New York’s attorney general has opened a civil investigation into President Donald Trump’s business dealings, taking action after his former lawyer told Congress he exaggerated his wealth to obtain loans.
A person familiar with the inquiry said Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas Monday to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank seeking records related to four Trump real estate projects and his failed 2014 bid to buy the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
The person wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. The New York Times first reported the subpoenas.
Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, told Congress in late February that Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements provided to Deutsche Bank when he was trying to obtain financing to buy the Bills.
Cohen told a House committee it was common for Trump to overstate his wealth when dealing with the news media or banks, but understate it when it came time to pay his taxes.
Deutsche Bank said in a statement that it remains “committed to co-operating with authorized investigations.” Messages left with New Jersey-based Investors Bank and the Trump Organization were not immediately returned.
The subpoenas issued by the attorney general seek loan applications, as well as mortgages, credit lines and other documents related to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., buildings in Chicago and New York and a golf course in the Miami area.
Several Congressional committees have also requested documents from Deutsche Bank. California Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat and head of the House Financial Services Committee, said last week that the bank is co-operating.
Deutsche Bank has been one of the few major banks willing to regularly lend to Trump, whose past financial troubles scared off large New York banks. Trump’s company borrowed billions of dollars from the German bank over the years.
In May, five Democratic members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan asking the bank to turn in any records relating to Trump’s accounts and any ties to Russia. The bank refused, saying it had to respect legal requirements to keep client data private.
James, a Democrat newly elected to office, pledged to look into Trump’s business practices, saying after her victory last November that she’d be “shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings and every dealing.”
Trump has complained that James is waging a politically motivated vendetta against him. Her office is also overseeing a lawsuit against a Trump charitable foundation. James’ predecessors sued Trump over the operations of Trump University, his real estate school.
Previously, a different New York state agency, which regulates insurance companies, launched an inquiry into Cohen’s allegations that Trump also misled insurance companies about his financial worth.
Trump has said Cohen is lying to try to get out of a prison sentence for tax evasion, campaign finance violations, making false statements to banks and lying to Congress.