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Deutsche Bank reportedly scrambled to jettison a $600 million loan it made to a Russian state-owned bank in 2016, amid questions over election meddling

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Deutsche Bank reportedly scrambled to jettison a $600 million loan it made to a Russian state-owned bank in 2016, amid questions over election meddling

Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on during a meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, February 2, 2019.

Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

  • Deutsche Bank tried to jettison a $600 million loan it made in 2016 to VTB Group, a Russian state-owned bank, The Wall Street Journal reports.
  • VTB Group is majority-owned by the Russian government, and is subject to sanctions levied by the US and Europe over Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
  • The report came the same day that The New York Times reported that Deutsche turned down a loan request from Donald Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Deutsche Bank reportedly tried to jettison a $600 million loan it made in 2016 to VTB Group, a Russian state-owned bank, amid questions over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election that made Donald Trump president, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Deutsche sold $300 million of the loan to Alfa Bank in December 2016, and wasn’t able to sell the rest of loan, according to The Journal. VTB Group paid the rest of loan back in full in August 2017.

VTB, which is majority-owned by the Russian government, has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bank was, and still is, subject to 2014 sanctions levied by the US and Europe over Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Read more: Deutsche Bank reportedly refused Trump a loan during the 2016 campaign after considering the possibility that they would have to seize assets of a president

The sanctions complicated Deutsche’s ability to sell off the loan, the Journal reports. A spokesman for Deutsche Bank said in a statement: “Any assertion that our financing to VTB was intended to benefit President Trump or anyone else connected to him is false and any insinuation to this effect is fabricated.”

According to the Journal report, Deutsche sought to reduce its connections to Russian entities after the country’s government was accussed of meddling in the 2016 election.

People walk past a branch of Deutsche Bank on February 9, 2016 in Berlin, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Felix Sater, a longtime Trump business associate, told former Trump Organization lawyer Michael Cohen in 2015 that VTB was willing to finance the construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow, per texts surfaced by The Washington Post.

The House Intelligence Committee and House Financial Services Committee are preparing to investigate Deutsche Banks activity amid broader questions over Trump’s ties to Russia.

Deutsche Bank has a long and often tumultuous history with President Trump. During the 2016 election, Deutsche Bank refused Trump an expansion on a loan to finance work on his golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

The bank concluded that Trump’s campaign rhetoric made him a risky borrower, and public knowledge of the loan arrangement could hurt the bank’s reputation. They also weighed the risks of the possibility that the bank would have to seize a president’s assets in the event of a loan default, the Times reported.

Deutsche Bank’s shares have fallen close to 50% over the last twelve months— spurred by two bank raids in the past year — reaching record lows.

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