Deutsche Bank Again Rebuffs Democratic Lawmakers' Requests for Trump Accounts

By Jenny Strasburg Features Dow Jones Newswires

Deutsche Bank AG again told U.S. Democratic lawmakers that it won't disclose details about its relationship with President Donald Trump, the latest in a back-and-forth focused on the German lender and questions about its clients' Russian connections.

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Lawyers for Deutsche Bank rebuffed arguments by Rep. Maxine Waters of California, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, and four other Democrats, who said last month the bank was too broadly interpreting bank-secrecy laws and could, in fact, legally disclose confidential client records and other bank materials in response to the lawmakers' requests.

In a letter Thursday from Deutsche Bank lawyers, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the lender reiterated its position that confidentiality rules prohibit it from revealing details about its clients or their business with the bank.

Individual members of Congress don't have the same standing as a full Congressional committee or investigators in a formal Congressional or regulatory inquiry, the bank's lawyers said. "We respectfully disagree with the suggestion that Deutsche Bank freely may reveal confidential financial information in response to requests from individual members of Congress," the Deutsche Bank lawyers said in the letter.

A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter.

Ms. Waters said in a statement that Deutsche Bank "has not complied with even the most basic of our requests for information." She said her office would continue to "follow the Trump money trail," after failing to get Deutsche Bank to detail internal reviews of Mr. Trump's accounts or any potential connections between those accounts and Russia.

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A White House spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.

U.S. investigators are looking for possible ties between Russian financial institutions, Mr. Trump and anyone affiliated with him. Mr. Trump has repeatedly denied any collusion between his campaign and Russia. Russia has denied interfering in the 2016 elections.

Public disclosures show Deutsche Bank lent more than $300 million to entities affiliated with Mr. Trump. The German lender has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in fines in the U.S. and the U.K. for shortcomings in its money-laundering controls and other matters tied to its Russia business.

Democratic lawmakers have lacked Republican support to demand additional information they have sought from the bank.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 29, 2017 20:29 ET (00:29 GMT)