A U.S. federal investigator probing alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election asked Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) for data on accounts held by President Donald Trump and his family, a person close to the matter said on Tuesday.
Germany’s largest bank received a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller several weeks ago to provide information on certain money and credit transactions, the person said, without giving details, adding key documents had been handed over in the meantime.
Deutsche Bank, which has loaned the Trump organization hundreds of millions of dollars for real estate ventures, said it would not comment on any of its clients.
Mueller is investigating alleged Russian attempts to influence the election, and potential collusion by Trump aides. Russia has denied U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it meddled in the campaign and Trump has said there was no collusion with Moscow.
The German bank is one of the few major lenders that has lent large amounts to Trump in the past decade. A string of bankruptcies at his hotel and casino businesses during the 1990s made most of Wall Street wary of extending him credit.
A U.S. official with knowledge of Mueller’s probe said one reason for the subpoenas was to find out whether Deutsche Bank may have sold some of Trump’s mortgage or other loans to Russian state development bank VEB or other Russian banks that now are under U.S. and European Union sanctions.
Holding such debt, particularly if some of it was or is coming due, could potentially give Russian banks some leverage over Trump, especially if they are state-owned, said a second U.S. official familiar with Russian intelligence methods.
“One obvious question is why Trump and those around him expressed interest in improving relations with Russia as a top foreign policy priority, and whether or not any personal considerations played any part in that,” the second official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
During his White House campaign, Trump said he would seek to improve ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which had been frequently strained during President Barack Obama’s administration.
There was no immediate response to the Deutsche Bank subpoena from Trump’s lawyers.
The subpoena was earlier reported by German daily Handelsblatt.
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