Deutsche Bank Declines to Disclose Trump's Account Information, Citing Privacy Laws

By Jenny Strasburg Features Dow Jones Newswires

Deutsche Bank AG told U.S. Democratic lawmakers the German lender can't disclose details requested about its banking relationship with President Donald Trump, citing customer privacy rules, according to a letter from bank lawyers posted on its website.

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Deutsche Bank also declined to provide lawmakers details of internal reviews into certain Russian trades and clients, saying the bank has settled several investigations into its trading and compliance practices and continues to cooperate with authorities looking into the matters.

The letter was dated Thursday and signed by two Washington, D.C.-based partners with law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, on behalf of Deutsche Bank. One of the lawyers referred questions to Deutsche Bank.

A Deutsche Bank spokesman said Friday that the bank wants to cooperate but must obey the law.

In May, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and four other Democrats asked Deutsche Bank Chief Executive John Cryan to disclose materials related to any internal reviews into Mr. Trump's accounts and any connections between those accounts and Russia. Representatives of Rep. Waters's office couldn't immediately be reached.

The lawmakers asked for details of any Deutsche Bank reviews into whether loans to Mr. Trump "were backed by guarantees from the Russian government, or were in any way connected to Russia." They also asked for due-diligence documentation and details of assets and guarantees backing the loans to Mr. Trump, requesting the information by June 2.

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Deutsche Bank has previously faced similar requests for information. Democratic lawmakers have lacked Republican support to demand disclosures from the bank.

Deutsche Bank has faced months of scrutiny over controls around its Russia operations, including roughly $10 billion in equity trades that are a matter of a continuing U.S. Justice Department investigation, and for its ties to Mr. Trump.

The bank lent more than $300 million to Mr. Trump-affiliated entities, disclosures show.

U.S. investigators more broadly are looking into any ties between Russian financial institutions, Mr. Trump and anyone affiliated with him. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia and has said he hopes the inquiries will soon end. Russia has denied interfering in the 2016 election.

Deutsche Bank's letter Thursday said U.S. law prevents the bank from disclosing information about customer accounts, loans or other transactions, as well as information about internal reviews of those accounts. "This is true even if the individual is a government official or well-known person, and even in circumstances where the individual has made some disclosure regarding their relationship with their banking institution," the lawyers said in the letter.

Write to Jenny Strasburg at jenny.strasburg@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 09, 2017 08:37 ET (12:37 GMT)