Deutsche Bank Settles for $125 Million Fine for Bribery, Trading Practices

The German bank has been accused of past violations before.


Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest investment bank and lender, has settled with a Brooklyn federal court to pay nearly $125 million for allegations that it manipulated the metals market and issued bribes to obtain more overseas business. U.S. authorities say that the allegations violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Specifically, the German bank has been accused of breaching the act in its dealings with Saudia Arabia, Abu Dhabi, China, and Italy. 

Per documents filed in Brooklyn on Friday, the agreement to settle the U.S. probes is part of a three-year deferred prosecution agreement. The majority of the fine, $123 million of it, is to be paid to the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department. The remainder, $1.9 million, is owed to the Department of Justice for the bank’s metals markets spoofing.

Seth DuCharme, Acting U.S. Attorney, submitted a statement about the situation, saying: “Deutsche Bank engaged in a criminal scheme to conceal payments to so-called consultants worldwide who served as conduits for bribes to foreign officials and others so that they could unfairly obtain and retain lucrative business projects. This office will continue to hold responsible financial institutions that operated in the United States and engage in practices to facilitate criminal activity in order to increase their bottom line.”

The latest infringement isn’t the first time Deutsche Bank has been accused of a violation. Six years ago, the German financial institution settled for $2.5 billion when it was accused of being part of a network that influenced the Libor global interest rate. Just two years later, it was accused yet again of aiding in creating bad mortgage bonds when the housing bubble made an appearance. 

Just a few months ago, in July 2020, Deutsch Bank paid $150 million to New York authorities over the Jeffrey Epstein controversy. Christian Sewing, Deutsche Bank CEO, admitted that his firm should have exercised more caution before accepting Epstein as a client.

The New York Times has previously reported that the bank was guilty of giving bribes and elaborate gifts to political allies in China. Dan Hunter, a Deutsche Bank spokesman, says the bank has made significant strides to address its past mistakes and has spent over $1.22 billion in training and controls to prevent further violations.

A statement from the bank said, “While we cannot comment on the specifics of the resolutions, we take responsibility for these past actions, which took place between 2008 and 2017. Our thorough internal investigations, and full cooperation with the DOJ and SEC investigations of these matters, reflect our transparency and determination to put these matters firmly in the past.”

As a side note, Deutsche Bank is the acting U.S. President Donald Trump’s primary lender and has been for more than two decades. According to the New York Times, President Trump owes the bank at least $300 million.


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