The Bloomberg news agency has quoted unnamed sources as saying that Deutsche Bank has enlisted Robert Kimmitt, “an old friend” of US Attorney General William Barr, to represent the bank’s interests in Washington, D.C.
The sources claimed that Kimmitt’s “precise role isn’t clear even to many executives within” Deutsche Bank amid speculation that the 72-year-old lawyer and former US ambassador to Germany had been hired in order to “bolster” the bank’s presence in the US capital, where Democratic lawmakers are looking into the bank’s cooperation with “one [of] its highest-profile clients, President Donald Trump”.
Some of the insiders suggested that Kimmitt’s longstanding relationship with Barr “could help clear up a logjam of Justice Department investigations” against Deutsche Bank because its leaders believe that if POTUS is not re-elected on 3 November, “any settlement with a future Justice Department is likely to be tougher than what might be available this year”.
The 72-year-old, in turn, declined to comment on the nomination, while Deutsche Bank said in a statement that “the role of Robert Kimmitt is very clear: he has been retained by the Supervisory Board for his expertise but is not mandated to talk to any law enforcement agency and has confirmed that he has not done so”.
Deutsche Bank on Justice Department’s Radar
The developments come as Deutsche Bank is now being scrutinised by the US Department of Justice in connection with a spate of money-laundering scandals, including bank and insurance fraud.
The lender has also been ordered to disclose Trump’s financial records to the US Congress following a decision by a federal appeals court in New York in December 2019. Deutsche Bank's law firm Akin Gump responded by expressing hope that the court “will understand the bank’s need to respect the legal, as well as contractual, boundaries that exist with respect to such confidential information”.
The subpoena for records from Deutsche Bank is part of a long-running investigation by House Democrats into what they described as "efforts by Russia and other foreign actors to influence our political process before, during and since the 2016 election”.
Russia has repeatedly denied allegations of meddling in the American political system, something that was evidenced by the failure of Special Counsel Robert Muller’s investigation last year to validate the Democrats’ allegations that Trump campaign officials colluded with Moscow during the 2016 US election campaign. The Mueller report was officially released by Barr in April 2019.
POTUS, for his part, has repeatedly rejected the Democrats’ allegations as a hoax and a political witch-hunt to reverse the results of the 2016 election.