Whether President Donald Trump was being investigated by Democrat-led committees in the U.S. House of Representatives or by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, a name that has often come up in connection with the president is Deutsche Bank — an institution known for dealing with businesses that other large banks shy away from. And Trump’s extensive dealings with Deutsche Bank are the focus of an in-depth article by journalist David Enrich for the New York Times.
Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, Enrich explains, is a “very long, very complicated” one that goes back to 1998.
“Over the course of two decades, the bank lent him more than $2 billion — so much that by the time he was elected, Deutsche Bank was by far his biggest creditor,” Enrich reports. “Against all odds, Trump paid back most of what he owed the bank.”
According to Enrich, that relationship “cemented Deutsche Bank’s reputation as a reckless institution willing to do business with clients nobody else would touch” and has “made the company a magnet for prosecutors, regulators and lawmakers hoping to penetrate the president’s opaque financial affairs.”
In April 2019, Enrich notes, House Democrats “subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for its records on Trump, his family members and his businesses” — and the Trump/Deutsche Bank relationship has been investigated by prosecutors at the state level as well. The bank’s connection to the Trump Organization, according to Enrich, “extended well beyond making simple loans” — and Deutsche Bank “managed tens of millions of dollars of Trump’s personal assets.”
“Deutsche Bank’s envelope-pushing helped it become the global power player it is today, but it also left the company dangerously frail,” Enrich observes. “Its books remain stuffed with trillions of dollars of risky derivatives, the sort of instruments that many other banks have disposed of since the 2008 financial crisis.”
But despite its vulnerabilities, Enrich stresses, Deutsche Bank (which was founded in 1870 and is headquartered in Frankford, Germany) has enjoyed considerable growth in recent decades.
“Until the 1990s, Deutsche Bank was a provincial German company with a limited presence outside Europe,” Enrich reports. “Today, it is a $1.5 trillion colossus, one of the world’s largest banks, with offices in 59 countries — and, thanks to its well-documented pattern of violating laws, an international symbol of greed, recklessness and hubris.”