The banking sector in general has received more than its share of scathing critiques since the economic crash of September 2008 and the Great Recession, but no bank has been more controversial in the Trump era than Germany's Deutsche Bank. In his new book, "Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction," journalist David Enrich (known for his finance reporting for the New York Times) delves into President Trump's relationship with Deutsche. And Enrich discusses the book in a Q&A interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel (which means "The Mirror" in German).
Speaking to Der Spiegel's Alexander Sarovic, Enrich explained that Deutsche Bank "has been involved in really serious scandals all over the world, ranging from money laundering and manipulating markets to violating international sanctions — from bribing public officials to deceiving governments and regulators." And according to Enrich, Deutsche helped Trump win the United States' presidential election in 2016.
"Donald Trump was completely off limits, unbankable with the mainstream financial institutions for many years because he had defaulted over and over again — and then, Deutsche Bank comes in," Enrich recalls. "It was trying to make a name for itself in the United States market…. They almost single-handedly enabled him to bounce back from all his business failures and keep building, which Donald Trump then used very successfully to portray himself as a successful businessman and real estate mogul. That was one of the foundations for his successful White House campaign."
Sarovic asked Enrich why Deutsche "remained committed to Trump even after he defaulted on a loan of over $300 million and then sued the bank on top of that" — and the Times' finance editor responded, "They kept thinking that the fees they could generate from Trump on the short term were worth the very substantial long-term risks. And in all honesty, that turned out to be true. The relationship with Trump over 20 years has probably been quite profitable for Deutsche Bank."
Deutsche, according to Enrich, "really were blinded by greed" — and that greed attracted them to Trump. Sarovic noted that two Democrat-led committees in the U.S. House of Representatives have subpoenaed Trump's financial records, asking Enrich what those documents might "reveal."
"They will potentially reveal all of Donald Trump's innermost financial secrets," Enrich responded. "Deutsche Bank, over the past 20 years or so, has collected enormous amounts of material on Trump's personal finances, his businesses and his family's finances. Trump has spent many years fighting really aggressively to keep this information out of the public domain."