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Prosecutors seeking Kushner records from Deutsche Bank

NEW YORK >> Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have sought bank records about entities associated with the family company of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, according to four people briefed on the matter.

In recent weeks, prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, the giant German financial institution that has lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the Kushner family real estate business.

Kushner, who was the Kushner Cos.’ chief executive until January, still owns part of the business after selling some of his stake. The family businesses include many legal entities. It is not clear which records were sought by prosecutors, what they are seeking to learn from them or to what degree, if any, they directly involve Kushner.

There is no indication that the subpoena is related to the investigation being conducted by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Three prosecutors on Mueller’s team previously worked at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, in Brooklyn — one as recently as this year. Federal prosecutors around the country typically check with Justice Department headquarters when their investigations may overlap.

The U.S. attorney in Brooklyn has been investigating the Kushner businesses’ use of a program known as EB-5. It offers visas to overseas investors in exchange for $500,000 investments in real estate projects.

But Deutsche Bank does not appear to have been involved in Kushner real estate projects financed through the EB-5 program. That suggests the prosecutors’ subpoena may be unrelated to the visa program.

“We are unaware of any inquiry directed at Deutsche Bank from the EDNY and have no reason to believe there is one,” said a spokeswoman for the Kushner Cos., referring to the Eastern District of New York.

A subject of a subpoena wouldn’t necessarily know that the subpoena had been served on a bank or other institution.

The Kushner family has long-standing ties to Deutsche Bank. A financial disclosure form that Kushner filed with the government shows he and his mother have a line of credit from Deutsche Bank worth $5 million to $25 million. The bank also provided a $285 million mortgage to Kushner Cos. last year to help it refinance a loan to purchase several floors of retail space in the former New York Times building on 43rd Street in Manhattan.

Kushner’s company purchased the space from Africa Israel Investments, a company owned by Lev Leviev. Leviev’s company has an extensive real estate portfolio in Russia.

Kushner was interviewed last month by investigators working for Mueller. Kushner answered questions about Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser, according to a person briefed on the interview.

The interview, and the subpoena of Deutsche Bank, does not mean Kushner is suspected of wrongdoing. Defense lawyers typically do not consent to such interviews if they believe their clients are the target of an investigation.

Separately, Mueller’s office has subpoenaed Deutsche Bank for records related to Paul Manafort, a former campaign chairman to Trump, said people briefed on that subpoena. Manafort, who was indicted in October, is accused of money laundering.

Deutsche Bank served as a so-called correspondent bank, routing money from a foreign bank to Manafort’s U.S. account, according to one of the people briefed on the matter.

Deutsche Bank is also a big lender to Trump’s companies, though Mueller has not subpoenaed the bank for information about those accounts, according to people familiar with subpoenas that Deutsche Bank has received.

Trump’s lawyers have said publicly that they have been assured that Mueller has not subpoenaed bank records related to him or his family. People close to Kushner, who declined to be named, said they do not think he is in jeopardy from Mueller’s investigation.

In a statement, a Deutsche Bank spokeswoman said the bank “takes its legal obligations seriously and remains committed to cooperating with authorized investigations into this matter.”

Before Deutsche Bank got the recent subpoena, Kushner Cos. had received inquiries from the Brooklyn prosecutors about its use of the EB-5 visa program on a pair of luxury apartment towers in New Jersey.

“EB-5 is a long-standing federal program that is frequently used by many large developers to raise funds and help create jobs,” Kushner Cos.’ general counsel, Emily Wolf, said in a previous statement. “Kushner Companies utilized the program, fully complied with its rules and regulations and did nothing improper.”

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