06 Aug 2020
The New York prosecutors who are seeking President Trump’s tax records have also subpoenaed his longtime lender, a sign that their criminal investigation into Mr. Trump’s business practices is more wide-ranging than previously known.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office issued the subpoena last year to Deutsche Bank, which has been Mr. Trump’s primary lender since the late 1990s, seeking financial records that he and his company provided to the bank, according to four people familiar with the inquiry.
The criminal investigation initially appeared to be focused on hush-money payments made in 2016 to two women who have said they had affairs with Mr. Trump.
But in a court filing this week, prosecutors with the district attorney’s office cited “public reports of possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization” and suggested that they were also investigating possible crimes involving bank and insurance fraud.
Because of its longstanding and multifaceted relationship with Mr. Trump, Deutsche Bank has been a frequent target of regulators and lawmakers digging into the president’s opaque finances. But the subpoena from the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., appears to be the first instance of a criminal inquiry involving Mr. Trump and his dealings with the German bank, which lent him and his company more than $2 billion over the past two decades.
Deutsche Bank complied with the subpoena. Over a period of months last year, it provided Mr. Vance’s office with detailed records, including financial statements and other materials that Mr. Trump had provided to the bank as he sought loans, according to two of the people familiar with the inquiry.
The bank’s response to the subpoena reinforces the seriousness of the legal threat the district attorney’s investigation poses for Mr. Trump, his family and his company, which in recent years have faced — and for the most part fended off — an onslaught of regulatory, congressional and criminal inquiries.
But while the subpoena of Deutsche Bank indicates the breadth of Mr. Vance’s investigation, his inquiry is still at an early stage, a person briefed on the matter said.
The district attorney’s office has spent the past year trying to obtain Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate tax returns, and the Supreme Court last month upheld prosecutors’ rights to seek the documents. But legal wrangling continues, and Mr. Vance’s office has said that its investigation will be hamstrung unless prosecutors get the tax returns.
Mr. Trump and his company have denied wrongdoing and have sought to dismiss the inquiry by Mr. Vance, a Democrat, as a politically motivated fishing expedition. Mr. Trump’s representatives have accused his former lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, of lying when he told Congress that Mr. Trump exaggerated the value of his real estate assets as he sought loans and in dealings with his insurance company.
The subpoena to Deutsche Bank sought documents on various topics related to Mr. Trump and his company, including any materials that might point to possible fraud, according to two people briefed on the subpoena’s contents.
By David Enrich, Ben Protess, William K. Rashbaum and Benjamin Weiser, The New York Times, 5 August 2020
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