Geldwäsche
September 6, 2019 11:00 AM   Subscribe

U.S. congressional investigators have identified possible failures in Deutsche Bank's money laundering controls in its dealings with Russian oligarchs (Reuters, Sept. 6) Here is what might be lurking in Deutsche Bank’s electronic vaults about the president, his family and his businesses (NYT, updated Sept. 4)

Last week, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell reported the claim (from "a single source close to Deutsche Bank") that "the co-signers of Donald Trump's Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin". He retracted this claim after the Trump Organization threatened to sue NBCUniversal, prompting a presidential tweet.

Trump Organization Executive Vice President Eric Trump, who once told a reporter "We have all the funding we need out of Russia," tweeted "as a company, we will be taking legal action."

"Needless to say, there would be a fascinating level of discovery in such a lawsuit." (Newsweek) "Ordinarily these suits backfire." (Law & Crime)

Previously: Deutsche Bank and Trump: $2 Billion in Loans and a Wary Board (NYT, March 2019) The Thinly Sourced Theories about Trump’s Loans and Justice Kennedy’s Son (WaPo, July 2018)
posted by box (23 comments total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
 
"the co-signers of Donald Trump's Deutsche Bank loans are Russian billionaires close to Vladimir Putin"

that wouldn't be so much a failure of controls as the failure to attempt to have any control whatsoever.

The insistence on documentation of wrong doing is sort of darkly hilarious to me. These are people who have risen to levels of power at multinational banking conglomerates. Do we think they are in the habit of documenting their crimes, or do we think they are instead experts at maintaining hugely complex castles of plausible deniability?

Either way, they're not idiots. They knew where the money was coming from and they knew why. They all knew. They only cared that they could pretend not to know.

The whole game is finding things you can take advantage of that you don't have to take responsibility for. That is literally how finance works.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:10 AM on September 6 [31 favorites]


You know it's going to have been handled by Justice Kennedy's son, too. That's the kind of reality we live in now.
posted by odinsdream at 11:14 AM on September 6 [13 favorites]


Trump may have committed tax fraud by fabricating a loan to avoid paying income taxes on nearly $50 million

And, big surprise here, Deutsche Bank is involved with this as well.
posted by JoeZydeco at 11:14 AM on September 6 [15 favorites]


These are people who have risen to levels of power at multinational banking conglomerates. Do we think they are in the habit of documenting their crimes

I would not be surprised if so, for some of them. There are tiers—the people who just openly put dirty stuff into emails or docs, the people who know enough to respond to emails like that with “can you give me a call?”, and the people who know to pick up the phone (or walk down the hall) instead of using email at all. But even some of the smarter people will use crazily telling file names for documents or subject lines on calendar invites, or other things will give them away (the group of people they invite to an emergency meeting, handwritten unsigned notes, internal messaging systems, etc). It’s not even just that some bigwigs are foolish (some are! The ones who fill work emails with gossip!), but there’s something about electronic communication that fools users into forgetting its permanence. And also, the way a lot of these jobs work—consuming hours, everything done last minute, working remotely across continents with big groups of people all stressed out—leads to lots of communication without thought.
posted by sallybrown at 11:22 AM on September 6 [9 favorites]


"Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?"
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:38 AM on September 6 [26 favorites]


"Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?"

One of my favorites was an emailed response to a really bad email saying something like “you shouldn’t put stuff like this in email, just call me next time.”

Oops!
posted by sallybrown at 11:44 AM on September 6 [17 favorites]


Nepotism and Russian money? Deutsche Bank paid the SEC $16 million two weeks ago to settle Foreign Corrupt Practices Act offenses related to its hiring of relatives of public officials in China and Russia: ‘We must do it’: Deutsche Bank allegedly hired children of Russian, Chinese officials to win work (WaPo).
posted by peeedro at 11:44 AM on September 6 [5 favorites]


Nepotism and Russian money?

It's more likely than you think.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:50 AM on September 6 [11 favorites]


When you move the money around, you need to write down where you put it so you can find it later. That's why you used to have two sets of books. Making it all electronic doesn't change that.

My fear is not so much that they can successfully hide all their tracks, as that the will to follow those tracks we do find is lacking because big important people make sure it is.
posted by emjaybee at 12:14 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Nepotism and Russian money?

It's more likely than you think.


Hilariously, it's exactly as likely as I think. These venal stupid rich idiots assume they'll never get caught. OMG do I hope they're wrong. So far however, no matter how much we seem to catch them red handed they continue to get away with it.
So yes, I'm laughing because it's less taxing than crying or screaming.
posted by evilDoug at 12:21 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Hasn't Deutsche Bank been at the core of numerous global money laundering schemes over the last two decades, Trump and Russian oligarchs notwithstanding?

I'm very surprised that the German government hasn't broken them up and incarcerated its management and key stakeholders, who must be very well connected at the highest levels of governance.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:50 PM on September 6 [7 favorites]


"I am shocked -- shocked! -- that there is gambling going on in this establishment."

(The FPP's title is ausgezeichnet, too.)
posted by wenestvedt at 1:09 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


This is kind of related. Could we already be in a recession?

A recession is defined by two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

The second quarter growth for 2019 stands at 2.0% (unrevised), a marked slowdown.

In 2008 (table, midway down), the first quarter final estimate for growth was at 1.0% before revision. The most recently revised estimate was -2.1%. (It wasn't revised into the negative until 2010)
The second quarter (2008) did grow, final estimate 2.8%, most recent revision 2.1%).
The third quarter (2008) final estimate showed a growth of 0.5% which was revised to -2.1%.
The fourth quarter (2008) final estimate said -6.3. This was revised to -8.4%.

So, for 2008, when the Great Recession began, the early GDP figures were later revised downward by an average of -2.2% per quarter.

My point is that when the economy is contracting, sometimes we don't know immediately.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 1:31 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


None of this shit matters until Trump et al are charged and that’s never going to happen. It’s a waste of energy to even think about it. The bad guys won.
posted by photoslob at 3:33 PM on September 6 [6 favorites]


When you move the money around, you need to write down where you put it so you can find it later.

"We must take special care of the list with each client’s name and the amount of money he has invested. If we were to lose that list, we would be ruined."
posted by The Tensor at 3:34 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


"None of this shit matters until Trump et al are charged and that’s never going to happen. It’s a waste of energy to even think about it. The bad guys won."

Every little bit of sand in the gears and friction in the system, every bit of exposure to the public and every legal stumbling block help slow down the train. If that's all I can have right now then I'll take it because less evil is better than more evil.

Trump being charged and jailed would be nice and the icing of the cake. But it's much more important to simply slow all of it down and prevent as much as possible of their agenda from being implemented and realized. It's perhaps less viscerally satisfying but nevertheless way more important than seeing Trump in chains.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:55 PM on September 6 [33 favorites]


NBCUniversal got on its knees for a second-rate hotel chain run by the president's sons who recused themselves from politics? The hell you say.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:06 PM on September 6 [3 favorites]


Welcome to a world were a mere two billion dollars is considered alot of money to play why & sweep.

Then again, Nixon was undone by a piece of tape.

Which led to more tape.
posted by clavdivs at 8:11 PM on September 6 [5 favorites]


That is literally how finance works.
posted by schadenfrau at 2:10 PM

Like GMAC. Trick is, get your buyer to build the product, sell at reduced price and let human nature in.
posted by clavdivs at 8:17 PM on September 6


I would not be surprised if so, for some of them. There are tiers—the people who just openly put dirty stuff into emails or docs, the people who know enough to respond to emails like that with “can you give me a call?”, and the people who know to pick up the phone (or walk down the hall) instead of using email at all. But even some of the smarter people will use crazily telling file names for documents or subject lines on calendar invites, or other things will give them away (the group of people they invite to an emergency meeting, handwritten unsigned notes, internal messaging systems, etc). It’s not even just that some bigwigs are foolish (some are! The ones who fill work emails with gossip!), but there’s something about electronic communication that fools users into forgetting its permanence. And also, the way a lot of these jobs work—consuming hours, everything done last minute, working remotely across continents with big groups of people all stressed out—leads to lots of communication without thought.

And bless all these people, they paid off six figures of student loans for me.
posted by praemunire at 8:42 PM on September 6 [4 favorites]


Some Russian oligarch asked Deustche bank to give Trump a sweetheart loan so he could launder money for them through shady real estate dealings. There's Trump and Deutsche bank's involvement with VTB, a Russian bank under sanctions. There's Trump flipping a property in Florida in 4 years at a 50 million profit after making no improvements. There's Deutsche bank filing suspicious activity reports on Kushner payments to Russians. There's Trump getting huge loans from Deustche bank, despite likely being worth nothing. Russian oligarchs are essentially the government, so if you're into any of them, you're under Putin's thumb. Will it matter? Who knows. We'll see.
posted by xammerboy at 11:04 PM on September 6 [10 favorites]


"Is you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?"

Alternatively:

"You start to follow the money, and you don't know where the fuck it's gonna take you."
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:51 AM on September 7 [2 favorites]


I remember walking through Hyde Park in 2003 and some guy was standing on a box yelling about regular banks financing drugs barons and war profiteers and the whole machinery of crime greased by loose financing, and now I'm starting to think I'm turning into one of those nutters, as well.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 10:52 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]


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