided to Trump by Deutsche have been sold or transferred to another financial institution, e.g. Vneshekonombank (VEB), as rumored in media reports in early December, 2017. Trump’s Disclosure form for the year 2017 may shed light on this question. This form will likely be filed in the next month or so.

Favored Russian Oligarchs & Banks
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Deutsche Bank was not just getting aggressive in the US in the first part of the new century. It was also becoming one of the largest foreign lenders in the world, including to companies and individuals located in Russia. For example, Deutsche was easily the biggest Western lender to the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014. Besides the Olympics, Deutsche extended financing to some of the biggest companies in Russia, usually involving the energy sector. A 2014 CNNMoney article noted that the second largest hedge fund in the United States, Renaissance Technology (referenced in Part I), was “doubling down” in Russia, betting that tension between Ukraine and Russia regarding Crimea wouldn’t escalate to dangerous levels.

One favored recipient of Deutsche largesse was a giant telecommunications company called VimpelCom (VIP), recently rebranded as VEON. It is listed on the NYSE and remains one of the most valuable parts of the Alfa Group, an investment company whose principal partner is billionaire Mikhail M. Fridman, a known associate of Vladimir Putin. Robert Mercer’s RenTec purchased 866,100 shares of VIP, in a class of stocks known as Sponsored American Depository Receipts (ADR), according to a report dated Oct. 2, 2016. Headquartered in Amsterdam, VEON is the sixth-largest mobile network operator in the world with 214 million subscribers.

VIP agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice on February 22, 2016. This case, prosecuted in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) under the direction of Preet Bharara and Andrew Weissman, centered on $114 million in bribes paid by VIP to government officials in Uzbekistan in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). It has been characterized as the largest case ever brought under the DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative. Justice filed asset forfeiture motions in this case totaling $850 million — $300 million in property and $550 million in Swiss bank accounts.

Mikhail M. Fridman, Preet Bharara
Russian businessman Mikhail M. Fridman (left). Former US Attorney Preet Bharara (right). Photo credit: LetterOne Group / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) and Buck Ennis / DOJ

The Alfa Group had a correspondent bank relationship with a small bank called Krainiy Sever, which has been linked to the Prevezon forfeiture case by SDNY. This involved the laundering of the so-called Magnitsky funds associated with Hermitage and Bill Browder.

The well-known Steele dossier makes mention of Mikhail Fridman. It also identifies Oleg Govorun as a former employee of Alfa. Govorun was described by the dossier, in an unverified observation, as a “key intermediary” in the Putin-Alfa relationship. The dossier goes on to make unconfirmed allegations that Govorun delivered illicit cash directly to Putin throughout the 1990s while Govorun was an Alfa executive. Finally, the Steele dossier goes on to describe Govorun as a “driver” and “bag carrier” used by Fridman and Pyotr Aven (another Alfa exec) to deliver large amounts of illicit cash to Putin in the early 90s, who was at that time the Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg.

Fridman, besides being one of the richest individuals in the world and a close associate of Putin, has a son and daughter — both of whom have attended Yale University. Fridman has visited the White House twice, once in May 2010 and again in May 2011. Each time, he was accompanied by well-known Washington DC lobbyist Richard Burt. In 2012, Fridman formed a $1 billion real estate partnership with New York magnate Jack Rosen for the announced purpose of investing in distressed properties along the US East Coast. Rosen is head of the American Jewish Congress.

In 2008, many Russian companies and oligarchs suffered enormously from the effects of the worldwide financial recession, particularly those who were overleveraged. According to a 2008 New York Times article, companies belonging to two of Russia’s richest men were among the first recipients of a $50 billion bailout program channeled through the state development bank Vneshekonombank (VEB), intended to repay a syndicate of Western banks. VEB’s chairman at the time was Vladimir Putin.

The largest loan to come to light at the time was $4.5 billion to Rusal, an aluminum and mining company owned and run by billionaire Oleg V. Deripaska — reputedly Russia’s richest man at the time, and a long-time business associate of Paul Manafort. Manafort became campaign chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign, and was later indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. It is noted that some $30 million of Manafort transactions with Deutsche Bank are reportedly under scrutiny by Mueller’s team.

In terms of Deutsche, Deripaska was compelled to refinance his holding in an Austrian construction company called Strabag, with a $500 million loan from an Austrian bank to stave off a possible seizure of the stake by his creditor, Deutsche Bank.

Oleg Deripaska
Russian businessman Oleg V. Deripaska. Photo credit: World Economic Forum / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Separately, Fridman, the principal partner in Alfa Group, was granted a $2 billion letter of credit from VEB, which ultimately prevented Deutsche Bank from attempting to seize a 44 percent stake in VimpelCom.

It should be noted, and will be referenced again in Part III, that Deutsche and VEB developed a “cooperation agreement,” something that can certainly come in handy when dealing with oligarchs. VEB has developed correspondent banking relationships with over 500 banks globally.

VTB Bank Connects
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The New York Times noted that Deutsche Bank had ties to VTB, at the time the second-largest bank in Russia — a nation facing sanctions from both the US and the EU. In 2005, VTB signed a cooperation agreement with the Central Bank of Syria, wherein President Assad maintains significant capital.

VTB’s investment banking arm, VTB Capital, was created by hiring dozens of bankers from Deutsche Bank’s Moscow office — the same office responsible for “the mirror trades” referenced in Part I and central to the ongoing DOJ money laundering investigation.

According to an article by the Guardian, Deutsche’s Moscow branch hired Andrei Kostyn in 2006. He was the son of Andrey Kostyn, head of VTB — Russia’s state bank. Kostyn Jr. generated much of the bank’s Moscow profits until his death in a 2011 snowmobile crash.

When Project Square, the Deutsche internal audit relative to the mirror trades, uncovered thousands of questionable transactions emanating from its Moscow office, an executive decision was made in 2015 to close down the bulk of the Moscow office and transfer some of its business activity to VTB.

Deutsche Bank conducted the first-ever IPO of a Russian bank when it carried out the VTB public offering in London in 2007. CEO Josef Ackerman has proudly noted that Deutsche was a major market maker for VTB. Executives at Deutsche did not deny that a good relationship with Anatoliy Chubais — architect of privatization and minister in Boris Yeltsin’s cabinet — played a role in this successful partnership.

Deutsche Bank, VTB Bank
Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt (left). VTB headquarters is located in Federation West Tower in Moscow (right). Photo credit: pizentrum / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) and Igor3188 / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Yuri Soloviev was the first deputy chairman of the Russian subsidiary of Deutsche Bank in 2008, when he was recruited by Andrey Kostin to become a first deputy president and chairman of the management board of VTB. The Panama Papers have traced Soloviev as being an officer of an offshore company registered in the British Virgin Islands called Quillas Equities. It is an intermediary of another offshore shell company called Ryon Ltd., which is further associated with an additional 305 shell companies located in Panama, Seychelles and Switzerland.

Cyprus Connects
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VTB is the only Russian bank to have a licensed subsidiary in Cyprus — Russian Commercial Bank (RCB). Russian money in Cyprus, according to an article in the Cyprus Mail, is split into two categories: that belonging to the Russian government and the ruling elite of the country (which was primarily kept at RCB), and that of the plutocrats, who had taken it out of the country so that the regime could not get its hands on it.

A Financial Times article reported that the Panama Papers showed Sergei Roldugin, a cellist and long-time friend of Putin, presided over a $2 billion offshore network, much of which went through VTB. The bank denied the report’s key allegation that RCB gave Sandalwood Continental, a company tied to Roldugin, more than $800 million in unsecured loans and sweetheart deals on interest payment swaps from 2008 to 2013.

Ergoinvest
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Bloomberg News noted in October 2015 that some portion of the $10 billion in mirror trades manipulated by Deutsche’s Moscow office involved monies associated with Putin associates and childhood friends Arkady and Boris Rotenberg.

The Rotenberg brothers are known to have a long association with Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who in turn has long-time ties to Paul Manafort. Firtash is a member of the board of directors of Strategic Communications Laboratory Group (SCL Holding company), parent to Cambridge Analytica — in which Robert Mercer is a major investor. Perhaps it was merely coincidence that Firtash became a member of the SCL board while wealthy British real estate magnate Victor Tchenguiz became majority shareholder of SCL. Apparently the authorities did not believe Tchenguiz’s association with the now-defunct Icelandic bank Haupthings was a coincidence, but that is another story for another time.

It should also be noted that disgraced former NSA director Mike Flynn was a paid consultant to SCL during 2016. Also, the Wall Street Journal published an article on Dec. 15, 2017, reporting that Special Counsel Mueller has requested Deutsche Bank gather all information regarding any Flynn transactions through Deutsche.

Dmytro Firtash, Paul Manafort
Dmytro Firtash (left) and Paul Manafort (right). Photo credit: Youtube CC-BY / Wikimedia (CC BY 3.0) and C-SPAN

Sometime in 2014, Hellenic Bank authorities in Cyprus began forwarding inquiries to Deutsche Bank with regard to unusual financial transactions involving an entity called Ergoinvest LLP. Even Russian bank authorities started reviewing Ergoinvest transactions, finding them unusual. Ergoinvest LLP was found to be owned by shadowy companies registered in the island of Dominica, according to the UK registry. The Panama Papers reveal Ergoinvest LLP to be a BVI-registered company administered in Cyprus. Ergoinvest LLP is tied to a company in Cyprus called Manwin Business Consultants — also called Manwin Management — which is run by a Constantinos Koudellaris. The Panama Papers associate 86 separate business entities with Manwin and another 38 business entities with Koudellaris. Manwin’s business address is Office 103, 124 Strovolos Ave., 2042 Nicosia, Cyprus.

Ergoinvest LLP shut down after media reports surfaced associating it with the Deutsche Bank mirror trades. Four months later Ergoinvest LP was born as an English company with two anonymous partners domiciled in the Marshall Islands called Dexberg Inc. and Montbridge Inc. which in turn control 150 Scottish Limited Partners (SLPs) registered and addressed in Glascow’s West End and south side. Dexberg is the general partner for another SLP called Fortline Industrial. But this Dexberg appears to be registered in Dominica, according to its stamp.

The Panama Papers and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists database do track an association between Ergoinvest LP and Montbridge Inc. They also document an association between Ergoinvest LP and an entity called Cascado AG, which has an association with International Offshore Services Group located in Dublin, Ireland. Cascado is also associated with another 149 entities (shell corporations) all located at 50th St., Global Plaza Tower, 19th Floor, Suite 11, Panama City, Republic of Panama.

That must be a large suite!

Josef Ackerman, CEO of Deutsche Bank from 2002 to 2012, was elected chairman of the board for the Bank of Cyprus (BOC) in November 2014. This occurred following a proposal by the major shareholder of BOC, Wilbur Ross — currently Secretary of Commerce under President Trump. Ross was vice chairman at the time, sharing the duties with Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, who is referred to in Russian media as a former KGB officer and Putin ally.

The second-largest shareholder of BOC at this time was Viktor Vekselberg, another Russian oligarch and head of a large Russian conglomerate called Renova Corp. Josef Ackerman is on the board of Renova. Vekselberg served on the board of directors of Rosneft and is considered close with Vladimir Putin. Further, Vekselberg is business partners with a Russian oligarch with American citizenship named Len Blavatnik, as well as with Mikhail Fridman — referenced above — in a large Russian conglomerate called AAR. Vekselberg sold his Aluminum company to Oleg Deripaska, who turned it into Rusal, a major Russian conglomerate referenced earlier.

Bank of Cyprus (BOC) is a bank notorious for money laundering and was referenced by FinCEN to the US Senate Intelligence committee, with regard to Paul Manafort’s financial transactions with Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Media reports have associated Manafort with 15 separate BOC accounts. The bulk of these accounts were reportedly opened at the Cyprus Popular Bank, which was ultimately taken over by the BOC. The bank now claims that it has no accounts associated with Manafort.

This is indicative of the failure of anti-money-laundering controls in the banking systems of Russia, the UK, Israel, Cyprus and much of the EU, until recently.
Ackerman acknowledged in a June 2016 interview, “Money laundering has been the business model of Cyprus, and it is a difficult struggle.”

This article notes the above association between Wilbur Ross and Josef Ackerman, but it should be noted that Ackerman also had close ties with Russia. Ackerman served on Russia’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council and its “consultative committee” to form an “International Financial Center” in Moscow. He also strongly endorsed Putin’s idea of a “free trade zone” between Russia and the EU. Putin addressed this committee and Ackerman at a meeting held in Moscow in September 2011.

“Deutsche Bank is our long-standing partner and has been working in Russia since 1881 … It would take ages to describe everything that Deutsche Bank is doing in Russia,” Putin said at the time.

Finally, another large shareholder of the BOC is Dmitry Rybolovlev — the Russian plutocrat best known for buying Donald Trump’s Palm Beach mansion in 2008 for $95 million, after Trump had bought it in 2005 for $41 million. This tidy markup over fair market value of at least $40 million occurred in 2008, shortly before Trump entered into a nasty legal dispute with Deutsche over financing for Trump Tower Chicago, wherein Trump ended up losing his $40 million equity stake. Rybolovlev was also noted in the media as an associate of Robert Mercer — co-CEO of the highly profitable Hedge Fund Renaissance Technology (RenTec) and major political contributor to Trump, and Republican candidates and PACs, in the 2016 elections.

RenTec was closely associated with Deutsche’s promotion of dubious tax shelters called “basket options,” to radically reduce RenTec’s tax exposure, landing it in hot water with the IRS. RenTec was directed by Robert Mercer, who became a major investor in Cambridge Analytica — a data gathering firm which employed Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, two of Trump’s most trusted campaign advocates. Rybolovlev’s yacht was documented parked next to Mercer’s during the campaign. Rybolovlev’s jet was also noted as arriving within hours of Trump’s during the campaign at airports in Concord, NC, and Las Vegas.

Dmitry Rybolovlev is referenced in the Panama Papers as having an active offshore package of accounts and shell companies, in addition to his equity interest in Bank of Cyprus. These interests can be charted as such:

Dmitry Rybolovlev, Virgin Islands
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Francknataf / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) and CIA.

In 2015, Bank of Cyprus announced it was off-loading the BOC’s Russian business, including loan exposures, to Artem Avetisyan for 7 million euros. The core assets had been purchased just seven years prior in 2008, for 450 million euros. Deutsche Bank’s London office advised BOC on this curious deal. Avetisyan was a 40-year-old head of the “New Business” division of the autonomous non-commercial organization, “Agency of Strategic Initiatives,” originally established by Vladimir Putin.

Finally, the Democratic Coalition uncovered two Trump companies registered in Cyprus: Trump Construction Co Limited and UA Trump International Investments Ltd.

Trump’s 2017 financial disclosure form does not make mention of the above companies. We can conclude that either these companies were inactive and/or insolvent, or they were omitted. If they were active, then they should have been reported both on the disclosure form, and on Trump’s 2016 personal income tax return.

If Trump actively used Cypriot banks to support these companies, then Foreign Bank Account Records (FBARs) would have had to have been filled out and forwarded to FinCEN, and the foreign bank account activity would be required to be reported to IRS on Schedule B of the filed income tax returns. Form 8938 Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets should also have been filed with the Form 1040 with the IRS if in fact Trump held foreign bank accounts with substantial balances.

These are all questions for a Deutsche Bank wealth manager to answer should a prosecutor be motivated to ask them.

Recent media reports note that FBME, formerly known as the Federal Bank of the Middle East, had access to the US financial system through correspondent accounts at banks, including Deutsche Bank’s US unit. FBME was based in Tanzania, but conducted 90 percent of its business in Cyprus. The Treasury Department said that FBME was able to run nearly $390 million in suspicious transactions through correspondent banks during a one-year period in 2013 and 2014. Further, the transactions exhibited “high-risk money laundering typologies.”

The above media reports suggest FBME provided money-laundering services for Friends of Putin (FOP), Syrian-associated arms dealers and Russian organized crime. Further reports have noted a confidential report written by the Central Bank of Cyprus that documents 23 separate accounts maintained at FBME, by Russian oligarch and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Another FOP maintaining FBME accounts is Aleksandr Shiskin — a member of Putin’s United Russia party and a former member of the Russia Senate Security and Defense Committee.

FinCEN shut down FBME in 2015. A Deutsche Bank spokesman advised Bloomberg that “we severed our relationship with FBME in 2014.”

FBME has also been associated with the laundering of some portion of the so-called Magnitsky funds associated with Hermitage Capital and Bill Browder. This is significant since the Magnitsky money-laundering activities are emblematic of the problem that money laundering has presented to Russian authorities since the fall of the Berlin wall. This is indicative of the failure of anti-money-laundering controls in the banking systems of Russia, the UK, Israel, Cyprus and much of the EU, until recently.

The Magnitsky money laundering modus operandi used by various Russian oligarchs, with some variations, can be summarized as follows:

Transfer illicit funds multiple times among multiple Russian banks, concealing the original source of funds through the use of shell companies;
Move funds into a larger Russian bank in order to again move to banks in Moldova or Latvia;
Move funds into shell accounts in the UK, Cyprus, Israel and Switzerland;
Move funds offshore to the British Virgin Islands, Belize, Seychelles — then back again, in different shell company accounts;
Purchase luxury yachts and ownership interests in professional soccer, hockey and/or basketball teams;
Invest funds through shell companies into commercial real estate and/or luxury residences in UK and the US.
While there are many variations on the above-noted model, one common thread is the use of friendly banks to move money, in a discreet fashion, to different parts of the world, for a fee.

In the final installment, we’ll detail how Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner is linked to Deutsche Bank, as well as his curious memory lapses regarding the infamous Trump Tower meeting.

To be continued …
https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/01/15/deuts ... an-part-2/


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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:13 am

Deutsche Bank: Where the Dots of Russiagate Connect

In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Martin Sheil, a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, shows how the modern history of Deutsche Bank follows a trajectory that brought the bank to the center of worldwide money laundering operations.

In its efforts to grow rapidly, Deutsche Bank threw away traditional ideas of risk management. In their pursuit of fees and earnings, bank executives got into business with some of the world’s most shady and financially needy characters. Russian oligarchs, President Donald Trump, the Kushners, the Mercers, Paul Manafort, Vladimir Putin and many other key Russiagate figures are among their customers.

Time and again, Deutsche Bank brought Trump and the Russians closer together. In fact, even when the relationship with Trump almost fell apart over a lawsuit, the financial institution just moved the real estate mogul to another part of the bank that put him in even closer proximity to Russians.

According to Sheil, the Russians were and are still the world champions of money laundering, and Deutsche Bank was the major vehicle for their manipulations. Given the financial needs of Trump and his cronies, it is hardly surprising that they became part of this worldwide dark web.
https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/01/24/deuts ... e-connect/
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Feb 01, 2018 3:30 pm

DEUTSCHE BANK: A GLOBAL BANK FOR OLIGARCHS — AMERICAN & RUSSIAN, PART 3
Jared Kushner and the ‘King of Diamonds’
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King of Diamonds, Lev Leviev
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Dmitry Fomin / Wikimedia
Editor’s Note: Part III of this in-depth, technical piece by a former IRS investigator raises more questions than it answers. But WhoWhatWhy believes this is an important service, since it touches a complex topic of considerable public import — one that may be a key component of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing Trump-Russia investigation. We hope in coming weeks to explore many more of these questions in greater depth. And we welcome reader comments.

Martin J. Sheil is a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation division.

See Part 1 here, and Part 2 here. For an overview and podcast interview with the author, please see here.

At the same time Deutsche Bank was on a headlong pursuit of profits and willing to make risky investments, and Russian oligarchs were desperate to move their money out of Russia and enlist Deutsche to help them, Donald Trump — with a history of bankruptcies — was looking to invest in real estate in Manhattan. Deutsche was willing to lend to him.

Deutsche’s relationship to all these players raises intriguing questions as investigations into the Trump White House and its potential collusion with Russia continue. Deutsche is in the sights of not only Special Counsel Robert Mueller but also the US Attorneys of both the Southern and the Eastern Districts of New York.

In Part I, we introduced the reader to the totality of Deutsche Bank’s corruption over the past few decades in both the US and Europe, including the bank’s facilitation of tax evasion in the US through its promotion of illegal tax shelters. We noted that while Deutsche Bank has expanded globally, it has maintained a centralized management system noted for its lax risk management.

Part II covered concerns Congress has had about Deutsche Bank’s questionable activities, and highlighted an apparent lack of federal criminal investigation of the banking giant’s mirror trades. We examined Deutsche’s loan activity with Donald Trump, and followed the money with regard to Russian oligarchs. Along the way, we connected some dots linking Russian and Cyprus Banks.

Now, in Part III, we shift to Russian bank relationships with Deutsche, particularly those involving the president’s son-in-law and top adviser, Jared Kushner.

On April 28, 2006, Josef Ackermann, chairman of the management board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank, signed a “cooperation agreement” with Vladimir Dmitriev Chairman of Vneshekonombank (VEB) — a government-owned Russian development bank.

The stated objective of this agreement was to further intensify the cooperation between the two institutions on selected projects under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) and Private Finance Initiative (PFI) structures in the Russian Federation. This “cooperation agreement” becomes more pertinent when we consider Jared Kushner’s relationship with Deutsche.

When he first filed the financial disclosure forms mandated for all federal employees, Kushner disclosed that he and his mother have a personal line of credit with Deutsche Bank worth up to $25 million. But at that time, Kushner failed to disclose the $285 million refinancing his firm received from Deutsche in October 2016 — a month before the presidential election, and just two months before the December 2016 announcement of Deutsche’s $7.2 billion mortgage securities settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ). While the previous administration’s DOJ agreed to the settlement, it’s reasonable to wonder: did officials fear that waiting later could endanger any enforcement action against Deutsche? Remember that President-elect Trump met with US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) Preet Bharara in Trump Tower on November 30, 2016, along with advisor Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner to request that Bharara stay on at SDNY during the new administration. Bharara agreed.

The DOJ reportedly initially sought $14 billion from Deutsche. The final settlement concerned the bank’s sale of defective mortgage bonds, and detailed the awarding of toxic home loans and the deceiving of investors during the period between 2005 and 2007.

Ethics advisers have questioned whether conflicts of interest concerning what Trump owns could color his presidential policies and deal-making. But what he owes could prove just as influential, because those weighty debts aren’t easily shaken off.
The timing of the Deutsche refinancing transaction with Kushner and the subsequent media attention caused the Trump circle so much anguish that they issued an undated statement saying that Kushner would recuse himself from all future actions with parties involving Deutsche Bank.

But Kushner’s real estate holdings raise other questions. In 2015, Kushner’s company purchased the retail space in the former New York Times Building in Times Square from an entity called Africa-Israel Investments, headed by Russian oligarch Lev Leviev. An Uzbek-born Israeli citizen and a Russian oligarch, Leviev is considered one of the world’s wealthiest men, known as the “King of Diamonds” due to his extensive holdings in Africa, Israel and Russia.

Africa-Israel is heavily involved in real estate investment in Russia, Europe and the US, as well as in West Bank settlement construction activities.

In July, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz ran an article entitled “Who Is Lev Leviev, the Israeli Billionaire With Ties to Jared Kushner and Putin?” This article referenced various media stories describing a number of business and social relationships that connect Leviev to Vladimir Putin and Kremlin-related businesses, as well as to the Trump Organization.
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Lev Leviev, chairman of Africa-Israel Investments (left). Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Donald J. Trump (right). Photo credit: Avner levayev / Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff / Wikimedia

Leviev was a business partner of Prevezon Holdings, the Russian firm that was accused of money laundering by the DOJ, and that was represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who arranged a meeting with Donald Jr. during the campaign — offering “dirt” on Hillary Clinton. Prevezon got off with a $6 million fine. Haaretz called it a “slap on the wrist.”

Leviev has been open about his desire to do a real estate deal with Donald Trump in Russia. He may have the connections to pull this off. He told the New York Times that he was a “true friend” of Russian President Vladimir Putin, largely through his work with the Moscow Jewish Museum, the Russian Jewish Congress and his close ties to Russia’s Chief Rabbi, Berel Lazar. However, Leviev’s company said in a statement to the Washington Post that Leviev “does not have a personal relationship” with Putin but that he has met the Russian leader on a few occasions.

Eager to discuss the possibilities of building Trump Tower Moscow, Donald Trump visited the Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov (referenced in the Steele dossier) in Moscow in November 2013. He brought along Alex Sapir and Rotem Rosen as advisers. Rosen had been employed as the CEO for Africa-Israel USA, which is closely related to Leviev’s Africa-Israel Investments. Rosen has also been considered Leviev’s “right-hand man.”

Alex Sapir is the son of Tamir Sapir, now deceased, who allegedly sold electronics to the KGB from his Manhattan storefront. The elder Sapir also long funded Trump projects, including Trump Soho, through his company, Sapir Properties.

By now, most readers are familiar with Kushner’s multiple financial disclosure omissions as well as the multiple foreign contacts he omitted from his SF-86 — the form, signed under oath, which is required of all federal employees applying for security clearance.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn initially omitted five-figure payments from Russia in 2015 on this form, and six-figure payments from Turkey in 2016. Flynn had multiple contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak, some of which were recorded by US intelligence and at least one of which Flynn lied about to the FBI. Flynn was ultimately fired because he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations concerning sanctions with Kislyak. He has pleaded guilty to one count of perjury in this regard.

Kushner also omitted from his security clearance form several telephone contacts with Kislyak.
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Sergei Gorkov, Vladimir Putin
VEB Chairman Sergei Gorkov (left) meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo credit: President of Russia (CC BY 3.0)

Additionally, Kushner neglected to mention that — subsequent to another meeting with both Flynn and Kislyak at Trump Tower in December 2016 — he’d had a Trump Tower meeting with Sergei Gorkov, head of the sanctioned Russian bank VEB, who had received training from the Russian intelligence agency FSB.

VEB had provided financing for Trump Tower Toronto — as Kushner surely knew previous to his meeting with Gorkov.

Less than a month after the secret Kushner/Gorkov meeting, Erik Prince, brother of Secretary of Education Betsy Devos, at the suggestion of UAE Crown Prince bin Zayed, met covertly with Kirill Dmitriev, a representative of Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) in the Seychelles — an archipelago off the coast of East Africa and a well-known bank secrecy haven. RDIF is under US sanctions. RDIF’s parent company is VEB. VEB is also under sanctions. Five days after the Seychelles meeting, Anthony Scaramucci, Trump senior advisor, met with Kirill Dmitriev of RDIF in Davos, Switzerland. Dmitriev is also under sanctions.

It is worth noting here that the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) makes it unlawful for a person to violate, attempt to violate, conspire to violate, or cause a violation of any license, order, regulation, or prohibition issued under this chapter (50 USC Chapter 35 Section 1705). IEEPA is the statute that controls sanctions. Penalties include fines up to $1 million and a statutory maximum prison sentence of up to 20 years’ imprisonment.

Timeline
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September 12, 2013 UAE announces a plan to invest $5 billion in Russian infrastructure projects in a deal between Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and the Abu Dhabi Department of Finance, marking the highest investment to Russia from the Emirates. RDIF head Kirill Dmitriev and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the commander of the UAE’s army, signs a Memorandum of Cooperation which became official at the end of 2013.

March 17, 2014 President Obama announces sanctions against high-ranking Russian officials for Russian annexation of Crimea.

July 17, 2014 President Obama announces further sanctions against Russian banks, energy and defense companies relative to the Russian incursion of Crimea.

October 2016 Jared Kushner’s business receives a $285 million loan from Deutsche Bank relative to property Kushner’s company purchased from Lev Leviev’s Africa-Israel Inc.

October 2016 Trump’s campaign team announces that Kushner will recuse himself from any involvement with Deutsche Bank.

November 8, 2016 Donald Trump elected President of the US.

November 30, 2016 US Attorney SDNY Preet Bharara meets on the 26th Floor of Trump Tower with President Elect Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner. Trump asks Preet to stay on as US Attorney.

December 2016 SDNY announces $7.2 billion settlement with Deutsche Bank regarding Deutsche’s involvement in toxic mortgage securities 2005-2007. It is noted that SDNY originally recommended a $14 billion fine for Deutsche.

December 1, 2016 Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner meet with Russian Ambassador Kislyak and discuss establishing back-channel communications with Putin in Russian embassy.

December 2016 Flynn has multiple undisclosed contacts with Kislyak.

December 13, 2016 Jared Kushner meets secretly with Sergei Gorkov, President of VEB. VEB is under sanctions. VEB has a cooperation agreement with Deutsche Bank. VEB has a supervisory role over RDIF which is also under sanctions.

December 2016 UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nayan meets with Kushner and Steve Bannon in an undisclosed meeting.

December 29, 2016 Flynn tells Kislyak that Trump will ease sanctions.

January 11, 2017 Erik Prince — founder of Blackwater, brother to Secretary of Education Betsy Devos and classmate of Carter Page at the Naval Academy — has “one beer” with Kirill Dmitriev — head of RDIF and former Goldman Sachs banker — on Seychelles Island. Mohammed bin Zayed and Alexander Mashkevich — Kazak businessman associated with Bayrock and Trump Tower Soho — are also known to be in the Seychelles at the same time.

January 17, 2017 Anthony Scaramucci, senior advisor to Trump on the Executive Committee of the Presidential transition team, meets with Kirill Dmitriev of RDIF at Davos, Switzerland.

January 30, 2017 New York State DFS announces a $425 million fine against Deutsche Bank and UK’s FCA announces a $204 million fine against Deutsche Bank with regard to “failing to have proper controls to stop customers from transferring billions from Russia to offshore bank accounts using mirror trades.

January 2017 US Attorney SDNY Preet Bharara issues a settlement for $95 million with Deutsche Bank regarding their questionable tax practices pertaining to their use of insolvent shell companies.

February 2017 National Security Adviser Michael Flynn is fired for lying to VP Pence about his discussion of sanctions with Russian Ambassador Kislyak.

March 2017 President Trump fires US Attorney SDNY Preet Bharara despite originally promising to retain him.

March 10, 2017 Congresswoman Maxine Waters writes a letter to Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling requesting that the Committee conduct a formal assessment of DOJ’s reported investigation in SDNY of Deutsche Bank’s $10 billion Russian money laundering through mirror trades activity.

July 27, 2017 The Senate votes overwhelmingly, 98-2, to impose new sanctions on Russia. The House passes the measure, 419-3. The bill targets Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and Syria. President has until January 29, 2018 to implement.

January 29, 2018 President Trump’s State Department announces no actions will be taken on Sanctions with regard to Russia.

Prevezon Holdings
.
Kushner must have forgotten about the promise he made to recuse himself from contact with any parties at Deutsche, in addition to the requirement to note down his meetings/contacts on his security clearance form. It is plausible that Kushner and his attorneys were not aware of the cooperation agreement between Deutsche Bank and VEB. But this wasn’t Kushner’s first omission.

Donald Trump Jr. sent Kushner an email inviting him to a Trump Tower meeting on June 9, 2016 with several Russians associated with Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, including attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya — who had represented Prevezon Holdings in a civil forfeiture case in the southern district of New York (SDNY). This case involved the laundering of proceeds — some of which were transferred through Deutsche Bank — ripped off from the $230 million in Russian taxes Bill Browder paid on his Hermitage company. The email subject of the proposed Trump Tower meeting — cc’d to Paul Manafort — was “Russia – Clinton – Confidential.” Kushner originally omitted mention of this now infamous meeting on his security clearance form.

Lost in the hoopla over the June 9 Trump Tower meeting is the Prevezon association.

A New York Times article reported that federal prosecutors in SDNY claimed Prevezon, which admitted no wrongdoing in the civil forfeiture suit, laundered proceeds of an alleged Russian tax fraud through Manhattan real estate. Further lost in the volume of reporting was that “Prevezon and its partners relied in part on $90 million in financing from a big European financial institution, court records show. It was Deutsche Bank.”
Image
Natalia Veselnitskaya, Trump Tower, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump Jr.
A Google search of Natalia Veselnitskaya would have forewarned Kushner. Trump Tower (left). Paul Manafort (bottom left). Donald Trump Jr. (bottom middle). Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Google Search, JasonParis / Flickr (CC BY 2.0), C-SPAN and Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

If this case had actually gone to trial, and if the DOJ had prevailed and obtained a forfeiture for the full $230 million allegedly laundered, would Deutsche Bank have been left holding the bag on their $90 million financing? How would that have affected Lev Leviev, business partner to Prevezon Holdings? Would it have uncovered the long-time relationship between Leviev and Pyotr Katsyv, the VP of Russian Railways at the center of the Hermitage tax ripoff?

While the exact reasons for the Prevezon forfeiture settlement are unknown, it should be noted that Nikolai Gorokov, a lawyer representing Sergei Magnitsky’s family, was able to photocopy documents contained in a Russian case file targeting two people involved in the $230 million scheme that traced the money to Russia. Gorokov mysteriously fell from a window in Moscow about a month before he was due to testify in the Prevezon case. But the documents he photographed were admitted into evidence just days before the settlement was reached.

The settlement came as a surprise to some. According to an article in Business Insider, Louise Shelly — an illicit-finance expert who was set to testify in support of the US government — told CNN the day after the case was settled that she was concerned about the possibility that “political pressure” had been applied to the US Attorney’s office in SDNY.

It is noted that the Prevezon forfeiture case was settled, but the criminal investigation of the money laundering that permeated this case has not been officially closed by the SDNY as of this writing.

It is further noted that the New York Times reported on December 22, 2017, that the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York has requested documents from Deutsche Bank relative to Jared Kushner’s companies. It is unknown at this time what this EDNY inquiry is focusing on.

A Google search of Natalia Veselnitskaya would have forewarned Kushner, Manafort and Trump Jr. of what they were walking into on that June 9 meeting — if they did in fact not know. Not as evident was Deutsche Bank’s association with Trump, Kushner, Leviev et al.

Trasta Komercbanka Connect
.
Trasta Komercbanka was a Latvian-located financial institution that played a prominent money-laundering role in the Prevezon forfeiture case and in other cases involving the so-called Global Laundromat. Deutsche Bank acted as a “correspondent bank” for Trasta until 2015, according to an article in the Guardian. This meant that Deutsche provided dollar-denominated services to Trasta’s non-residential Russian clients. This service was used to move money from Latvia to banks across the world. In 2014, only two Western lenders were willing to accept international dollar transfers from Latvian banks — Deutsche Bank and Germany’s Commerzbank. Latvia’s deputy finance minister, Maija Treija, said the money sent via Trasta was “either stolen or with criminal origin.” The now-defunct bank was used as a vehicle to get money out of the former Soviet Union and “into the EU financial system,” she added.

According to a 2014 article by bne IntelliNews, Trasta Komercbanka was co-owned by Igors Buimisters and Ivan Fursin — a one-time member of the Russian Parliament for the “Party of Regions.” Latvian financial market regulators believe Fursin indirectly controlled between 20 and 33 percent of Trasta. Fursin is a junior partner of Ukraine’s gas and chemical oligarch Dmitry Firtash in the gas trading company Rosukrenergo, which has handled Ukrainian gas imports from Turkmenistan since 2005, and has been the subject of multiple investigations. The article further notes that Firtash and Fursin also own Ukrainian lender Nadra Bank and Misto Bank, and share partnership interests in other gas-related companies.

laundry
Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from gothopotam / Flickr (CC BY 2.0) and Chris Potter / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

These connections take on importance in light of the recent Paul Manafort money-laundering indictment, which lists multiple financial transactions relative to a Cyprus shell company called Lucicle Consultants. A July 19, 2017 New York Times article, while noting that the precise ownership of Lucicle is unclear, links Ivan Fursin with Lucicle through an offshore entity called Mistaro Ventures, listed on a government form that Fursin filed in Ukraine. Mistaro transferred millions to Lucicle in February 2012 shortly before Lucicle made a $9.9 million unsecured loan to Jesand LLC, a Delaware shell company that Paul Manafort used to buy real estate in New York.

The Daily Beast, in an 11/02/17 article written by Betsy Woodruff, was able to link Fursin to Russian organized crime — quoting an expert in that area who indicated that Fursin was a senior figure in the Semion Mogilevich crime organization. Mogilevich is known as the Vor of Vors of Russian organized crime, and is referred to as “the brainy don.” Firtash has publicly acknowledged that he owes his start in the gas business to Mogilevich, who was at one time listed as one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals.

And Fursin chaired the Ukrainian anti-money-laundering committee from 2012 to 2014.

No one has conclusively connected Donald Trump — or any of his family — to any Deutsche Bank money laundering, or bogus tax shelter activities, to this point. But will the DOJ investigation aggressively pursue that possibility should it ultimately surface in the mirror trades probe or any other probe currently open? Who will make that decision?

While Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), the Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, is awaiting answers to her questions, other notables have raised similar questions with regard to the relationship between President Donald Trump, his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner, Deutsche Bank and the potential ongoing criminal investigation(s) of Deutsche Bank by the Justice Department in SDNY.

The Washington Post quoted at length former Federal Elections Commission (FEC) chairman Trevor Potter, who said that the Deutsche problem presents “enormously complex and worrisome issues” both for the president and for the bank’s officials.

The idea that the bank might offer the president better terms in return for the government going easier on the terms of enforcement and fines is truly horrific. … Anyone the president appoints in the Justice Department or Treasury is going to be aware — could not fail to be aware — that the president has a real stake with that enormous loan outstanding. … As a result, everyone will be in fear of making a decision that might anger the president, their boss, or might cause him trouble.

Ethics advisers have questioned whether conflicts of interest concerning what Trump owns could color his presidential policies and deal-making. But what he owes could prove just as influential, because those weighty debts aren’t easily shaken off — and because the Trump family’s real estate business could rely on Deutsche funds for future work. There are many unanswered questions with regard to the Justice Department’s money-laundering investigation of Deutsche’s mirror trades. The same is true of the possible criminal tax investigation into whether the Bank is in violation of its non-prosecution tax shelter agreement with the DOJ. Here are some salient questions:

If any criminal investigation leads to Trump et al, how should the executives at Deutsche Bank interact with President Trump and his cabinet — given the hundreds of millions of dollars of loans Deutsche made to him that he personally guaranteed?
How do they handle his credit situation should he default on his loans, and/or if one or more of them get targeted in the investigation(s)?
Will the Treasury Department maintain an aggressive posture towards Deutsche Bank with regard to prospective tax and money-laundering investigations related to Deutsche and/or RenTech?
Will the Secretary of Treasury order FinCEN to comply with Congressional committee requests for information with regard to potential money laundering or criminal tax or Bank Secrecy Act violations by those associated with the president or by Deutsche?
What will the Treasury Department’s (OFAC) posture be with regard to any potential sanctions violations by Deutsche?
The overriding questions here focus on the Department of Justice. The question as to who exactly is the lead attorney running the DOJ criminal investigation(s) of Deutsche Bank, as well as to the identity of the supervisors, and who the ultimate arbiter on the final decisions regarding the investigation(s) might be, takes on added significance in light of the words of Sally Yates — a career Justice Department attorney who was fired by President Trump.

The strict separation between the Justice Department and the White House applies to even the most mundane of criminal investigations and nowhere does it matter more than when the investigation reaches into the White House itself. In short, no one at the White House should have anything to do with any decision about whom or what to investigate or prosecute. Period. We must do more than rubberneck as we drive past this car crash. We all have a responsibility to protect our Justice Department’s ability to do its job free from interference. The very foundation of our justice system — the rule of law depends on it.

That’s why it matters.
https://whowhatwhy.org/2018/02/01/deuts ... an-part-3/






These connections take on importance in light of the recent Paul Manafort money-laundering indictment, which lists multiple financial transactions relative to a Cyprus shell company called Lucicle Consultants. A July 19, 2017 New York Times article, while noting that the precise ownership of Lucicle is unclear, links Ivan Fursin with Lucicle through an offshore entity called Mistaro Ventures, listed on a government form that Fursin filed in Ukraine. Mistaro transferred millions to Lucicle in February 2012 shortly before Lucicle made a $9.9 million unsecured loan to Jesand LLC, a Delaware shell company that Paul Manafort used to buy real estate in New York.

The Daily Beast, in an 11/02/17 article written by Betsy Woodruff, was able to link Fursin to Russian organized crime — quoting an expert in that area who indicated that Fursin was a senior figure in the Semion Mogilevich crime organization. Mogilevich is known as the Vor of Vors of Russian organized crime, and is referred to as “the brainy don.” Firtash has publicly acknowledged that he owes his start in the gas business to Mogilevich, who was at one time listed as one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals.

And Fursin chaired the Ukrainian anti-money-laundering committee from 2012 to 2014.


where have I seen those names before? Oh yea down there in my sig line
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:50 pm

Lawsuit Reveals Deutsche Bank Probe of Ties to Russian Ministers

Jonathan Browning
June 1, 2018, 5:57 AM CDT

Deutsche Bank AG called it Project Dastan, a Persian word for the kind of ornate oral histories that are common across Central Asia, including heroic tales of resistance to Russian occupation.

But in this case Dastan is a code name for an internal probe into whether executives at the embattled German lender breached anti-bribery rules by getting too cozy with Russian officials—specifically by hiring their kids to win business.

The bank’s investigation into its own hiring practices was detailed for the first time in a lawsuit last week by a former executive, Nizar Al-Bassam. The revelation of the four-year-old probe, which appears to be ongoing, opens another window into Deutsche Bank’s troubled history in Russia. Last year, it paid more than $600 million in fines to U.S. and U.K. regulators over its use of so-called mirror trades to move as much as $10 billion out of the country.

Scrutiny of hiring practices by global banks has intensified since JPMorgan Chase & Co. paid $264 million in 2016 to settle U.S. allegations it hired children of Chinese decision-makers to win fees, according to Nicholas Ryder, a professor in financial crime at the University of the West of England.

“If these practices are found to have breached bribery legislation, it’s likely that banks will face a series of hefty financial penalties and more damage to an already tarnished reputation,” Ryder said by phone.

Al-Bassam said in his complaint there was a potential conspiracy inside the bank

The Frankfurt-based bank said in its annual report in March that U.S regulators were among those investigating its employment history for possible bribery violations, without identifying a country. Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and HSBC Holdings Plc are among competitors that’ve made similar disclosures.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman, Rupert Trefgarne, declined to comment on Project Dastan because of an ongoing investigation. The bank has yet to submit a defense to the lawsuit Al-Bassam filed in London.

Executives have enough to worry about. Deutsche Bank’s shares fell to a record low Thursday after reports the lender was added to a list of troubled bank monitored by U.S. regulators. On Friday, S&P Global Ratings cut the firm's credit rating by one notch to BBB+, the third-lowest investment grade, citing ``significant execution risk.''

Al-Bassam, who quit Deutsche Bank to start his own fund in 2016, is suing for 4 million euros ($4.7 million) in bonuses he says the lender is refusing to pay even though allegations of misconduct in hiring while he was corporate finance chief for Central and Eastern Europe, the Mideast and Africa were “abandoned” long ago.

After he left Deutsche Bank, he helped found London-based finance firm Centricus. Al-Bassam is also an adviser to the Softbank Vision Fund, an investment vehicle tied to Japanese technology giant Softbank Group Corp. that’s raised tens of billions of dollars.

The fathers of two of Project Dastan’s targets, according to the filing, were both deputy finance ministers involved in Russian sovereign debt sales at the time their children joined Deutsche Bank.

Elena Arkhangelskaya was hired in Moscow in 2009 and in 2011 relocated to London, where she currently helps clients in the former Soviet Union sell bonds, according to her LinkedIn profile. Al-Bassam defended hiring her, saying that although his team had “some dealings” with the government at the time, she was “well qualified” and supported by other senior managers. Arkhangelskaya declined to comment.

The other employee is Alexey Storchak, whose father Sergei has been a deputy minister since 2005. The younger Storchak joined in 2010 after a stint at Credit Suisse and the ministry’s “foreign assets division,” according to his LinkedIn page. Based in London, he now works on “debt-hybrid” transactions for clients in Central and Eastern Europe.

Al-Bassam, who was part of a wave of senior managers to leave Deutsche Bank soon after John Cryan became co-chief executive officer in 2015, rejected any allegation of misconduct regarding Storchak’s employment.

“At the time Mr. Alexey Storchak was hired in 2010, his father was in custody and therefore unable to influence the Ministry of Finance in the bank’s favor,” he said in the filing.

In fact, Storchak was back at work. Although he was detained on suspicion of fraud at the end of 2007, he resumed his duties when he was released 11 months later. The case was finally dropped for lack of evidence in 2011 after intense lobbying by his boss and defender, then-Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, a longtime ally of Vladimir Putin. Alexey Storchak declined to comment.

How much, if any, of that business can be attributed to familial ties may never be known

Al-Bassam said in his complaint there was a potential conspiracy inside the bank. The bonus suspension may have been “improperly guided and influenced” by other executives, he said, “with the intended consequence of injuring” him.

Those were lean years for Deutsche Bank, which tumbled from No. 1 in combined Russian equity and debt sales in 2007 to No. 8 in 2010 as state-run VTB Capital embarked upon a half-billion-dollar expansion that would include poaching more than 100 bankers from its erstwhile German partner.

Deutsche Bank’s Russian Bonds

German lender got on more Russian bond deals after hiring spree

Source: Bloomberg LEAG data

The CEEMEA business that Al-Bassam oversaw was hit particularly hard. In 2009 and 2010, state-run gas giant Gazprom PJSC and various Russian Federation entities sold about $20 billion of bonds combined, more than most issuers in the region, yet Deutsche Bank was absent from every deal, Bloomberg data show. Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup and Societe Generale SA led the sales instead.

That changed over the next several years as more Russian entities turned to a restaffed Deutsche Bank to raise foreign funds. In 2013, the lender became the biggest single underwriter of bond deals in the CEEMEA region, arranging billions of dollars of debt sales for the government, Gazprom and other state behemoths such as Rosneft PJSC and Rosselkhozbank JSC.

Clients in the Kremlin

Deutsche Bank arranged RUB315 billion of Russian bond sales in 2009-2014, mostly for clients closely linked to the state

Source: Bloomberg LEAG data

Note: ‘Various’ includes Alfa Bank, Bank Otkritie, Borets, Metalloinvest, Novolipetsk Steel

How much, if any, of that business can be attributed to familial ties may never be known, but banks should always avoid such gray areas or run the risk “of appearing to seek influence,” according to David Knutson, head of credit research in New York for the Americas at Schroder Investment Management, which oversees more than $500 billion of assets.

“Hiring practices are under increased scrutiny," Knutson said. "It makes me feel better about investing in non-developed markets.”

— With assistance by Evgenia Pismennaya, Anna Baraulina, and Jake Rudnitsky

(Updates with credit downgrade in eighth paragraph)
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... =applenews
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:34 pm


Woman's Suicide Tied to Diamond-smuggling Probe



An unnamed woman is said to have jumped to her death following police questioning over a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years

Gur Megiddo20.11.2018 | 23:23

Israeli-Russian businessman Lev Leviev, who is currently accused of being at the center of a vast diamond-smuggling ring that has operated for years. Ofer Vaknin
An unnamed employee of Lev Leviev’s company LLD jumped to her death Tuesday, reportedly after she was questioned in connection to an investigation of alleged diamond-smuggling by Leviev family members and employees.

An LLD spokesman confirmed the death and said it came shortly after the woman was questioned by police as a possible suspect. The company linked the tragedy to police practices in the probe.

“We received with deep shock and sorrow the announcement of the loss of the company employee. We will take every step in our power to aid in the investigation of her death and to put an end to the unfortunate phenomenon of interrogees’ rights being trampled on, causing irreversible damage in order to create media headlines,” LLD said.

An Israel Police spokeswoman would neither confirm nor deny whether the suicide occurred after questioning and declined to comment on the accusation that investigators used excessive pressure.

The police are investigating suspicions that the Leviev Group systematically smuggled diamonds over a period of at least 16 years. The value of the stones smuggled in the past eight years alone was put at 300 million shekels ($80.4 million). Eight people, including Leviev’s son Zvulun, have been arrested in connection with the case, but the woman who took her life Tuesday was not believed to be among them.

https://www.haaretz.com/amp/israel-news ... ssion=true



Danske Bank says US probing money laundering claims


seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 20, 2018 4:54 pm wrote:

Deutsche Bank Handled $150 Billion of Potentially Suspicious Flows Tied to Danske

German lender’s shares drop on investor concerns about the scandal’s impact on its profitability

By Jenny Strasburg and Patricia Kowsmann Nov. 20, 2018 9:38 a.m. ET
Preliminary findings of an internal review by Deutsche Bank AG DB -5.62% of its role in a massive money-laundering scandal at Danske Bank suggest the German lender handled about $150 billion of the total amount of potentially suspicious transactions tied to Danske, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Deutsche Bank’s findings aren’t final and haven’t been made public. It has been trying to assess its exposure to allegations of money laundering involving flows from Russia and elsewhere through Denmark’s largest bank. U.S. law enforcement agencies are probing transactions at Danske’s tiny Estonian branch over several years through 2015 where $230 billion flowed through accounts of non-Estonian account holders at the branch.

On Monday, a British former trader at Danske’s Estonian branch, Howard Wilkinson, testified publicly at a Danish parliamentary hearing about the scope of the alleged activity he witnessed at the small outpost.

Investor concerns about the impact of the Danske scandal have contributed to a drop in Deutsche Bank shares which are down more than 48% this year and hit new lows of near €8 ($9) Tuesday

The shares had partially recovered by midday Tuesday in Germany, trading near €8.30, representing a 3% decline for the day. The Stoxx Europe 600 Banks index was down 1.8%.

The Danske concerns come as Deutsche Bank’s shares have fallen on broader doubts about its profitability.

“Deutsche Bank acted as correspondent bank for Danske Bank DNKEY -3.63% in Estonia,” a Deutsche Bank spokesman said. “Our role was to process payments for Danske Bank. We terminated this relationship in 2015 after identifying suspicious activity by its clients.”

Deutsche Bank has received requests for information from U.S. officials about Danske-related transactions, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Wilkinson, who worked at Danske’s Estonian branch until 2014, pointed fingers at the three U.S. correspondent banks that cleared U.S. dollars for Danske Estonia for not catching suspicious flows of money. He singled out Deutsche Bank, referring to it only as the U.S. subsidiary of a European bank that served Danske throughout the period under investigation, between 2007 and 2015.

“This was the major correspondent bank for U.S. dollars, so when we are talking about this $230 billion number of suspicious funds, I would guess that $150 billion went through this particular bank in the U.S.,” he said.

His estimate roughly matches Deutsche Bank’s own preliminary findings, according to the person familiar with that review.

Correspondent banks serve as intermediaries in international transactions, handling transfers for other banks doing business in countries where they have limited operations.

Deutsche Bank handles $450 billion to $500 billion in U.S. dollar transactions, on average, each day, according to a person close to the business.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. served as correspondent bank for Danske Estonia until 2013, when it was replaced by Bank of America Corp. , which cut ties with the Estonia branch over money laundering concerns in 2015. Those banks have declined to comment.

In September, Danske Bank said in reporting findings from a law firm it hired that around $230 billion washed through its Estonian branch via thousands of accounts. A large part was deemed suspicious. The bank’s CEO resigned with the release of the report.

Deutsche Bank is a major correspondent bank for U.S. dollar transactions. Banks are responsible for policing such money flows and flagging transactions they deem suspicious. Suspicions can be based on origin of funds or concerns about who’s sending or receiving money.

Deutsche Bank has come under fire repeatedly from U.S. and European watchdogs for weaknesses in its policing of financial crime. The unit responsible for money-laundering has suffered high-level turnover. In recent months, its global and U.S. heads of financial crime-fighting have both left for jobs at other banks. The global head, Philippe Vollot, joined Danske Bank as chief compliance officer and an executive board member.

Write to Jenny Strasburg at jenny.strasburg@wsj.com and Patricia Kowsmann at patricia.kowsmann@wsj.com
https://www.wsj.com/articles/deutsche-b ... 1542724703



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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:49 am

Police reject Leviev’s demands for cooperating in diamond smuggling probe

'King of Diamonds' reportedly fears immediate arrest if he comes to Israel from Russia.

Lev Leviev
Lev Leviev. (photo credit: SCOTT WINTROW / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

The Israel Police have rejected a list of demands presented by Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev in exchange for his cooperation in an investigation over a massive diamond smuggling scheme involving his company, LLD, Channel 2 News reported Saturday night.

Channel 2 reported Friday night that a document presented by his lawyers to police stated that he would come to Israel on the condition that after his questioning he be allowed to return to Russia, where he currently resides, and will return to Israel if needed.


A source in the police told Channel 2 News on Saturday: “Leviev will be investigated like every other suspect, in accordance solely with the needs of the investigation with no prior arrangement. We will not promise that he can leave Israel after his questioning.”

The Uzbek SSR-born Israeli tycoon moved to Russia recently from London, and reportedly fears that police will immediately arrest him if he comes to Israel for questioning.

“Leviev is prepared to report to you and to provide full and detailed answers to any questions,” the document presented by Leviev’s lawyers read. Considering that he is not a resident of Israel, the lawyers proposed two options: either Leviev be at the disposal of investigators from his place of residence; or, he will come to Israel and will remain under house arrest for the course of his interrogation as long as he is permitted to return to his work abroad when his interrogation is over.

Leviev will deposit a guarantee to ensure future cooperation in the investigation and will return for any further questioning according to “reasonable notice,” the document added.

On Tuesday night, 42-year-old Mazal Hadadi, a junior employee at LLD, committed suicide by jumping out of her office window in Ramat Gan’s Diamond Exchange District after being questioned under caution in connection with the investigation.
https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Lev-L ... obe-572697
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:22 am

Deutsche Bank Offices Are Searched in Money Laundering Investigation

Nov. 29, 2018
Police vehicles in front of Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt on Thursday. Prosecutors raided the company’s office in a case related to the Panama Papers.Michael Probst/Associated Press


Police vehicles in front of Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt on Thursday. Prosecutors raided the company’s office in a case related to the Panama Papers.Michael Probst/Associated Press
One hundred seventy officers searched the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt and five other sites in the area early Thursday as part of a money-laundering investigation involving hundreds of millions of euros, prosecutors in Frankfurt said.

Two employees, who were not publicly identified but whose ages were given as 50 and 46, and other “unidentified people in positions of authority” are suspected of failing to report possible money laundering for transactions worth 311 million euros, or more than $350 million.

The money flowed to organizations in the British Virgin Islands before spring 2016, prosecutors said in an emailed statement.

The German bank confirmed in a statement that the police were investigating several of its offices in Germany and said the investigation related to the Panama Papers, a trove of files that put a spotlight on global money laundering. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities,” Deutsche said in the statement.

In April 2016, news organizations in cooperation with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the Panama Papers, which revealed how some of the world’s wealthiest individuals, including more than 900 customers of Deutsche Bank, dodged taxes in their home countries by transferring money to offshore accounts.

Prosecutors said the documents indicated “that Deutsche Bank helped customers found offshore organizations in tax havens by transferring illegally acquired money without alerting authorities to suspected money laundering.”

Paper and electronic documents were gathered during Thursday’s raid, they said.

The prosecutor’s office said two bank employees were suspected of helping Deutsche Bank clients set up offshore accounts and the bank had failed to report the suspected money laundering.

Deutsche Bank, once known for its aggressive efforts to compete with Wall Street institutions, has shrunk after years of losses as a result of problems including a bloated investment bank and trading desk and costly legal settlements tied to the sale of toxic mortgage securities.

Even as its competitors have recovered from the 2008 financial crisis, Deutsche Bank has struggled. This year, the bank’s arm in the United States failed a Federal Reserve stress test, which found that it had “material weaknesses” in its operations.

The bank has also suffered regular turnovers in top management: Christian Sewing, who became chief executive in April this year, was the bank’s fourth chief executive or co-chief executive in four years. The company is also in the middle of a restructuring plan that is expected cut more than 7,000 jobs by the end of 2019.

Although an earnings preview suggested there would be some good news after years of restructuring, the report of the raid sent shares down more than 3 percent Thursday morning.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/29/busi ... -raid.html
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:53 pm


Trump’s company owes Deutsche Bank $364 million.

Kushner's company owes Deutsche Bank $285 million.



Israel’s “Diamond King” Lev Leviev Accused of Stealing Smuggling Biz 20 Years Ago
By Theodore Marley Brooks11/28/2018
Israeli Police have rejected a list of demands presented by Israeli tycoon Lev Leviev in exchange for his cooperation in an investigation over a massive diamond smuggling scheme involving his company, LLD, Channel 2 News reported Saturday night.

Channel 2 reported one day earlier that a document presented by his lawyers to police stated that he would come to Israel on the condition that after his questioning he be allowed to return to Russia, where he currently resides, and will return to Israel if needed, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“A source in the police told Channel 2 News on Saturday: “Leviev will be investigated like every other suspect, in accordance solely with the needs of the investigation with no prior arrangement. We will not promise that he can leave Israel after his questioning,” the Post’s coverage continued. “The Uzbek SSR-born Israeli tycoon moved to Russia recently from London, and reportedly fears that police will immediately arrest him if he comes to Israel for questioning.”

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz is reporting that during the first hearing in which authorities requested the extension of the remand of the suspects in the case of Lev Leviev’s LLD diamond firm, earlier this month, “police Supt. Gal Chesner told the court that according to the evidence, LLD has systematically engaged in smuggling diamonds to Israel since 2002. One can presume, cautiously, that this statement is based on the testimony of the individual who has turned state’s evidence in the affair, whose name is protected by a gag order.”

Leviev, of course, is an Israeli businessman, philanthropist and investor, of Uzbek Bukhari Jewish background, Known as the “King of Diamonds,” his net worth is estimated at more than $1.1 billion. He has been a major philanthropist for Hasidic Jewish causes in Eastern Europe and Israel.

Leviev made his name undercutting the DeBeers diamond cartel, striking his own deals with diamond-producing countries like Russia and Angola, according to Forbes. He is also the controlling shareholder of Africa Israel Investments, a real estate and construction company listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

Leviev’s company opened the doors to its first flagship boutique on London’s Old Bond Street in May 2006. Since then, it has expanded globally with locations in New York and Dubai, emerging as a tour de force in the world of high-end jewelry. As one of the largest diamond manufacturers in the world and one of the largest privately held cutter and polisher of diamonds, the firm has exclusive access to some of the world’s most unique stones and offers the industry’s most extraordinary assortment of large, rare and colored diamonds.
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:50 pm




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Why Trump And Kushner Should Be Terrified Of Mueller’s Deutsche Bank Subpoena

by: Remy Carreiro on December 8, 2017

The money Trump and Kushner owe to DB, and its ties to a bank under sanctions, could be the evidence Mueller needs…


President Donald Trump speaks with White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner as he departs after a Hanukkah reception in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Update November 29, 2018: Deutsche Bank has been raided in a money laundering investigation. Below is our deep dive from 2017 about Robert Mueller’s subpoena of Deustche Bank, and how it relates to Donald Trump and Jared Kushner.

In July of this year, New York Times reporters asked Donald Trump if it would be crossing a “red line” for Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate his and his family’s finances. Trump’s answer, once one parsed through the rambling non-sequiturs, suggested that an investigation into his financial history was the one line of questioning he would not stand for.

“No, I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia. So I think if he wants to go, my finances are extremely good, my company is an unbelievably successful company. And actually, when I do my filings, peoples say, “Man.” People have no idea how successful this is. It’s a great company. But I don’t even think about the company anymore. I think about this. ’Cause one thing, when you do this, companies seem very trivial. O.K.? I really mean that. They seem very trivial. But I have no income from Russia. I don’t do business with Russia.”?—?Donald Trump to the The New York Times

Mueller has now apparently taken an interest in acquiring banking “data on accounts held by President Donald Trump and his family,” according to a report released Tuesday morning by Reuters. The report states that Mueller’s team issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, several weeks ago.

In the last few months, we’ve seen a marked increase in action from the Special Counsel’s probe. From the indictments leveled at Trump’s former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates to the guilty pleas from former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI, the house of cards this administration is built on is starting to come tumbling down.



The interest in financial records signals an even more serious era of this probe. Congressional investigators have long shown interest in acquiring information from Deutsche Bank, but until now that interest has been rebuffed. And in March, Democrats from the House Financial Services Committee raised concern over the potential conflict of interest posed by the President’s connection to the bank, in regards to a reported Justice Department investigation into matters involving Russian money laundering.

Late Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the President’s television lawyer Jay Sekulow claimed that they had “confirmed” with Deutsche Bank that reports of a subpoena were untrue. However, Reuters has stood by their claims, as have other news organizations which independently reported on the subject. Additionally, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Criminal Resource Manual Title 423, it is possible that financial institutions may be ordered to not notify a customer or their representation if grand jury subpoenas are issued regarding their banking records.

On Wednesday, the German paper that originally broke the subpoena story reaffirmed its reporting that the subpoena was indeed sent.


So why are these Deutsche Bank (DB) records potentially of extreme importance? The answer is as complicated and murky as most elements of this investigation seem to be. Trump’s companies owed the bank $364 million as of the end of last year, and Jared Kushner’s company held connections with the bank. Coincidentally, DB was recently fined for its connections to a Russian money laundering plot.

During the 1990s, when he experienced tide of poor luck bankrupting some of his hotel and casino dealings, many Wall Street financiers refused to lend to Trump. DB was one of the few major organizations still willing to provide the Trump name with credit and loans.



While we don’t know exactly what Mueller is looking for in his subpoena of these records, such an action puts many Trump associates under the spotlight?—?given their connections to both less-than-upstanding activities and foreign nationals. It also provides another element of support to the understanding that Mueller is focusing on financial crimes and related matters.

Trump has long been accused of laundering money for Russian oligarchs. Rantt News Editor-in-Chief and COO Ahmed Baba reports:

“Not only are his tangled web of LLCs a money laundering red flag, his past actions speak for themselves…

In 2008, Russian oligarch and fertilizer magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev bought a Trump property for $95 million, double what it was worth, which is a classic money laundering technique meant to bake payments or bribes into what looks like a real estate deal.

“A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.”

The FBI wiretapped offices in Trump Tower, investigating a Russian money laundering group run out of apartment 63A, implicating 30 people and involving assets owned by Trump in New York and Florida.

Trump’s reportedly has ties to the New York and Philadelphia mob that go back decades.”

Deep Throat once told journalist Bob Woodward to follow the money when investigating the Watergate scandal. And since history seems to be repeating itself lately, let’s dive deep into what this subpoena could potentially mean for the most impactful investigation of our times…



The Kushner Connection

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner listens at left as President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting - June 12, 2017, (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner listens at left as President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting – June 12, 2017, (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Jared Kushner hasn’t been having a very good year. From revelations that he lied on security clearance forms (and then did it again…and again) to his attendance at the fateful June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, which was revealed to have been an attempt to obtain damaging information from the Russian government on Hillary Clinton, Kushner seems to have dirtied his hands at every possible opportunity. And now, he is known to be under investigation by Mueller, in regards to both his business dealings and meetings with Russians while working on the Trump transition team.

As such, the recent Deutsche Bank subpoena should concern him. His father-in-law isn’t the only one in debt to the bank. Approximately one month before the 2016 election, Jared Kushner’s real estate company received a $285 million loan from DB.

At the time, the bank was “negotiating to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges from New York state regulators that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme,” according to reporting by the Washington Post. Both these cases were settled within two months of Trump being elected President.

Kushner reportedly made a personal guarantee on the loan, which he?—?in proper Kushner fashion?—?failed to disclose on his Office of Government Ethics’s financial disclosure form. This level of personal connection to a bank under investigation for potentially aiding a Russian money-laundering scheme and which was one of the only organizations that would lend his father-in-law money raises questions of impropriety at the very least.

In December of 2016, Kushner attended a meeting with the then-Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, and Michael Flynn in an attempt to set up a back-channel line of communication between the Kremlin and Trump. He then set up a second, originally unreported, meeting at the behest of Kislyak.

This second meeting was with Sergey Gorkov, the Vladimir Putin-appointed chief of Vnesheconombank (VEB)?—?a Russian state-owned bank that has a “cooperation agreement” with DB. Gorkov graduated from the FSB Academy, making him essentially a trained spy.

VEB was placed under U.S. and European sanctions in 2014 and has significant connections to Russian security services. After said sanctions, Putin was forced to authorize $22 billion in state funding to cover the debts incurred by the bank.

Contextually speaking, let’s remember that the Trump administration made lifting these sanctions one of their first orders of business. Flynn went so far as to assure his business partners and Kisylak that sanctions would be lifted. In addition, the White House has yet to implement new sanctions on Russia passed near unanimously by Congress and signed into law by Trump in August.

The aforementioned cooperation agreement could have potentially allowed DB to transfer the loans it gave Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, which were reportedly in the hundreds of millions, to VEB?—?casting further scrutiny on the Kushner meetings.

If these loans were transferred, Trump might have been attempting to lift sanctions on his own debt-holders. This could be an explanation for much of the President’s conciliatory behavior towards Russia.

VEB also helped fund the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto, a project which the President and his organization have moved to distance themselves from.

An important side note?—?in 2015 an employee of VEB, Evgeny Buryakov, was arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy in relation to a New York City spy ring. Prosecutors accused Buryakov, and two other men, of “conspir[ing] to gather economic intelligence on behalf of Russia, including information about U.S. sanctions against the country, and to recruit New York City residents as intelligence sources,” according to reporting by The Guardian. Buryakov pled guilty to these charges in 2016.

The court he was charged by? The Southern District of New York —Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s district.

Bharara originally brought the Prevezon Holdings case to light in the U.S, before being fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March of 2017, at the President’s request.

Lawyer Sergei Magnitsky?—?who was eventually murdered, setting off a chain of events which included the implementation of U.S. sanctions on Russian officials and their assets?—?discovered the alleged fraud which led to the Prevezon case. After Bharara’s firing, the Prevezon case was quickly and surprisingly settled.

Here’s the kicker. Prevezon was represented by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who attended the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, along with Kushner, Trump Jr., and the now-indicted Manafort.

Still following?

The Prevezon case and the related Magnitsky Act is heavily intertwined with major players in the Trump-Russia scandal, as well as the implementation of U.S. sanctions on Russian assets?—?a move that angered Putin and did concrete damage to U.S.-Russia relations.

These tangled connections could suggest a closer look at those who have something to gain by repealing the aforementioned sanctions.

To recap, Mueller’s subpoena of Deutsche Bank records could potentially be troubling for Kushner (and by extent, Trump) because:

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The Next Level

In response to this news, Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee that is investigating potential Russian interference in the 2016 election released the following statement:

“Special Counsel Mueller’s subpoena of Deutsche Bank would be a very significant development. If Russia laundered money through the Trump Organization, it would be far more compromising than any salacious video and could be used as leverage against Donald Trump and his associates and family.”

The Deutsche Bank subpoena could potentially be extremely significant regarding the Trump-Russia probe, specifically because it suggests that Mueller is focusing on potential financial crimes within the Trump family.

Given the mafia prosecutorial tactics Mueller seems to be implementing, the fact that the known charges levied by his team have included crimes like conspiracy to launder money, and Donald Trump’s “red line” regarding investigating his and his family’s finances?—?one can almost understand why the President’s twitter feed has become oddly regulated.

(It’s worth noting that Mueller absolutely has the authority to investigate financial crimes if he discovers them. When he appointed Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein authorized the Special Counsel to probe “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump…(and) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.”)

The Trump-Russia investigation has many branches and the possibility of financial crimes are just one. However, given what we know about the tactics of Mueller’s actions thus far?—?it’s a branch to pay close attention to.

Additionally, if Kushner is implicated in any wrongdoing, it places this investigation directly at Trump’s door. At the very least, it calls into question whether the President will let his son-in-law take the fall, or if he will exercise his pardon power.

Financial crimes?—?as well as Mueller’s cooperation with the New York Attorney General?—?may suggest that involved parties could be charged with state crimes, in addition to federal crimes. State crimes do not fall under presidential pardon jurisdiction.

As with each new revelation in this case, the potential that Mueller may use knowledge of crimes to coerce certain Trump associates to flip on others grows more likely. If the Deutsche Bank subpoena does reveal wrongdoing, it could be used to gain cooperation from important Trump associates.

Past all these hypotheticals, one thing is for certain. Robert Mueller is ten steps ahead of us all?—?and that, in and of itself, should terrify Donald Trump.
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Thu Nov 29, 2018 5:01 pm


Deutsche Bank’s Troubles Are Donald Trump’s Troubles

The president has a long-standing business relationship and conflict of interest with a German banking giant often mired in scandal.

Timothy L. O'BrienNovember 29, 2018, 10:19 AM CST
Politics & Policy

By

Look out.
Photographer: Marlene Awaad/Bloomberg
Timothy L. O’Brien is the executive editor of Bloomberg Opinion. He has been an editor and writer for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, HuffPost and Talk magazine. His books include “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald.”
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Deutsche Bank AG, the sprawling German financial giant, is in trouble again. And, to a certain extent, Deutsche's troubles are going to be President Donald Trump's troubles.

German police raided Deutsche's Frankfurt headquarters on Thursday as part of a money-laundering probe related to the Panama Papers scandal. Investigations tied to the 2016 disclosure of previously private bank and legal records linked to shell companies created by a Panama-based law firm, Mossack Fonseca & Co., revealed that Deutsche had used that network to help its clients create offshore accounts and avoid taxes.

German officials said Thursday's raid was unrelated to another problem currently hanging over Deutsche: its role in helping Danske Bank A/S launder billions of dollars for the Denmark bank's clients.

Authorities identified two bank employees by their ages only as primary targets in the new Deutsche investigation and said they are focused on a unit of the bank based in the British Virgin Islands. The raid adds to a long list of management and legal problems that have eroded the bank's standing and reputation in recent years. German regulators have appointed a monitor to oversee Deutsche's money-laundering and terrorism-financing controls, and it has been forced to cough up more than $18 billion to settle lawsuits and pay fines since 2008. That includes a $7 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department last year related to its trading and sales practices in the mortgage market during the financial crisis of the mid-2000s.

Other activities by its employees and bankers that have sullied Deutsche include market manipulation in commodities and debt, rigging Libor rates, and the suspicious departure of about $10 billion from Russia via Deutsche's Moscow branch. U.S. and U.K. regulators fined Deutsche about $700 million last year for compliance failures that a New York regulator said could have allowed for money laundering.

All of which brings us to the president of the United States.

When Trump nearly went personally bankrupt in the early 1990s, he left a handful of major U.S. banks on the hook for about $3.4 billion in loans he couldn't repay (and about $900 million of which he had personally guaranteed). Hotels, casinos, real estate, an airline and other parts of his debt-ridden portfolio went into bankruptcy protection. In the wake of that collapse, Trump became a pariah among major U.S. banks, and he had to find unique ways of lining up money for the infrequent and small-bore
deals he pursued thereafter. That left him borrowing money from labor unions and small, local lenders. Deutsche, keen at the time to make a name for itself in U.S. investment banking and commercial lending, was less hesitant to do business with Trump.

Deutsche's first transaction with Trump involved a modest renovation loan for 40 Wall Street, a Manhattan skyscraper Trump controls, in 1998. Trump did little to merit Deutsche's involvement after that until the early 2000s, when it agreed to loan him as much as $640 million for a Chicago project — the Trump International Hotel and Tower.

I was working on a biography of Trump at the time, and he told me that one of things he learned from his financial collapse in the early '90s was that he had ignored valuable business advice from his father, Fred: Never personally guarantee a loan. Yet he still went ahead and guaranteed $40 million of the Deutsche loan for the Chicago project. (Trump sued me for libel in 2006, claiming the biography, "TrumpNation," had misrepresented his business history and finances; he lost the suit in 2011.)

Deutsche had a relatively intimate understanding of Trump's finances. Although Trump told me in 2004 and 2005 that his net worth was anywhere from $1.7 billion to $6 billion (and suggested it might even be $9.5 billion), my sources at the time told me his wealth was closer to $150 million to $250 million. When Trump litigated the point with me, my lawyers produced a Deutsche assessment of his finances that pegged his wealth at $788 million in 2005.

Trump's relationship with Deutsche briefly soured in a dispute over the Chicago project. When the financial crisis landed in 2008 and imperiled that development, Trump sued Deutsche to avoid paying the $40 million he had guaranteed (claiming, in part, that Deutsche was responsible for the global economic distress unleashed by the crisis). A clash like that can permanently unwind a real estate partnership, but Deutsche and Trump agreed to settle, with the bank extending a loan from its private banking division to allow Trump to pay back its real estate lending unit, according to the New York Times.

Deutsche's private banking arm has hung in there ever since, with Rosemary Vrablic as the Deutsche banker serving as Trump's primary liaison there. She also has helped Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a White House adviser, as well as his mother, arrange multimillion-dollar loans and lines of credit at Deutsche. In recent years, Deutsche's private banking unit has loaned Trump money — about $300 million, according to Bloomberg News and Trump's government financial disclosure forms — for such projects as his Washington hotel and the Trump National Doral golf course.

The Trump SoHo Hotel, which stripped Trump's name from the property last year, was financed in the mid-2000s in part with loans channeled through Icelandic banks that collapsed during the financial crisis. I've written extensively about Trump's involvement with the firm originally behind that project, Bayrock Group LLC, and about the murky funds from Europe used to build it. While Deutsche was closely involved with Icelandic banks at the time of the collapse, no information has surfaced that it played a direct role in the Trump SoHo.

What's likely now, however, is that Trump's dealings with Deutsche — which have represented, at a minimum, a serious and long-standing financial conflict for him given the influence he wields over law enforcement and financial regulation as president — are about to draw greater scrutiny.

The House Financial Services Committee, which Democrats will take control of in January, has the power to subpoena Deutsche for banking records and other information regarding its relationship with the president, the Trump Organization and the Kushner family. It seems almost certain that the committee will deploy that power — especially given the news that Deutsche has landed in the middle of yet another money-laundering probe.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Timothy L. O'Brien at tobrien46@bloomberg.net

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/artic ... s-troubles



Alderman Burke's law firm represented Trump's businesses for 12 years
Source says feds showed up this am, asked everyone to leave and put brown paper on the doors

EB4E5EC4-220F-4332-829C-B1812A765348.jpeg
EB4E5EC4-220F-4332-829C-B1812A765348.jpeg (75.41 KiB) Viewed 2173 times


https://hillreporter.com/federal-agents ... firm-15981

Feds Raid Ald. Edward Burke’s City Hall Office, Ward Office; Doors And Windows Covered In Brown Paper
https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2018/11/29 ... -fbi-raid/


Anthony Kennedy, Donald Trump and the curiously timed Deutsche Bank raid
Bill Palmer | 9:09 am EST November 30, 2018


Back when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy abruptly retired just as the media was exposing that his son had been playing a somewhat-debated role in steering Deutsche Bank’s money toward Donald Trump, after Deutsche Bank had been caught laundering billions of dollars in Russian money into the hands of certain unnamed clients in places like New York City, Palmer Report pointed out that Special Counsel Robert Mueller would obviously investigate the matter to see if it was a criminal conspiracy or mere coincidence.

Then came yesterday’s massive raid of Deutsche Bank’s world headquarters, which was widely reported as having been a part of the ongoing international money laundering investigation into the bank, and just happened to take place immediately after Michael Cohen publicly confirmed that Donald Trump had been plotting with the Russians during the election to build Trump Tower Moscow. This led a number of Palmer Report readers to ask if the raid is connected to Anthony Kennedy.

The answer, in short, is that I have no idea. I don’t even know if the raid is connected to Robert Mueller and/or Donald Trump. The timing strongly suggests that it had something to do with Mueller’s ongoing effort to get to the bottom of Trump’s corrupt financial relationship with Russia, and the newly revealed piece of the puzzle about Trump Tower Moscow – but I don’t know that for sure.

Various major media outlets have alternately claimed Anthony Kennedy’s son was either instrumental in funneling Deutsche Bank’s money to Donald Trump, or that he worked on an entirely different side of the company and had nothing to do with Trump. None of that reporting matters; only the truth does, and we don’t know what that is. All I can tell is that I’m more sure than ever that, whatever the truth is about Kennedy, Trump, Deutsche Bank, and Russia, Robert Mueller will get to the bottom of it.
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Nov 30, 2018 8:33 pm

Deutsche Bank: Where the Dots of Russiagate Connect


In this week’s WhoWhatWhy podcast, Martin Sheil, a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, shows how the modern history of Deutsche Bank follows a trajectory that brought the bank to the center of worldwide money laundering operations.

In its efforts to grow rapidly, Deutsche Bank threw away traditional ideas of risk management. In their pursuit of fees and earnings, bank executives got into business with some of the world’s most shady and financially needy characters. Russian oligarchs, President Donald Trump, the Kushners, the Mercers, Paul Manafort, Vladimir Putin and many other key Russiagate figures are among their customers.

Time and again, Deutsche Bank brought Trump and the Russians closer together. In fact, even when the relationship with Trump almost fell apart over a lawsuit, the financial institution just moved the real estate mogul to another part of the bank that put him in even closer proximity to Russians.

According to Sheil, the Russians were and are still the world champions of money laundering, and Deutsche Bank was the major vehicle for their manipulations. Given the financial needs of Trump and his cronies, it is hardly surprising that they became part of this worldwide dark web.

If you haven’t had the chance to read Parts 1 and 2 of Sheil’s comprehensive and arresting look at Deutsche Bank and its connection to Trump and a global array of shady characters, this is an opportunity to get a full overview of the story before Part 3 appears next week.


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Full Text Transcript:

As a service to our readers, we provide transcripts with our podcasts. We try to ensure that these transcripts do not include errors. However, due to resource constraints, we are not always able to proofread them as closely as we would like, and we hope that you will excuse any errors that slipped through.

Jeff Schechtman: Welcome to Radio WhoWhatWhy. I’m Jeff Schechtman. If you’re following or trying to follow the Trump-Russia story, no doubt your head is filled with dozens of threads: the Trump Tower meetings; the dossier; the names of countless Russians, mobsters, and oligarchs, and bankers; banks in Germany, in Moscow, Cyprus, and Moldavia; money laundering; real estate deals; hedge funds; indictments; bankruptcies; and a cast of characters orbiting Trump that feels more like the bar scene in the original Star Wars. How is it possible then to understand it all? Especially if, as Steve Bannon told Michael Wolff, it’s all about following the money. We could all imagine some kind of huge whiteboard or bulletin board in Mueller’s office with arrows, and pictures, and bank logos, and lines, and threads connecting them all together.
Over the course of the past week, WhoWhatWhy has published a multi-part series entitled Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs — Americans and Russians by Martin Sheil, a retired branch chief of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. His WhoWhatWhy series could easily be seen as part of a preamble or executive summary to the report that Mueller may ultimately deliver to Congress. It is my pleasure to be joined here by Martin Sheil to talk about this story, Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs – American and Russian. Martin Sheil, thanks so much for joining us on Radio WhoWhatWhy.

Martin Sheil: Thanks for having me, Jeff. It’s a real pleasure and honor to be on your podcast.

Jeff Schechtman: I want to begin by talking a little bit about Deutsche Bank as the link that ties so many of these pieces together, and just a little bit about its history.

Martin Sheil: Yeah, well Deutsche Bank is a huge bank. It’s a global bank, but its headquarters are in Frankfurt, Germany. Its philosophy really is, going all the way back into the 19th century, to generate foreign investment in Europe, surrounding countries, and globally. It really made its first forays into the United States around 1998. They took over a bank in New York called Bankers Trust, which was a well-known bank in the New York financial circles. The marching orders of the bankers in New York was to generate revenues and generate fees. They wanted to grow the bank quickly and they wanted to grow the profits just as fast.
Those were the marching orders, and so to do that in financial circles and banking circles, what that really means is that you have to take on risk. Of course, who is one of the riskiest investments you could take on if you’re in New York in the late 90s? Donald J. Trump.

Jeff Schechtman: Before we get to Trump, how was the attitude, the business policy of Deutsche Bank fundamentally different from so many of the other international banks that were trying to grow during that period, whether it was banks like HSBC, or BNP, foreign banks based in European countries that in fact didn’t take the same path. What is it that the business decisions that Deutsche Bank made, that set it on the road to the reason that we’re talking about it today?

Martin Sheil: The object of the company was to transact banking business of all kinds, in particular, to promote and facilitate trade relations between Germany, other European countries, and overseas markets. That’s basically what they decided to do. They decided to basically sprout their wings, spread their branches, and they did. The timing was right for them. Several other European banks also did that, but what I think differentiates Deutsche Bank was they were in hot pursuit of earnings. They wanted to grow as quickly as they could, and they did. Their risk management, let’s just say, wasn’t very good.
Something I wanted to point out as we get into Deutsche Bank, some of their philosophy was they didn’t believe in autonomy as an instrument of management leadership. They were very centralized. Everything was directed from Frankfurt, from the top. Their direction was go out, make money, increase earnings. They had very ambitious objectives there. It was a big challenge for them, because they … You have different cultures. You have the American culture, the New York financial scene, and then you have — the UK was growing. The financial climate there was really starting to percolate, because you had the European Union just starting to grow. Then, you had Russia coming out of the 90s, shedding the Soviet Union shackles.
You had capitalism just starting to take root there, but you had all sorts of things going on there, too; because you had all these state-run enterprises which were now open to private enterprise, and being sold for pennies on the dollar, in terms of their value. You had these predator plutocrats coming in and taking over, and just milking it for all it was worth. They really … didn’t really concern themselves very much with normal regulatory procedures, and they got themselves in a world of hurt with SEC, and CFTC, and … with the US Attorney’s office in Southern District of New York, New York state financial folks. They got in trouble with the United Kingdom’s financial regulators. It didn’t seem to matter to these folks.
They were taking on fines, multiple billions of dollars of fines for toxic mortgage loans, for manipulation of the LIBOR, which is a interest rate over in the UK. They were taking on … They were getting hit with millions of dollars of fines for not maintaining their anti-money laundering control. It just didn’t seem to matter. It was just a cost of doing business. None of the management executives ever had their feet held to the fire. They were never held accountable. The law in Germany does not allow really for the prosecution of … the criminal prosecution of banking executives. No one in Germany banking circles has ever really gone to jail for any financial skulduggery.

Jeff Schechtman: Martin, talk a little bit about how Deutsche Bank continued to be impacted by the financial conditions of any given time and how in some cases, actually US policy encouraged some of the nefarious practices of Deutsche Bank.

Martin Sheil: In the middle of all of that, in the early 2000s, Deutsche Bank was, as we said, got their … sunk their roots back in 1998 and started growing by leaps and bounds; taking on huge risk in all areas; their mortgage loans, their … currency manipulations. Pretty much any area that you can think of, they took on a lot of risk and went the extra mile. They really pushed the boundaries. It got themselves jammed up. The regulatory authorities in looking at them would investigate and threaten to prosecute, and then what happened was that no one would actually individually be held responsible. The corporation would just get hit with a million or billion dollar fine.
That didn’t inhibit anyone. They just kept going. It was the cost of doing business. The only ones that suffered from that type of approach would be the shareholder, the one who was investing in the bank. These executives didn’t care about the shareholders. They only cared about their own bonuses.

Jeff Schechtman: Focus a little bit on Deutsche Bank’s connection to Russia and to Russians. They set up an office in Moscow. Talk a little bit about that connection.

Martin Sheil: Deutsche Bank had a close relation with a bank called VTB, I can’t pronounce the Russian, the [Nezcsh?] Quarter Bank or something like that. VTB was … right now, is probably the second largest bank over there. Deutsche was looking to expand, and the timing was right because the Russian economy was starting to take off. The oligarchs had pretty much started to settle down. Putin had taken over. He became president in 2000. He set about attempting to get their tax authorities stabilized, and it took a while because there was a lot of corruption there.
The oil prices started really increasing, and Russia was very much an oil-based economy. There was a lot of money to be made over there. The economy was flourishing. Folks were doing well. Deutsche Bank was looking to cash in. They got with VTB and the head of VTB was a guy by the name of Andrey Kostin, who’s alleged to be ex-KGB.
As Putin once famously said, “There is no such thing as ex-KGB. Once KGB, always KGB.” The thing about Russian banks is that they’re just dominated by KGB and SSB intelligence officers. SSB took over for KGB. Anyway, Kostin was the head of VTB, very tight with Putin.
Deutsche approaches Kostin, says, “Look, we’d like to set up some offices here and expand, and get Deutsche rolling. What do you think?”
Kostin said, “Yeah, yeah. Let’s work together.” Says, “Hey, by the way, why don’t you hire my son to head up your Deutsche Bank office here in Moscow?”
So OK, Deutsche agreed to do that, and Andrey Kostin became the head of Deutsche Bank Moscow. Well, he brought in some folks that were closely related to Kostin and to Putin, and to … called F-O-B, Friends of Putin. Suddenly revenues for Deutsche Bank just took off. They increased two, three, four hundred percent in a short period of time. This is about the late 2000s, let’s say in 2006, 2007 area.
One of the things that was going on, a lot of the Russians who had made a lot of money were concerned — [it was] a little bit like the Wild West over there, in that you had some corrupt authorities and you had Russian organized crime was very prominent. Folks who had made some money and were concerned, and they also didn’t particularly like paying taxes; very similar to wealthy Americans and Europeans. They were looking to move their money out of Russia. Money laundering was a big deal over there. I must say, having investigated money laundering for decades, the Russians are the best at it.

Jeff Schechtman: Explain why it was so important, given the state of the Russian economy, why was it so important to move money out of the country? Why was money laundering such a critical business with respect to Russia?

Martin Sheil: These oligarchs, and there’s about, at the time, about 200 of them that really controlled most of the economy. I mean they controlled 75-80% of the economy. A lot of that is oil related or mineral related. They were concerned. They wanted to safeguard their money. They were never sure how long they were going to be and retain their oligarchical power, because so much of their power and their wealth depended on their relationship with Putin and those immediately around Putin.
Putin, his chief of staff was a guy by the name of Igor Sechin, who went on to become the CEO of Rosneft, which is the largest oil company in Russia. Sechin was in charge of what’s known as the siloviki. Siloviki is Russian for … Well, a little translation is ‘structured force’. Essentially what it is, in America we would refer to it in mafia terms: muscle. Siloviki equals muscle. If Putin wasn’t happy with an oligarch, he would sick “siloviki” on that particular oligarch. They would just seize the industry, or the company, and throw the oligarch in jail. This was what they did with Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was the head of Yukos Oil, which was the largest oil company at the time. Putin viewed Khodorkovsky as a competitor, as a rival, as a threat.
When Putin came in power, became president in 2000, one of the first things he did was just put Khodorkovsky in his place, threw him jail, seized his company, and chopped it up; and took what he wanted from it. That set a real lesson to all the other oligarchs. They looked around and they saw ‘If he can do that to Khodorkovsky, he can do it to us.’ They started trying to get their what monies they had in their banks, … In Russia at the time, there are a lot of little banks. They were known as pocket banks, because they were in the pocket of the particular industry that the oligarchs would control; whether it was aluminum, or oil, or whatever. These banks are not real banks as we understand them. They’re more like … piggy banks, or that kind of thing. They would come and go.
Anyway, the Russians decided, “Well, it’s time. We need to get our … move our money out of here, because what happened to Khodorkovsky, it could happen to me.” They started doing very complex maneuvers, move it into a large Russian bank that had a correspondent bank relation with banks in Moldova and Latvia. From there, once you got it into Latvia, you could then move it into the European Union. You could move it to the UK. Once in the UK, it could go to the British Virgin Islands, Cyprus, wherever. They’d use all these shell accounts masking the identity, the source of ownership. They would buy up … make investments in restaurants, or athletic teams, like soccer teams, famous soccer teams, basketball teams, hockey teams, whatever. They’d also buy huge yachts, et cetera.
Ultimately, they would end up buying real estate, either commercial real estate or luxury condos in places like London and Manhattan. They would always buy them in shell company names. The anonymity of real estate purchases that American and UK laws afforded was fully taken advantage of by these oligarchs. When you get to around 2010, the Russian laundromat was basically cracked down. The Moldovan banks, that particular method of money laundering was essentially stopped; and a lot of the Latvian banks closed up.

Jeff Schechtman: Once this method of laundering money was shut down, what was next? There’s always a new way that would come along to take care of this laundering. What was next?

Martin Sheil: Another way of moving money had to be devised. One of those ways was the mirror trades, which emanated from the Deutsche Moscow Bank. In very simple terms, you can read the articles for the details; but essentially, you’re talking about an oligarch who has all sorts of … or a corrupt Russian official who has all sorts of accounts both in Russia and outside of Russia, and will set up … devise, or direct various brokers. There was about a dozen brokers in the Moscow area that would be directed to buy Russian stock … Let’s say four or five million dollars, buy stock in a Rosneft, or Gazprom, or Sberbank, or whatever. At the same time, the oligarch would then direct brokers in London to sell stock at almost the same exact time as they’re buying the three or four million dollars in Gazprom. There’s the London guy is selling three or four million shares of Gazprom.
The result of that, the simultaneous buying and selling of the same stocks at the same price was to essentially move the Russian rubles, that were in hand, to London, and at the same time as you’re moving it, you are converting it. The Russian term is “convert,” … into Euros or dollars, whatever you sold the stock for.

Jeff Schechtman: As these practices went on, what specifically was Deutsche Bank’s role as all of these methods continued to evolve?

Martin Sheil: Well, I mean there’s real no economic benefit of purpose to this simultaneous … Well, the oligarch has now moved his money out of Russia and converted it from rubles to Euros or dollars. Deutsche’s role was they get to collect fees on the trade. The manager who was in charge of this, a guy by the name of Tim Wiswell, who’s an American, he was also … He got paid additional bribes to make sure that no one came in and to protect the traders from this whole thing. He got three or four million dollars put into his offshore bank accounts in British Virgin Islands. This went on for about four or five years, from 2010 to 2014, ’15 area. We’re talking about maybe 10, 11 billion dollars worth of money was moved from Russia, out of Russia, to the UK and then from there, it could go anywhere. That’s what’s known as the Russian mirror trades money laundering scheme that we wrote about here.

Jeff Schechtman: You touched on this before, Martin, but were there any consequences with respect to Deutsche Bank? Did anyone care, either in the US or anywhere else in the world?

Martin Sheil: No. The UK financial folks hit Deutsche Bank with something like a 650 million dollar fine. The New York State Department of Financial Services hit Deutsche Bank for about a 285 million dollar fine. The Department of Justice opened up a criminal investigation in the Southern District of New York, with regard to Deutsche Bank and these money laundering activities; because a lot of these trades actually passed through the New York bank in terms of the way that the financial system was set up. That provided New York with venue and jurisdiction.
Now, they opened up this investigation a couple years ago and it’s basically, it’s just laying dormant. There was a recent article in December, I think CNN put out, that they had found that Department of Justice money laundering section, which is located in Washington, had joined the Southern District of New York’s prosecutor team in this investigation; but no one could find out just what is the status of it. No one really knew.

Jeff Schechtman: I want to come to 1998 and the beginnings of Donald Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank and how that relationship evolved.

Martin Sheil: Now, understand, in terms of contacts, that Donald Trump had, in the 90s, had declared bankruptcy six separate times, one half dozen financial bankruptcies; many of which related to the Trump casino in Atlantic City, the Taj Mahal. He was basically toxic in terms of the rest of the financial industry thinking about providing loans to him. He did not have a good reputation. I want to point out a couple of things there, that the casinos were well known at that time for laundering money. The casinos in fact, did get hit by the Treasury Department for money laundering penalties and fines for their lack of anti-money laundering control.
The other thing I wanted to point out was that as they kept declaring bankruptcy, it required them to restructure. The guy that Trump brought in to restructure his organization down there, was a guy by the name of Wilbur Ross; who is now Secretary of Commerce. It’s late 90s, Trump’s having a lot of difficulty with his casinos. He’s trying different ways and things, but he decides to get into real estate. He wants to build a building down at 40 Wall Street. He needs money. The other banks in New York are shying away from him. Deutsche Bank just takes over Bankers Trust. They direct their folks in New York to be aggressive and being aggressive, as I mentioned earlier, means taking out larger and larger risk. Risk management controls are negligible at this point.
The decision is made to loan Mr. Trump quite a bit of money for 40 Wall Street. That works out fairly well. They continue to loan him money. Mr. Trump builds some more. Deutsche loans more money to him. It seems to be a good relationship. They’re making money. He’s making money. The bankers involved are making money, they’re making fees. Now, understand that this is Deutsche Bank, their real estate section, they’re the ones that know real estate and what not. They’re doing well with Trump. But then, everything’s going pretty well until you get to the 2008 area when Trump Tower Chicago; which required … that was like about a 360 million dollar loan … 40 million of that was personally guaranteed by Trump.
Now, Trump was having difficulty making his payments. The bank started calling in the note, and said, “Hey, sorry. We’ve had a good relationship, but you need to … You got to make your payments.” He wasn’t doing it, so they sued him. They sued him for the 40 million that he had personally guaranteed. They took that 40 million. What Trump did was he counter-sued and claimed that it wasn’t his fault he couldn’t pay the loan. It was Deutsche Bank’s fault for contributing to the worldwide, global financial recession; which is just a crazy suit.
That really turned off the real estate executives associated with Deutsche Bank. They decided after that suit, which Trump lost — he lost his 40 million that he had personally guaranteed; which he made up real quick by selling this mansion down in Florida to this Russian oligarch called Rybolovlev, for like a 50 million dollar profit; but the bankers at Deutsche said, “Donald, we’re moving you over to the private wealth management section of Deutsche Bank, and Rosemary Vrablic will become your personal wealth manager. If you want more loans or anything, you deal with her.”
Vrablic had a real estate background. She hit it off well with Trump. She was eventually invited to the inauguration. She’s also the wealth manager for the Kushners, and of course, that private wealth management section of Deutsche also caters to Russian oligarchs; which isn’t real well-known. But these private wealth managers are … they’re like the guys down at … in the hotel lobby that will run around and do anything you need, run out and get you … the concierge-type service.

Jeff Schechtman: Right.

Martin Sheil: They’ll go out and get you Broadway tickets, go park your car; or they’ll sometimes go buy the car for you, for these wealthy guys, “park the yacht,” or whatever it is. Just jumping ahead, if I was a prosecutor for a day in the Southern District of New York, or on Mueller’s team, I would be subpoenaing Rosemary Vrablic, as well as the other private wealth managers of Deutsche in New York; and ask them to see the client list, and see if any … Rosemary Vrablic had ever introduced any of the oligarchs to Trump, and back and forth like that.

Jeff Schechtman: As part of your three-part series in WhoWhatWhy, you give a number of examples of some of the really shady practices and illegal practices in many cases that Deutsche Bank was involved in, so many of which touched on either Trump or the people around Trump. Talk a little bit about one or two of those specific examples.

Martin Sheil: There was a tax shelter promotion done from 1998 to 2002, [due to which] Deutsche Bank was investigated by the Southern District of New York; [SDNY said] “Hey, you’ve sold over 1,000 tax shelters to several thousand people to the tune of close to six billion dollars of illegitimate tax losses.” The one percenters are looking for any reason not to pay their taxes. If Deutsche Bank didn’t provide this service, no one else would have; but in this sense, in this case, Deutsche Bank got caught. They got their wrist slapped. They entered into what’s known as an NPA, a non-prosecution agreement with Department of Justice Southern District of New York where they agreed to stop selling, stop promoting these tax shelters, … and that if they violated this NPA, they would be subject to prosecution. The door would be reopened, and they’d … this whole issue would be revisited.
The same time they were negotiating this, and negotiation took some time, they began to promote something called “basket options.” Basket options is basically … it’s a financial instrument on the front end where it’s a highly leveraged type of a deal — where you invest not only your money, but the bank’s money in this case. The real key to it was on the back end of the transaction is a tax shelter. It would provide for long term capital gain treatment in lieu of short term capital gain treatment, which is a savings of approximately half.
Now, they sold most of their basket options, I’m talking Deutsche Bank came up with these basket options. They sold most of them to Renaissance Technology, otherwise known as RenTech. The co-CEO of RenTech is probably the best known person associated with RenTech. His name is Robert Mercer. He’s what I would refer to as an American oligarch, because in 2016, he made political contributions of approximately 20 million dollars. RenTech also ran a company called Cambridge Analytica, which employed Steve Bannon, Kelly Anne Conway. They were involved in doing analytics with regard to how to sway potential voters out in the country.

Jeff Schechtman: What exactly was RenTech, and how did it specifically benefit from Deutsche Bank?

Martin Sheil: Renaissance Technology is a hedge fund, second largest hedge fund in this country. What they would do is a lot of their trades were computer generated based on very complex algorithms devised by their very highly educated folks. They would engage in thousands, sometimes millions of trades inside of a couple of seconds. That means buying and selling financial product inside of a couple of a seconds. Seconds, nano-seconds.
Well, to qualify for a long term capital gain treatment, which is much less than a short term capital gain treatment, tax-wise, you have to hold … When you buy a financial instrument, you have to hold it for at least one year before you sell it. That’s what’s called long term capital gain. Anything over a year is long term. Anything under a year is short term.
Well, Renaissance Technology was treating all these hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions of transactions that occurred in nano seconds, they were treating that as if they were long term … they were held long term. There couldn’t be a more gross violation of tax treatment. There’s no confusion as to that these products were held for a year. They were held for seconds. That allowed Renaissance Technology to qualify for what’s … for say a tax savings that has been … what’s publicly been announced as 6.8 billion. I’ve seen other places say seven billion dollars of tax saving were derived by RenTech through the use of these basket options.
Now, the US Senate Permanent Committee for Investigations headed by Ex-Senator Carl Levin investigated this. They brought in testimony. They brought in Deutsche Bank executives, et cetera. After all was said and done, Senator Levin characterized these basket options as “let’s pretend basket options.” Basically, calling them a magical device that just magically transformed a sale that occurred, a buy and sell transaction that occurred in seconds to something that took over a year; allowing them to take long term capital gain.
Here you have that the IRS said back in 2010: “These basket options serve no economic purpose. There is nothing to them. There is no substance to it. Do not use these basket options.” RenTech continues to use them. RenTech buys at least 29 of these basket options. Deutsche Bank was told back in the middle 2000s: “Do not sell any tax shelters. Do not engage in any more promotion of tax shelters.” Even as they’re signing that agreement, they’re selling these basket options to RenTech, in clear violation of their non-prosecution agreement. Why did they do it? There’s only one reason, and that has to do with money. They were making huge fees on the sale of these basket options.
The Southern District of New York prosecuted KPMG in the mid 2000s for the sale … KPMG, of course, also one of the biggest accounting firms in the country. They were selling illegal tax shelters. They got prosecuted. They entered into what’s known as deferred prosecution agreement. Of course, nobody goes to jail. If you read the DPA, the deferred prosecution agreement, KPMG could not have conducted their tax shelter scheme without interacting with a bank. As it turns out, even in the indictment, the bank that was involved was called Bank A in the indictment. Bank A, as it turns out, is Deutsche Bank.
My feeling is that a chief executive of Deutsche Bank should be held responsible for all these financial shenanigans; because not only were the shareholders of Deutsche Bank ripped off, American taxpayers and yeah, Russian taxpayers were ripped off. It was done at the direction of centralized management. Centralized management in this instance is the CEO of Deutsche Bank.
Now, for a good long period of time, the CEO was a guy by the name of Joseph Ackermann. Joseph Ackermann left in around … I don’t know, somewhere between 2012, 2014, to become the president or head of Bank of Cyprus; which … is a … It’s the largest bank in Cyprus, and Cyprus is a known tax haven, money laundering area in the world … and a place where many of the Russians, the oligarchs and corrupt officials park a lot of their money. Matter of fact, Paul Manafort had opened up something like 15 accounts at the bank that preceded Bank of Cyprus; Bank of Cyprus took it over.
It’s a small world here. You have wealthy folks in America, wealthy folks in UK, wealthy folks in Russia, all benefiting from the financial irregularities, if you want to say; or even the financial criminal conduct of Deutsche Bank, who’s in the pursuit of earnings and executive bonuses.

Jeff Schechtman: You also have a pretty strong relationship between the Kushner family and Deutsche Bank.

Martin Sheil: Oh yeah. Kushner … Even Kushner’s mother has a … account with the private wealth section of Deutsche Bank. Kushner himself has an open line of credit to the tune of, I don’t know, five to ten million dollars with Deutsche Bank; as well as Ivanka. Kushner, his company obtained loans of … to the tune of approximately 285 million dollars from Deutsche Bank, about one month prior to the November election. This was just … This was during a period of time where Deutsche Bank was negotiating how much of a fine they would pay on their … the toxic mortgage loan exposure they had. It was 14.2 billion dollars was the figure that Southern District of New York first floated. That got cut to … in literally in half to seven billion, right after the president got elected. This is … Perhaps it was coincidental that Kushner, who also had financial issues of his own, perhaps it was just coincidental that Deutsche Bank gave him such a huge loan; and that they had their seven billion dollar savings on the fine.
Kushner has these loans going on. It should be noted, I think I note that in the article, that Deutsche Bank and Vnesheconombank (VEB) is a bank in Russia that Putin and the oligarchs make quite a bit of use of. VEB and Deutsche had a cooperation agreement. A lot of times, Russian oligarchs particularly post right around the recession time. They got overextended, and Deutsche made some loans; and which are in peril. VEB would come in and save the day with emergency loans, bridge loans, and what not. They have a long history of working together. Eventually, Kushner met with the president of VEB, early December. The president of VEB was a guy by the name of Sergey Gorkov who is an ex-FSB; and closely tied to Vladimir Putin.
We don’t know what was discussed there, but we do know that a month later, Eric Prince, who is a brother of Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, he met with some Russians, financiers, bankers, as well as a sheik from Qatar. They all met out in the Sechelles Islands, which is another bank secrecy haven. They also met with a guy who heads the Russian development fund, which is run by … supervised by VEB. Both the Russian development fund and VEB are under sanctions. You have just one meeting after another that … between members of Kushner’s … I should say Trump’s close circle, whether it’s Flynn, Kushner, Prince; and folks who are under and institutions that are economic sanctions.

Jeff Schechtman: It’s interesting, there’s the assumption with all of this that somehow Trump is the center of this universe; but in fact, Deutsche Bank really is the center of the universe and everything revolves around that. The Russians, Trump.

Martin Sheil: Right.

Jeff Schechtman: All these other banks.

Martin Sheil: Right.

Jeff Schechtman: I mean they really are the center of this story.

Martin Sheil: Deutsche is the common thread. If you want to do anything in terms of investments, … tax maneuvers, you basically need a big financial institution. If you’re a mover and shaker financially, you’re going to have, to have … be accommodated by a bank who can facilitate movement of money worldwide. I mean it’s a global economy now. You hit a button, and you’ve moved money from one side of the globe to the other. You need banks to do that. There are banks who will do anything for a price, for a fee. Certainly Deutsche was one of those. Why wouldn’t they? I mean no one has been prosecuted.

Jeff Schechtman: Right.

Martin Sheil: There’s no deterrent.

Jeff Schechtman: With respect to Deutsche Bank, we know, we’ve certainly heard that Mueller has subpoenaed documents from Deutsche Bank. How legitimate do you think Deutsche Bank will be in providing the documentation that Mueller’s people want?

Martin Sheil: That’s a great question. Don’t know. We can’t even be sure that Mueller’s people are the ones that subpoenaed Deutsche Bank records. Let me tell you why. You have … Mueller certainly has his investigation, which emanates out of Washington, DC. Okay? But the subpoenas that I’ve heard about came most recently out of the Eastern District of New York; which is Brooklyn, the Department of Justice … These attorneys offices are in the Eastern District. I don’t know that … that sounds like a separate investigation to me, looking into Kushner.

Jeff Schechtman: Martin, we’re just about out of time. If you look at the totality of this story and everything that you’ve written about Deutsche Bank, how would you sum this all up?

Martin Sheil: My feeling is that Deutsche Bank has engaged in, for years, the facilitation of tax evasion by wealthy people whether it’s facilitating money laundering, mirror trades for wealthy Russian oligarchs, or by engaging in the sale and promotion of tax shelters for wealthy Americans. They’ve been heavily engaged in doing that. That’s just one more service that Deutsche Bank has provided with little consideration as to the fact that they may well have entered into tax evasion or actually committing crimes in servicing their client.

Jeff Schechtman: Martin Sheil, I thank you so much for spending time with us today.

Martin Sheil: It was my pleasure, Jeff. Any time.

Jeff Schechtman: Thank you, and thank you for listening and for joining us here on Radio WhoWhatWhy. I hope you join us next week for another Radio WhoWhatWhy podcast. I’m Jeff Schechtman.
If you liked this podcast, please feel free to share and help others find it by rating and reviewing it on iTunes. You can also support this podcast and all the work we do by going to WhoWhyWhat.org/Donate.
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby Elvis » Sat Dec 01, 2018 5:09 am

I think Deutsche Bank has paid more fines for toxic securities fraud than Goldman Sachs.

The Violation Tracker site is pretty cool, easy lookup of just about any company regulated by SEC et al., showing fines, offenses etc.

https://www.goodjobsfirst.org/violation-tracker

Violation Tracker Parent Company Summary

Parent Company Name: Deutsche Bank
Ownership Structure: publicly traded (ticker symbol DB)
Headquartered in: Germany
Major Industry: financial services
Specific Industry: banking & securities

Penalty total since 2000: $12,489,545,403
Number of records: 28

Top 10 Primary Offense Types Penalty Total Number of Records

toxic securities abuses $9,472,300,000 4
interest rate benchmark manipulation $1,951,600,000 5
tax violations $679,659,153 3
investor protection violation $174,950,000 5
securities issuance or trading violation $103,200,000 2
banking violation $58,000,000 1
anti-money-laundering deficiencies $41,000,000 1
data submission deficiencies $4,150,000 2
accounting fraud or deficiencies $3,000,000 1
energy market manipulation $1,670,000 1


Individual Penalty Records:

Company Primary Offense Type Year Agency Penalty Amount
Deutsche Bank toxic securities abuses 2017 DOJ_CIVIL $7,200,000,000
Deutsche Bank AG toxic securities abuses 2013 FHFA $1,925,000,000
Deutsche Bank interest rate benchmark manipulation 2015 CFTC $800,000,000
Deutsche Bank AG interest rate benchmark manipulation 2015 DOJ_CRIMINAL $775,000,000
Deutsche Bank AG tax violations 2010 USAO $553,633,153
Deutsche Bank AG toxic securities abuses 2012 USAO $202,300,000
Deutsche Bank AG interest rate benchmark manipulation 2017 FED $156,600,000
DB Group Services (UK) Limited interest rate benchmark manipulation 2017 DOJ_ANTITRUST $150,000,000
Deutsche Bank Securities toxic securities abuses 2011 NCUA $145,000,000
Deutsche Bank tax violations 2017 USAO $95,000,000
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. investor protection violation 2004 SEC $87,500,000
Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. securities issuance or trading violation 2018 SEC $73,200,000
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. interest rate benchmark manipulation 2018 CFTC $70,000,000
Deutsche Bank AG banking violation 2015 FED $58,000,000
Deutsche Bank AG investor protection violation 2015 SEC $55,000,000
Deutsche Bank AG anti-money-laundering deficiencies 2017 FED $41,000,000
Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA tax violations 2015 DOJ_TAX $31,026,000
Deutsche Bank AG and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. securities issuance or trading violation 2018 CFTC $30,000,000
Deutsche Bank investor protection violation 2016 SEC $18,500,000
Deutsche Bank Securities investor protection violation 2016 SEC $9,500,000
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. investor protection violation 2018 SEC $4,450,000
Deutsche Bank Securities accounting fraud or deficiencies 2014 CFTC $3,000,000
Deutsche Bank AG data submission deficiencies 2015 CFTC $2,500,000
Deutsche Bank Energy Trading LL energy market manipulation 2013 FERC $1,670,000
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. data submission deficiencies 2002 SEC $1,650,000
Deutsche Bank economic sanction violation 2004 OFAC $5,500
Deutsche Bank A.G. economic sanction violation 2003 OFAC $5,500
DEUTSCHE BANK USA workplace safety or health violation 2013 OSHA $5,250


https://violationtracker.goodjobsfirst. ... tsche-bank
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:49 am


DEUTSCHE BANK, TRUMP’S SUGAR DADDY, RAIDED BY POLICE ON SUSPICION OF MONEY LAUNDERING

The German lender, who Trump owes $300 million, is not having a great morning.

Bess LevinNovember 29, 2018 12:35 pm

“Pullin’ for ya!”
By Drew Angerer/Getty Images.
The past few years have not been the best of times for Deutsche Bank. In fact, one might characterize them as whatever is German for anni fucking horribiles, which is to say that at various points the lender has: failed its stress test; released its own (!) internal survey showing that a large number of employees are embarrassed to admit they work at the bank; had Bloomberg call its C.E.O. a failure; seen its net income fall off a cliff; had a pair of traders convicted of manipulating Libor; and conducted an internal probe that shows it might have “handled about $150 billion” of the $230 billion that was laundered out of Russia’s Danske bank. And on Thursday, this happened:

German police raided Deutsche Bank’s offices in Frankfurt in a probe of money laundering against the country’s flagship lender. . . . The public prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt said an evaluation of data from the Panama Papers had triggered suspicion that the bank may have helped customers create offshore companies in tax havens around the world.

In 2016 alone, more than 900 customers with a business volume of 311 million euros ($353.6 million) were thought to have been cared for by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary based in the British Virgin Islands, the prosecutor said. . . . Two Deutsche Bank staff members are suspected of helping clients set up offshore businesses to launder money gained from criminal deeds.

In a statement, Deutsche Bank confirmed that “police are currently investigating our bank at various locations in Germany,” that “the investigation concerns the Panama Papers,” and that it will “of course cooperate closely with the prosecutors here in Frankfurt.”

Potentially helping customers create offshore accounts to avoid taxes is, of course, not the only problem facing the German lender at the moment. After Democrats flipped the House earlier this month, Representative Maxine Waters, who will head the House Financial Services Committee, said Deutsche’s ties to Donald Trump will be a focus of scrutiny. In particular, Democrats would like to understand why, at a time when no one on Wall Street wouldn’t touch the real-estate developer with a 100-foot pole, Deutsche lent him hundreds of millions of dollars, which the president still owes the bank—“We want to know some things about that,” Waters told Bloomberg TV earlier this month.

So far, the bank has done its best to stonewall requests for this type of information, first ignoring them altogether, and then claiming that it wasn’t authorized to share those types of details—despite their potential to shed light on whether the president of the United States is beholden to a guy whose name rhymes with Shmladimir Shmutin. But it seems Deutsche has been more amenable to special counsel Robert Mueller, who reportedly subpoenaed the bank last fall. At the time, there was some debate over whether Deutsche had turned over documents to the special counsel, and if so, to what they pertained (initial reports suggested they had to do with Trump’s family finances, but subsequent stories said they involved Paul Manafort, and White House lawyer John Dowd held at the time that “no subpoena had been issued or received”). Trump’s reaction was less ambiguous: according to The New York Times, when he heard the news that Mueller was digging into his relationship with the bank, he “told advisers in no uncertain terms that Mr. Mueller’s investigation had to be shut down.”
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Re: Deutsche Bank: A Global Bank for Oligarchs

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:15 am



Trump's financial disclosures showed he held roughly $360 million in debt to the bank prior to his election as president, The Washington Post reported.

Last year, Deutsche Bank was fined roughly $630 million by New York and British law enforcement for its role in a Russian money-laundering scheme.







Schiff explains why he wants to obtain Trump's Deutsche Bank records

"The concern about Deutsche Bank is they have a history of laundering Russian money," Schiff said.

Dec. 16, 2018 / 1:20 PM ET
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the likely incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" Sunday that he wants to obtain President Donald Trump's records with Deutsche Bank because they could expose "a form of compromise" with Russia.

Schiff told The New Yorker in a profile published last week that he plans to subpoena information on Trump's transactions with the bank because of the German financial institution's longtime relationship with Trump and its past ties to Russian money laundering. Schiff, who Trump has referred to as "little Adam Schitt," said the answer to whether the president was involved with Russian money laundering could exist in the Deutsche Bank records.

"Well, the concern about Deutsche Bank is that they have a history of laundering Russian money," Schiff told Todd on Sunday. "And this, apparently, was the one bank that was willing to do business with the Trump Organization."

"If this is a form of compromise, it needs to be exposed," he added.

Trump has been associated with the German bank since the late 1990s, a time when the big Wall Street banks wouldn't lend to him following a series of business mishaps.

Earlier this year, The New York Times reported that news stories — which were inaccurate — about special counsel Robert Mueller having subpoenaed records from the bank led Trump to consider firing the Mueller in early December.

In September, journalist Bob Woodward reported in "Fear: Trump in the White House," that the president exploded at his former attorney John Dowd after reading those erroneous news reports.

Woodward wrote in the book that after learning of the news, a furious Trump phoned Dowd to voice his displeasure.

"This is bulls---!" Trump said.

The president said last year that Mueller looking into his business dealings would be crossing "a red line."

Trump's financial disclosures showed he held roughly $360 million in debt to the bank prior to his election as president, The Washington Post reported.

Last year, Deutsche Bank was fined roughly $630 million by New York and British law enforcement for its role in a Russian money-laundering scheme.

Allan Smith is a political reporter for NBC News.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/ncna94 ... ssion=true
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