Deutsche Bank Played an Important Role in The Money Laundering Scandal
The German bank that loaned USD 300M to Donald Trump played a prominent role in a money laundering scandal run by Russian criminals with ties to the Kremlin, according to the Guardian.
Deutsche Bank is one of dozens of western financial institutions that processed at least USD 20BN – and possibly more – in money of “criminal origin” from Russia.
The scheme, dubbed “the Global Laundromat”, ran from 2010 to 2014.
Law enforcement agencies are investigating how a group of politically well-connected Russians were able to use UK-registered companies to launder billions of dollars in cash. The companies made fictitious loans to each other, underwritten by Russian businesses.
The companies would default on these “debts”. Judges in Moldova then made court rulings enforcing judgments against the firms. This allowed Russian bank accounts to transfer huge sums to Moldova legally. From there, the money went to accounts in Latvia with Trasta Komercsbanka.
During this period many Wall Street banks got out of Latvia, citing concerns that the small Baltic country had become a centre for international money laundering, especially from neighbouring Russia.
From 2014, only two western lenders were willing to accept international dollar transfers from Latvian banks. They were Deutsche and Germany’s Commerzbank. Deutsche eventually withdrew correspondent services to Trasta Bank in September 2015.
Six months later, Latvian regulators shut down the bank. They cited repeated violations, and said the bank had failed to deal with its money laundering risk.
Deutsche Bank ended its relationship with Trasta soon after Latvia’s regulator issued a warning, it is understood. In August 2015, the Financial and Capital Markets Commission stopped all transactions above €100,000.
Deutsche’s Private Bank – the division that lends to Trump – appears in the Global Laundromat scheme. Sources suggest that many of its clients are rich Russians, typically with personal assets of m-plus. According to Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung, Deutsche processed more than m of Laundromat cash in 209 transactions.
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