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Deutsche Bank flagged Jeffrey Epstein transactions to US watchdog

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Jeffrey Epstein in Cambridge, MA in 1984.

Rick Friedman | Corbis News | Getty Images

Deutsche Bank notified U.S. financial watchdogs about suspicious transactions by accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein — a customer of the bank — according to a new report Tuesday.

The transactions, which involved Epstein moving money out of the United States, were flagged after Deutsche Bank discovered them while looking for indications that the wealthy financier was using his money for sex trafficking, The New York Times reported.

Epstein had been a client of Deutsche Bank’s private banking division since at least 2013, five years after he pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges involving a teenage girl filed by Florida state prosecutors, the Times noted.

That guilty plea led to Epstein — a former friend of Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton — being required to register as a sex offender.

According to the new article, an anti-money laundering compliance officer in Deutsche Bank’s office in New York and Florida raised concerns about the bank’s relationship with Epstein in 2015 and 2016.

Those officers also reportedly put together a suspicious activity report on potentially illegal activity in an Epstein account at the time, which had moved money outside of the U.S.

The Times said it was not clear if that report was ever filed with the financial crimes division of the U.S. Treasury Department. But the latest suspicious transactions were reported this year, according to the article.

“Deutsche Bank is closely examining any business relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, and we are absolutely committed to cooperating with all relevant authorities,” bank spokesman Troy Gravitt told CNBC in an email.

The Times reported that Deutsche Bank has been contacted by federal prosecutor and federal agencies probing Epstein.

The newspaper also reported that the bank now believes that all of Epstein’s accounts have been closed at the bank, months after Deutsche Bank moved to end its relationship with him on the heels of a Miami Herald report on a federal non-prosecution deal granted Epstein in 2007.

Lawyers for Epstein and a Treasury Department spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment on the Times’s story.

Epstein, 66, was indicted earlier this month by a federal grand jury in New York City on charges of child sex trafficking, and conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking.

Prosecutors say he sexually abused dozens of underage girls at his homes in Manhattan and Florida from 2002 through 2005. Some of the alleged victims were as young as 14.

He has pleaded not guilty in the case, which is pending in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

On Monday, defense lawyers filed a notice informing Judge Richard Berman that they will appeal his decision to deny granting Epstein bail.

Berman last week said he doubted that any bail agreement “could overcome” Epstein’s potential danger to the public. The judge noted Epstein’s apparently “uncontrollable” fixation on young girls, and the risk that Epstein could use his vast wealth to flee if released.

Epstein, who is worth an estimated $500 million or more, had offered to post bail of upwards of $100 million.

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David Petraeus warns about Iran situation, says Trump policy not clear

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Gen. David Petraeus, Former CIA Director, Fmr. Central Commander and American commander in Iraq.

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Last Friday, Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, a major thoroughfare for oil shipments in the region. A day earlier, President Donald Trump said a U.S. Navy ship had downed an Iranian drone in a defensive action after the unmanned aircraft flew too close to the USS Boxer.

In June, Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone that had been flying over international airspace.

“Fraught is a way to describe this particular situation,” said Petraeus, who currently is chairman of KKR’s Global Institute. “There clearly is a prospect for some inadvertent escalation.”

Petraeus said such an escalation “is presumably what the president sought to avoid when he did not take the” military strike planned against Iran on the heels of that country’s downing of the American drone.

Trump said at the time that the 150 deaths a general told him would result from such a strike was not “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.” Trump imposed tightened sanctions on Iran after the strike.

Petraeus said Trump will have to respond if American servicemen are harmed as a result of tensions with Iran.

“He clearly is going to have to respond if something serious happens to American soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, our diplomats, he said. “And there is a lot of threat out there we face now.”

He warned that the threat in the region comes not only from Iran’s military: “It’s from their proxies, the paramilitaries, the Shia militia in Iraq, in Syria and in other places in the Middle East. Not to mention Hezbollah, which poses an extraordinary threat to Israel, now not just from Lebanon but also from Syria.”

When asked how he would handle the situation, he said, “What would I be doing if I were still Central Command Commander or CIA director? I would be dusting off many contingency plans we’ve developed.” 

“I would be searching for clarity in regards to Iran policy,” he said, suggesting that the Trump administration had not articulated that beyond its decision to pull out of a nuclear agreement that Iran signed with the United States under President Barack Obama.

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US, China expected to hold in-person trade talks next week

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US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Feb. 15, 2019

Mark Schiefelbein | AFP | Getty Images

American trade negotiators will soon head to China for face-to-face talks as the world’s two largest economies try to strike a deal, sources told CNBC.

The U.S. officials will travel to China for discussions sometime between Friday and Thursday, August 1. The discussions will continue renewed engagement between the sides as they try to end a potentially damaging trade war. 

White House officials are eyeing a longer-term timeline to strike a deal with China, two people who have met with White House principals in the last day said. It may take roughly six months to reach an agreement. 

In the meantime, the administration could shift its focus to ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. President Donald Trump sees approving his replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement as a major economic and political priority. 

Investors have watched the China talks closely. A widening trade war between Washington and Beijing would risk more damage to American companies and the global economy. 

The Trump administration has put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods — and threatened to put duties on even more products. Beijing has slapped tariffs on $110 billion in American goods. 

Both the U.S. and China have taken steps to deescalate tension in recent days. Trump agreed to make “timely” decisions about whether to allow American tech companies to sell to blacklisted Chinese firm Huawei. 

Meanwhile, Chinese state media reported that China had taken steps to start following through on its promise to buy more U.S. agricultural goods. Trump sees the step as important to reaching an agreement as American farmers take a hit from tariffs on crops. 

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