Anti-money laundering specialists at Deutsche Bank AG recommended in 2016 and 2017 that multiple transactions involving entities controlled by US President Donald Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, be reported to a federal financial-crimes watchdog, the New York Times has reported.
The newspaper, citing five current and former Deutsche Bank employees, said executives at the German-based bank, which has lent billions of dollars to the Trump and Kushner companies, rejected their employees' advice and the reports were never filed with the government.
Deutsche Bank denied the report but shares in Germany's largest bank hit a new low today, below a previous minimum set in December.
At 11.50am, shares traded down 3.2% at €6.62.
The compliance allegations are the latest in a wave of problems to beset the bank which faces investors at its annual meeting on Thursday.
The Times said 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 the 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, according to the newspaper.
Deutsche Bank responded with a denial of the report.
"At no time was an investigator prevented from escalating activity identified as potentially suspicious," the bank said in a statement.
"Furthermore, the suggestion that anyone was reassigned orfired in an effort to quash concerns relating to any client iscategorically false."
In a series of tweets, Mr Trump dismissed the claims as fake news and said Deutsche Bank was "very good and highly professional to deal with".
The Failing New York Times (it will pass away when I leave office in 6 years), and others of the Fake News Media, keep writing phony stories about how I didn’t use many banks because they didn’t want to do business with me. WRONG! It is because I didn’t need money. Very old— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019
....Now the new big story is that Trump made a lot of money and buys everything for cash, he doesn’t need banks. But where did he get all of that cash? Could it be Russia? No, I built a great business and don’t need banks, but if I did they would be there...and DeutscheBank......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019
.....was very good and highly professional to deal with - and if for any reason I didn’t like them, I would have gone elsewhere....there was always plenty of money around and banks to choose from. They would be very happy to take my money. Fake News!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019
Deutsche is facing a series of headaches.
Investors are calling on the bank to scale back its investment bank after talks to merge with a rival failed and amid a grim profit outlook. European regulators also fear Deutsche could fail US stress tests.
The Times reported the bank employees viewed the decision not to report the transactions as a result of a lax approach to money laundering laws.
They said there was a pattern of bank executives rejecting reports to protect relationships with lucrative clients, according to the newspaper.
One employee who reviewed some of the transactions said she was terminated last year after raising concerns about the bank's practices, the Times reported.
A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization told Reuters "the story is absolute nonsense." "We have no knowledge of any 'flagged' transactions with Deutsche Bank. In fact, we have no operating accounts with Deutsche Bank," she said.
The newspaper said a Kushner Companies spokeswoman called any allegations of relationships involving money laundering" made up and totally false."
The Times said the nature of the transactions was not clear.
At least some of them involved money flowing back and forth with overseas entities or individuals, which bank employees considered suspicious.
The report surfaces at a time when congressional and New York state authorities are investigating the relationship between Mr Trump, his family and Deutsche Bank, and demanding documents related to any suspicious activity.
Mr Trump has sued in court in an attempt to block US House of Representatives subpoenas for his financial records that were sent to Deutsche Bank, Capital One Financial Corp and the accounting firm Mazars LLP.