If anyone at Deutsche Bank—or at any of Europe’s other financial institutions, accounting firms, or tax offices—has evidence of wrongdoing by Donald Trump, now would be a good time to share it.
Deutsche Bank, for example, has insisted that it doesn’t have copies of Trump’s tax returns. But employees of the German bank, which kept making loans to Trump long after almost everyone else stopped doing so, might be able to shed light on the sources of the president’s income and the extent to which his debts make him beholden to Russia. And, fortunately, a new European Union directive protects the whistle-blowers—government and private-sector employees alike—who expose elite self-dealing that undermines the public interest. Often, there are witnesses to corruption, and democracy and the rule of law depend on their speaking up.
Passed in April and formally adopted this month, the EU law arrives just in time. Whistle-blowers are the lifeblood of free societies. The global proliferation of whistle-blower-protection laws, an idea that began in America in the 1770s, is imperative when corruption networks sprawl across national borders. Trump’s business dealings—which remain opaque—have involved a German bank, Russian investors, and properties in a variety of countries. The 11 million documents that surfaced in the 2015 Panama Papers leak exposed a global industry of tax avoidance. The previous year, the so-called LuxLeaks scandal revealed the role the Luxembourg government had played in helping multinational corporations evade taxes.