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Democrats ask Fed to scrutinize Deutsche Bank over Trump transactions

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Washington (AFP)

Top US Senate Democrats on Thursday asked the Federal Reserve to scrutinize Deutsche Bank over allegedly suspicious transactions tied to President Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The letter from Ohio's Sherrod Brown, ranking Democrat on a Senate banking panel, and other lawmakers follows recent reporting in The New York Times quoting whistleblowers who accused senior Deutsche Bank staff of deliberately suppressing warnings of suspicious activity.

Deutsche Bank was one of the few lenders to keep Trump afloat after his repeated bankruptcies in the 1990s.

"In light of these most recent press accounts, and Deutsche Bank's extensive history of violations, which have prompted huge penalties for the bank, we urge you to undertake a thorough evaluation of the Bank's compliance" with US money-laundering statutes, the letter said.

It was also signed by presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has long campaigned for stricter oversight of the financial sector, and five other Democrats.

"We have received the letter and plan to respond," a Federal Reserve spokesperson told AFP.

A Deutsche Bank representative declined to comment.

According to the Times, between 2016 and 2017 anti-money-laundering compliance staff in Florida flagged Trump- and Kushner-tied transactions with Russians and other individuals outside the United States as suspicious.

But more senior bank staff allegedly blocked attempts to notify regulators at the US Treasury Department, something Deutsche Bank has denied. Representatives for Trump's and Kushner's business interests have also reportedly denied wrongdoing.

In testimony last month, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told lawmakers he would ask the department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to review the matter.

"I am not aware of whether this is true or not true but we will have FinCEN follow up," he said.

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