The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has waived part of the fines levied against five megabanks whose affiliates were involved in manipulating the global interest rate and other fraudulent activities.
Among the institutions are Deutsche Bank, which holds about US$130 million of the president's debt.
The four other banks receiving the waivers — Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays and UBS — received a temporary waiver by the administration of former President Barack Obama in late 2016 for a period of one year. Now, the Trump administration has offered five-year waivers to Citigroup, JPMorgan and Barclays and three-year waivers to UBS and Deutsche respectively.
The waivers were quietly announced online over the federal register during the Christmas holiday week. Per the laws which protect retirement savings, financial firms with affiliates convicted of violating securities statutes are barred from the lucrative business of managing those savings. However, a special exemption from the U.S. Department of Labor allows these firms to keep their status as "qualified professional asset managers."
Trump's latest disclosure form states that he owes Deutsche Bank at least US$130 million in loans, with a total amounting to around US$300 million. The U.S. president has received at least US$2.5 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank and co-lenders since 1998, the Wall Street Journal reported in 2016.
Trump's relationship with Deutsche Bank dates back to the 1990s, when the giant Wall Street bank was able to afford an extensive line of credit to Trump after a series of bankruptcies.
The five banks have been granted waivers from the Obama and Trump administrations in the past and received heavy fines for the London Interbank Offered Rate, LIBOR, scandal of 2008. LIBOR sets the borrowing rate but the involved banks manipulated the borrowing rate for an array of financial transactions, which led to US$9 billion worth of fines from regulators worldwide.
Deutsche Bank which was implicated and fined US$10 billion for the Russian money laundering schemes last year, paid a whopping US$3.5 billion for its involvement in the scandal, the highest among the defaulters.
In 2015, the German bank also pled guilty to wire fraud in the U.S. for its role in the scandal. Later, just when Obama was to leave office, Deutsche Bank made a US$7.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department for misleading investors in mortgage-backed securities between 2006 and 2007.