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By Tom Sims
FRANKFURT, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Two Democratic U.S. Senators renewed their calls on Thursday for the Senate banking committee to investigate allegations of money laundering involving Deutsche Bank.
Senators Chris Van Hollen and Elizabeth Warren made the request in a letter to Mike Crapo, chairman of the banking committee, asking for a “thorough, detailed bipartisan Committee investigation into Deutsche Bank’s compliance history”.
Deutsche Bank said that it wanted to underline that it was “cooperative in all official investigations”, without making further comment or giving any other details.
Van Hollen told Reuters he was concerned about “a pattern and practice” in money laundering allegations involving the German bank, adding that “there is a lot of smoke circling around Deutsche Bank, so we think it is worth further inquiry”.
Germany’s largest bank has faced renewed allegations involving money laundering in recent months, but has said it has found no evidence of wrongdoing.
“We take these matters very seriously and will investigate all indications of possible misconduct,” Deutsche Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said on Wednesday.
Van Hollen and Warren, who has announced her candidacy for president, last year made a similar call on the Republican-controlled Senate committee.
Two House committees have since begun a similar inquiry, while a European Parliament committee this week held a hearing on Deutsche Bank’s anti-money laundering practices.
Van Hollen said he saw signs of bipartisan support for further investigation after a senior Republican member of the House financial services committee wrote to Deutsche Bank’s chief executive to address his concerns.
Van Hollen said that he and Warren were also interested in Deutsche Bank’s connection to President Donald Trump, “but that is just one piece of a broader concern,” he said.
The White House was not immediately available for comment outside of normal business hours, but Trump on Thursday said on Twitter: “The Dems and their committees are going ‘nuts’.”
Deutsche Bank has loaned money to the U.S. President for his real estate empire and a 2018 financial disclosure form showed liabilities for Trump of at least $130 million to Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, a unit of the German bank.
These are for properties including the Trump International Hotel in a former post office in Washington.
In another inquiry, Deutsche Bank has said it acted as a correspondent bank in Estonia for Danske Bank, which is under investigation for suspicious payments totalling 200 billion euros from 2007 until 2015.
And in November, German police searched the offices of all the members of Deutsche Bank’s board as part of a two-day raid and investigation into money laundering allegations linked to the Panama Papers.
In 2017, regulators fined Deutsche Bank nearly $700 million for weak controls that allowed money laundering from Russia. A U.S. Department of Justice investigation is still ongoing. (Reporting by Tom Sims, Editing by Tassilo Hummel and Alexander Smith)