The New York Times broke a major story on Sunday about the relationship of Trump and the Kushner family to Deutsche Bank and money laundering.
One of the more notable passages is -- “The transactions, some of which involved Mr. Trump’s now-defunct foundation, set off alerts in a computer system designed to detect illicit activity, according to five current and former bank employees. Compliance staff members who then reviewed the transactions prepared so-called suspicious activity reports that they believed should be sent to a unit of the Treasury Department that polices financial crimes.”
As the Times reported, Deutsche Bank higher-ups bank rejected the recommendations and were never reported to the U.S. Treasury Department. Oddly, it does not appear that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was able to get this information. As a result, it seems likely that this could bring about another investigation, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning expert on taxes, David Cay Johnston (whose work I love, not that that adds any credibility here -- but still...).
Just because a transaction (or multiple transactions) appear illegal doesn't mean it is, especially in real estate. But Johnston explains in pointed terms how reality in this instance lines up, “We know for a fact that Donald Trump has been involved in money laundering in the past, fined for it. We know that Deutsche Bank is fined over $600 million just for laundering money for Russian oligarchs..." and what we've now also found out is that Deutsche Bank's own computer system alerted them to "illicit activity" in Trump's foundation -- which we know for a fact was just shut down by the New York state Attorney General. We also know that though other banks refused to lend money to Trump, during that same period Deutsche Bank lent him $2.5 billion -- indeed when he became president, Trump owed them $300 million and was the bank's biggest creditor. As a side note, we also know that Trump has sued Deutsche Bank to keep it from releasing bank records that have been subpoenaed.
So much for "full exoneration." So much for, "The Mueller Report is in, so it's all over."
That was only Act One. It's only beginning.
You can read the full Times article here.
Just for the heck of it, lets end with one of my favorite songs by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock, though it's from their least-successful show, Tenderloin, a musical that dealt with the underbelly of New York City. Here's the song about graft, "How the Money Changes Hands."
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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