Now, a growing number of U.S. investigators want to know more. Last week, the heads of two congressional committees asked Deutsche Bank for information related to its lending practices and its role in a series of money laundering scandals, according to several news reports. Federal agencies are asking questions too.
The House is preparing to investigate Deutsche Bank’s handling of suspicious transactions from Denmark’s Danske Bank, according to a report in Politico. Danske Bank is now is under investigation in relation to a massive, international money laundering scheme involving its Estonian branch banks.
On Thursday, Rep. Patrick McHenry of the House Financial Services Committee sent a letter to Deutsche Bank. The North Carolina Republican asked for information on how the bank is handling its “vulnerabilities” to money laundering. The next day, Politico reported that Democratic chairs of two House committees sent questions to Deutsche Bank “as part of a congressional investigation into the German bank’s longstanding business relationship with President Donald Trump.”
The McHenry letter seeks “documents that outline what internal and independent reviews have turned up about how the bank shields against illicit transactions.”
He wrote that Deutsche Bank has leveraged its access to the US banking system to work with a branch of Danske Bank now under investigation for money laundering.
“It is critically important for the American public to have confidence Deutsche Bank is adequately addressing the vulnerabilities that allowed billions of dollars tied to criminal activities to move through the international banking system,” McHenry wrote.
He asked for any documents related to the banks “internal analysis of its process to identify and vet customers.”
In November, former Danske employee Howard Wilkinson testified before the European Parliament about lack of whistleblower protections in the EU. He also testified that it has been revealed at least ten banks were involved in the flow of illegal money through Danske’s Estonian branch. However, little is known about how the banks have responded, he said.
U.S. banks were the last stop for money, he said, and then “it was out, clear, into the global system.”
Wilkinson anonymously reported in 2013 that customers were using hundreds of phony shell companies to move hundreds of millions of dollars in violation of money laundering laws. In September, he was identified without his consent.
In addition to McHenry, two Democratic representatives have sent questions to Deutsche Bank “as part of a congressional investigation into the German bank’s longstanding business relationship with President Donald Trump,” according to the Politico report.
The request came from newly empowered Democrats, both from California: Rep. Maxine Waters who leads House Financial Services and Rep. Adam Schiff, House Intelligence Committee chairman.
Both the Federal Reserve and U.S. Department of Justice are also reportedly looking into the Danske Bank activities.