(Bloomberg) -- New York’s banking regulator has asked Deutsche Bank AG and a pair of local lenders to provide information about their relationships with Jared Kushner, his family and the Kushner Cos., according to people familiar with the matter.
The state’s Department of Financial Services sent letters to the German lender as well as Signature Bank and New York Community Bank last week, said one of the people, who described the letter. The request was broad, covering the banks’ relationships with Kushner and his business properties; documents and communications about certain loan applications; and descriptions of the banks’ processes for approving Kushner loans.
Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, have taken on more debt in the past year at banks including Signature and New York Community, according to their recent government disclosures.
Those two banks and Deutsche Bank are chartered in New York, placing them under the regulatory eye of the DFS. The agency, tasked with ensuring the safety and soundness of banks and insurers in New York, is run by Maria Vullo, who was appointed by New York’s Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo.
Kushner’s financial and business ties have been of consistent interest for potential conflicts given his broad portfolio as senior adviser to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump. According to recent reports, officials from four foreign governments have discussed whether the financial strains of Kushner’s family could be leveraged in negotiations. Kushner’s clearance to review high-level intelligence has also been scaled back by Trump’s chief of staff.
To address potential concerns, Kushner stepped down from the family business when he joined the administration a year ago, and he divested some assets by transferring them to relatives.
Christine Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos., said the company hasn’t received a copy of any letter from the DFS. “Our company is a multibillion enterprise that is extremely financially strong. Prior to our CEO voluntarily resigning to serve our country, we never had any type of inquiries. These type of inquiries appear to be harassment solely for political reasons,” she said.
Ciara Marangas, a spokeswoman for the DFS, declined to comment.
Representatives for Deutsche Bank and Signature Bank declined to comment. A New York Community Bank representative didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Signature Bank, with 30 branches in the New York metropolitan area and surrounding counties, was spun off from Israel’s Bank Hapoalim in 2004. Ivanka Trump sat on its board from 2011 to 2013 and worked on its compensation committee, the bank has disclosed, saying she was paid $40,000 for the position and received bank shares valued at $160,000. According to her financial disclosure form, she sold the shares in January 2017.
Signature extended a $97 million loan to the Kushner Cos. in early 2015 to refinance nine apartment buildings in the East Village, the company has previously said.
New York Community Bank is a unit of New York Community Bancorp. In 2015, it loaned $46 million to refinance seven buildings in Soho, Greenwich Village and the East Village, the Kushner Cos. has said.
Several federal agencies have previously sought information from the Kushners, their banks and their business partners. Tax authorities have requested documents within the past year from lenders and investors in some real estate projects managed by Kushner’s family, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg earlier this month.
Separately, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn and the Securities and Exchange Commission have sought information related to Kushner Cos. use of a foreign investment visa program.
Last year, federal prosecutors also requested documents from Deutsche Bank related to a Manhattan retail property, formerly the New York Times headquarters, that the Kushners bought for $296 million in 2015. The Kushners later refinanced the property at a higher appraised value. As part of the $370 million in loans, they took out $59 million in cash.
Vullo, requesting a response to her letter by March 5, asked for copies of emails and other communications between the Kushners and the banks related to financing requests that have been denied or are pending. She also asked whether the banks have conducted any internal reviews of the Kushners and their companies and asked what such inquiries revealed, said the person familiar with the request.
The most detailed information about the Kushners’ finances can be found in their government disclosures. The couple had unsecured lines of credit of $5 million to $25 million each from Deutsche Bank, Signature Bank and New York Community Bank, according to a late December filing.
Deutsche Bank’s line of credit was extended to Kushner and his mother; lines from the other two banks were extended to Kushner and his father. Signature Bank also extended a secured line of credit to the couple of $1 million to $5 million, according to the disclosure.
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.