Deutsche Bank earlier this year unearthed and reported to the U.S. Treasury Department suspicious international transactions involving Jeffrey Epstein, the wealthy financier facing federal sex trafficking charges in New York, The New York Times reported on July 23.
The bank had a years-long relationship with Epstein, including loans and wealth-management accounts, and in 2015 the bank’s anti-money laundering compliance officers began raising concerns, including potential damage to the institution’s reputation, The Times reported.
The compliance officers then detected “potentially illegal activity” in one of Epstein’s accounts, including overseas money flows, and prepared a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), but it is unclear whether the report was ultimately filed with Treasury, reported The Times.
But as the bank worked to sever ties with Epstein earlier this year, it discovered other transactions of concern and filed a SAR, the article stated. It added that bank officials are still trying to grasp the totality of Epstein’s financial activity and money movements, in part due to the complexity of his business and personal portfolio.
Deutsche Bank, which opted to cut ties to Epstein late last year, has been contacted by U.S. authorities investigating Epstein, The Times reported.
When contacted by Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence, a Deutsche Bank spokesman said it is “closely examining” any business relationship with Epstein and added “we are absolutely committed to cooperating with all relevant authorities.”
A spokesman for Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which receives and warehouses SARs for use by law enforcement authorities, said it does not comment on SARs or related investigations, “including whether or not they exist.”
Epstein has pleaded not guilty to the federal charges in Manhattan, which concern alleged misconduct from at least 2002 to 2005, and came more than a decade after Epstein pleaded guilty to state prostitution charges in Florida.
After being denied bail, Epstein remains in a Manhattan jail awaiting trial. His lawyer, Reid Weingarten, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Regulatory Intelligence.
The Times previously reported that U.S. federal authorities are investigating whether Deutsche Bank complied with laws meant to stop money laundering and other illicit activity. That probe purportedly includes a review of the German bank’s handling of SARs and involves transactions linked to President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner.
The link between Epstein and Deutsche Bank comes at a time when the troubled bank is trying to break free from the shadows of its past. A shake-up at the bank is expected to follow the departure of Sylvie Matherat, chief regulatory officer, on July 31. Deutsche announced it would combine its compliance and financial crime units with risk management, and that Chief Risk Officer Stuart Lewis would assume additional responsibility for the merged units. Stefan Simon will become chief administrative officer and take on responsibility for regulatory affairs and legal, the bank had announced.
In addition to these and other senior management changes, the bank’s restructuring will see a workforce reduction of about 18,000 full-time equivalent employees, bringing the total workforce down to about 74,000 employees by 2022.
As for Epstein, he was found last week injured and semi-conscious on the floor of his jail cell, with injuries to his neck. He then was placed on suicide watch at the federal jail in lower Manhattan where he’s been held since his arrest in early July.
Epstein’s injuries came a day after he was served with additional legal documents detailing a woman’s claims that he raped her when she was 15 years old, according to a report from CNBC.com. The woman, Jennifer Araoz, plans to sue Epstein for the assaults that began in 2001, according to a court filing earlier in July.
The papers presented to Epstein prior to his injuries included Araoz’s lawyers’ requests that Epstein produce records showing who was employed by him from 2000 through 2003, and to turn over logs of “everyone who entered or exited his” Upper East Side townhouse during that same time frame, reported CNBC.com.
This article was supplemented with additional material from other Legal Executive Institute sources and news reports.