WASHINGTON – US President Donald Trump’s attorney denied on Tuesday that Germany’s Deutsche Bank provided information about the mogul’s accounts to the special counsel heading the Russia probe, Robert Mueller, as several media outlets had reported earlier in the day.
In a statement, Jay Sekulow, one of the president’s lawyers, said that Mueller had not issued a subpoena to Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank, as The Wall Street Journal and the German daily Handelsblatt had reported earlier.
“We have confirmed that the news reports that the special counsel had subpoenaed financial records relating to the president are false,” said Sekulow in a brief statement. “No subpoena has been issued or received. We have confirmed this with the bank and other sources.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, Mueller several weeks ago sent to the bank a request for information about bank accounts owned by Trump and people close to him, including his relatives.
With the aim of guaranteeing the independence of the Russia probe, the Department of Justice in May designated Mueller – the former FBI director – as special counsel to examine the potential links between the Kremlin and Trump’s election campaign.
According to the German daily Handelsblatt on Tuesday, the FBI asked Deutsche Bank several weeks ago for the information on the US leader’s accounts there.
Before becoming president, Trump had accounts at Deutsche Bank for his real estate businesses.
Deutsche Bank, which to date has invoked banking secrecy rules to avoid providing the information, granted some $300 million in loans to Trump.
A spokesman for the bank would only confirm that the financial institution is “cooperating” with the investigatory authorities without providing further details, the daily reported.
Germany’s top bank has been one of the big providers of liquidity for the Trump family and one of the few financial entities not to back off extending loans to the mogul, although other banks had detected significant risk in some of his business activities and refused to lend to him.
In June, several media outlets published reports that Deutsche Bank made a $285 million loan to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, a month before the election as part of a refinancing maneuver on one of Kushner’s New York properties.
The president said in a July interview with The New York Times that if Mueller began investigating his, or his family’s, finances, that would cross a “red line” and would be a violation, since Mueller is ostensibly investigating the Russia connection and not the mogul’s personal business activities.
So far, Mueller’s investigation has resulted in indictments against four people linked to Trump: his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn; his former campaign chief, Paul Manafort, and Manafort’s No. 2 official, Rick Gates; and former adviser George Papadopoulos.