Kushner Bank Ties Probed -- WSJ

03/01/18 02:47 AM EST
By Emily Glazer, Erica Orden and Jenny Strasburg 

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 (March 1, 2018).

The New York State Department of Financial Services asked several banks for information about their relationships with Jared Kushner and his finances, people familiar with the information requests said.

The department, which regulates New York banks and some international banks that do business in the state, sent inquiries last week to firms that include Deutsche Bank AG and Signature Bank, these people said. Mr. Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a senior adviser to the president.

The inquiries, which are expansive and comprehensive, seek information about Mr. Kushner's individual finances and those related to his family's real-estate company, Kushner Cos., these people said. The inquiries ask for information from banks about their relationships with Mr. Kushner, including his bank accounts and loans, they said.

A Deutsche Bank spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a spokesman for the state regulator. A lawyer for Mr. Kushner didn't respond to requests for comment.

A spokeswoman for Kushner Cos., Christine Taylor, said, "We have not received a copy of any letter from the New York State Department of Financial Services."

"Prior to our CEO voluntarily resigning to serve our country, we never had any type of inquiries," Ms. Taylor said. "These type of inquiries appear to be harassment solely for political reasons."

A spokeswoman for Signature, a New York-based bank that lends primarily to private businesses and affluent individuals in the New York area, said it doesn't "confirm, deny or comment on any correspondence with regulators." The Kushner family and Kushner Cos. have been clients since 2010, she said.

The state regulator's interest in banks' dealings with Mr. Kushner was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

News of federal inquiries concerning Kushner Cos. has emerged in recent months, including by prosecutors at the U.S. attorney's office in Brooklyn and by the Securities and Exchange Commission, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

One matter under investigation by the federal prosecutors involves a $285 million loan given to Kushner Cos. by Deutsche Bank one month before the 2016 presidential election, a time when Mr. Kushner was still chief executive of the real-estate firm, the Journal also has reported.

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn issued a document request to Kushner Cos. for information about that loan in November of last year, the Journal reported in December. At the time, the spokeswoman for Kushner Cos. said the firm "has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with any reasonable request for information."

Deutsche Bank received a grand-jury subpoena from prosecutors for information regarding that loan around the same time, according to a person familiar with the matter. Deutsche Bank has been advised that it isn't a target of the Justice Department's inquiry, according to another person familiar with the matter.

This isn't the first time the New York state regulator is using its power to demand banks under its jurisdiction describe their relationships with Mr. Kushner.

Last year, the regulators asked Deutsche Bank for details about transactions it had flagged as suspicious that had apparent ties to officials in Mr. Trump's administration or people close to them, one of the people said.

The Journal reported in December that Deutsche Bank flagged in 2017 about $30 million in potentially suspicious transactions as part of an internal investigation into the bank's role handling money involving Paul Manafort or people and entities connected to him.

Mr. Manafort served as Mr. Trump's campaign chairman for about five months in 2016. Banks can label transactions as suspicious based on concerns about the origin of funds, the parties involved or other reasons. Mr. Manafort's spokesman declined to comment Wednesday.

Mr. Manafort faces a September trial on charges of conspiring against the U.S., conspiring to launder money and failing to register as an agent of a foreign power. On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to new charges special prosecutor Robert Mueller unveiled last week.

Mr. Kushner resigned from his family's business after the 2016 election and sold his personal stake in some projects and assets to family members and others. But he retains a stake in parts of the business, according to his most recent financial-disclosure form. The form also shows that Mr. Kushner has a line of credit with Deutsche Bank worth between $5 million and $25 million.

--Rebecca Davis O'Brien contributed to this article.

Write to Emily Glazer at emily.glazer@wsj.com, Erica Orden at erica.orden@wsj.com and Jenny Strasburg at jenny.strasburg@wsj.com


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 01, 2018 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT)

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