Deutsche Bank (XE:DBK)
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6 Months : From Jun 2019 to Dec 2019
By Rebecca Ballhaus and Corinne Ramey
This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (August 28, 2019).
Deutsche Bank AG, for decades President Trump's primary lender, has copies of tax returns sought under a congressional subpoena for the president and his family's financial information, the bank told a federal appeals court on Tuesday.
Redactions in the letter Deutsche Bank filed on Tuesday conceal whether they have the president's returns or those of others named in the subpoena.
The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees in April subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for documents and financial records -- including tax returns -- related to Mr. Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and various business entities they own spanning the last decade.
The same month, Mr. Trump and his family sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One Financial Corp., another bank subpoenaed by the House committees for the same information, in an attempt to block the banks from complying with the subpoenas.
In May, after a hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos ruled that Mr. Trump couldn't temporarily block the subpoenas while the case is being decided. Judge Ramos, who was appointed by President Obama, said the subpoenas were a legitimate use of congressional authority.
Mr. Trump's lawyers appealed the district court ruling, and the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hasn't yet ruled on the lawsuit. The House Intelligence Committee declined to comment on ongoing litigation, and the House Financial Services Committee didn't respond to a request for comment. Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for the president, called the subpoena unconstitutional and said, "We will continue in court." The Trump Organization didn't respond to a request for comment.
The bank's disclosure that it has tax returns responsive to the congressional subpoenas raises the stakes for the already heated court battle. Since Democrats took over control of the House in January, they have been trying to obtain the president's tax returns. Mr. Trump in 2016 broke with four decades of precedent for presidential candidates and declined to release his tax returns.
In July, the House Ways and Means Committee sued the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service for the president's tax returns. In a separate dispute, the president sued that committee and New York state officials in an attempt to block his state tax returns from being turned over to the panel.
Lawyers for Mr. Trump have argued the subpoenas target banks that his family and businesses used for private affairs long before his election. They said the subpoenas, which they view as overly broad, amount to a law-enforcement investigation that belongs in the executive branch.
"This is not a case that simply pushes the limits of Congress's ability to compel the production of sensitive, private financial records; it is an attempt to override those limits and insulate Congress's subpoena power from any meaningful review," lawyers representing Mr. Trump and his businesses wrote in court papers filed with the appeals court.
Lawyers representing the House committees have said the investigations are within the scope of congressional authority. "The Financial Services Committee subpoenaed documents from Deutsche Bank and Capital One that will identify any failures in the banks' practices or anti-money-laundering programs, including whether any illicit transactions related to Mr. Trump, his family, or his businesses -- longtime clients of those banks," House lawyers wrote in July.
In court papers, the banks have said they took no position on the matter.
During arguments before judges from the Second Circuit last week, lawyers for the two banks declined to answer questions about whether they were in possession of Mr. Trump's tax returns. The court ordered that both banks file a letter by Tuesday detailing if they possess tax returns from the individuals and entities in question. Capital One said it doesn't have tax returns sought by the subpoena.
Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest lender, has for decades had a relationship with Mr. Trump and his businesses and has been the president's primary bank. Since 1998, the bank has led or participated in loans of at least $2.5 billion to companies affiliated with Mr. Trump, The Wall Street Journal has reported.
Public disclosures during his candidacy showed borrowings from Deutsche Bank of more than $300 million by entities affiliated with Mr. Trump, including two 2012 mortgages -- one valued at more than $50 million and the other at between $5 million and $25 million -- for the Trump National Doral Miami, a Florida golf resort where Mr. Trump has said he wants to host next year's Group of Seven summit.
Write to Rebecca Ballhaus at Rebecca.Ballhaus@wsj.com and Corinne Ramey at Corinne.Ramey@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 28, 2019 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)
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