FBI eyes Deutsche Bank after money-laundering report

FILE - This Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, file photo shows the towers of the Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany. The FBI has reached out to a lawyer for a former Deutsche Bank employee who complained that the bank was ignoring suspicious transactions, including some involving Jared Kushner’s family real estate company. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)

NEW YORK — The FBI has reached out to a lawyer for a former Deutsche Bank employee who complained that the bank was ignoring suspicious transactions, including some involving Jared Kushner's family real estate company.

The former Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering specialist, Tammy McFadden, told The New York Times in May that she had recommended that the bank alert the Treasury Department to a series of money transfers from the Kushner Cos. to Russian individuals in 2016, but the bank decided against it.

McFadden's lawyer, Brian McCafferty, told the Times in a story published Wednesday that he was recently contacted by the FBI about his client.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the Times story, other than to say it will cooperate with any "authorized investigations."

Kushner Cos. released a statement saying "any allegations regarding Deutsche Bank's relationship with Kushner Companies which involved money laundering is completely made up and totally false."

McCafferty did not respond to messages left by The Associated Press.

Banks are required to report certain suspicious transactions to the Treasury Department, but have discretion over what triggers a report. Transactions are typically vetted at several levels at banks and many are ultimately not sent to Treasury. Financial institutions reported more than 2 million suspicious transactions last year. Most such reports don't lead to a criminal case.

In a report in the Times in May, McFadden criticized the bank's practices, saying it had a pattern of rejecting proposed suspicious activity reports involving prized clients.

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law, was CEO of Kushner Cos before the election, but stepped down afterward to become one of Trump's senior advisers.

The Times in May also reported, citing anonymous former and current bank employees, that several transactions involving President Donald Trump's company were flagged at the bank as suspicious but were not passed on to the Treasury Department.

The Trump Organization did not respond to email and text messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Two congressional committees have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank documents as part their investigations into President Donald Trump and his company. Deutsche Bank has been one for the few banks willing to lend to Trump after a series of corporate bankruptcies and defaults starting in the early 90s.

Trump had sued Deutsche Bank to stop the subpoenas, but a judge in May ruled against the president.

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