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US congressional panel probing Trump-Deutsche Bank ties

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New York (AFP)

A pair of US congressional committees now under Democratic control have begun probing Deutsche Bank's business dealings with President Donald Trump, a spokesperson for the German bank said Thursday.

The inquiry is a joint effort between House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, two prominent Trump critics who have gained significant investigatory powers with the Democratic victory in the November midterm elections.

"The Bank has received an inquiry from the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees," a Deutsche Bank spokesperson told AFP.

Deutsche Bank was one of the only large western banks to continue to lend to Trump following bankruptcies of his casinos and other businesses in the 1990s. The German bank in recent years has loaned Trump about $300 million.

"The House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees are engaged in productive discussions with Deutsche Bank, and look forward to continued cooperation," Schiff and Waters said in a joint statement.

The bank spokesperson declined to elaborate on the nature of the questions nor clarify if the committees had issued a subpoena, which can lead to sanctions if the recipient subject refuses to cooperate.

"Deutsche Bank is engaged in a productive dialogue with those Committees to determine the best and most appropriate way of assisting them in their official oversight functions," the spokesperson said. "We remain committed to providing appropriate information to all authorized investigations."

A person familiar with the matter said the lawmakers are seeking information on whether Deutsche Bank provided loans on favorable terms to the Trump organization, which now is led by the president's sons, Eric and Donald Trump Jr.

- Growing scrutiny -

The lawmakers also are seeking details on who was involved in a money laundering case in Russia that resulted in a $630 million US fine against the bank in January 2017, the source added.

Democratic lawmakers in May 2017 requested information from Deutsche Bank over its dealings with the Trump family, but the German bank said at the time that it would not cooperate because the information was private.

Growing scrutiny over Deutsche Bank's relationship with Trump adds to the list of concerns facing the bank.

In November, German prosecutors raided several Deutsche Bank offices in the Frankfurt area over suspicions of money laundering based on revelations from the 2016 "Panama Papers" data leak.

The US Federal Reserve also is investigating Deutsche Bank over billions of dollars in suspicious transactions from Denmark's Danske Bank A/S, Bloomberg News reported.

In November, Deutsche Bank confirmed that it also received inquiries from German regulators over Danske.

Deutsche Bank has said it had a "limited role" in relation to Danske, which has been charged in its home country over a massive money-laundering scandal.

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