NEW YORK – President Donald Trump’s biggest lender won’t have to give up a part of its business as punishment stemming from a criminal conviction thanks to a temporary reprieve from the administration.
The Labor Department has granted Deutsche Bank a waiver from punishment allowing it to continue to manage retirement accounts for another three years, according to an announcement in the Federal Registry last month. Four other banks convicted in the case were also granted waivers.
Deutsche Bank has been a big lender to Trump over the years, and the president still has loans with the bank that were originally worth $300 million.
The Trump administration waivers are a continuation of previous government policy. The Obama administration had granted the banks temporary waivers under a so-called deferred prosecution agreement with them after their 2015 convictions for manipulating a key interest rate used for loans worldwide.
The waivers were reported earlier on Wednesday by the International Business Times.
How the administration handles Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank has drawn scrutiny from good-government groups, given the bank’s big role in the president’s business. It also has also reportedly drawn the attention of federal prosecutors and investigators.
German business newspaper Handelsblatt reported last month that special prosecutor Robert Mueller has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, seeking records as part of his investigation into allegations that Russia helped Trump win the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Deutsche Bank had no comment at the time, and a lawyer for Trump denied that Mueller had subpoenaed Deutsche records relating to the president.
Deutsche Bank is also a big lender to the family real estate company once run by Trump senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. In 2016, Deutsche Bank lent $285 million to affiliates of the Kushner Cos. to refinance a loan used to purchase of the retail floors in the old New York Times building in Manhattan.
Last month, the New York Times cited unnamed sources saying federal prosecutors in Brooklyn had asked Deutsche Bank for records related the Kushner Cos.
The Labor Department waiver stems from the criminal convictions over the manipulation of the London Interbank Loan Rate, or Libor, a measure used to set lending rates for a variety of financial transactions. In 2015, affiliates of Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Citigroup agreed to a deferred prosecution by which they could avoid certain punishments.
After Trump’s disastrous foray into casinos and other business in the 1990s, and several corporate bankruptcy filings, Deutsche Bank was one of the few big financial institutions willing to lend to him. The bank provided key financing for several parts of his business, including the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.