Deutsche Bank AG earlier this year flagged around $30 million in potentially suspicious transactions as part of an internal investigation into its role as a conduit for money involving Paul Manafort or people and entities connected to him, according to a person briefed on the matter.
The findings, which were discussed inside Deutsche Bank in late spring and early summer, primarily concerned cash flows tied to Manafort, who for about five months was President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign chairman, and Manafort’s former business partner Richard Gates III, the person said.
Deutsche Bank is a major correspondent bank for U.S. dollar transactions around the world. Correspondent banks serve as middlemen in international transactions, facilitating transfers for other banks into countries where they have limited or no operations. Banks can label transactions as suspicious based on origin of funds, specific concerns about parties involved or other reasons.
The discussions at the bank coincided roughly with the appointment in May of Robert Mueller as U.S. special counsel to probe Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to people familiar with the matter.
As scrutiny around several of Trump’s former advisers was heating up, Deutsche Bank executives were assessing the bank’s role in handling hundreds of transactions that might have involved people in Trump’s orbit, have originated in Russia, or both, said some of the people familiar with the matter.
In recent months, the German lender has received several subpoenas in Mueller’s investigation, according to some of the people. A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman declined to comment on any flagged transactions and referred to a previous statement that the bank “takes its legal obligations seriously and remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations into this matter.”