Brussels (Brussels Morning) Germany’s largest lender, Deutsche Bank (DB), reached a settlement with US authorities in which it will pay almost US$ 125 million to avoid prosecution in a number of bribery cases, as well as manipulating precious metals markets, Reuters reported on Friday.
The bank entered a three-year deferred prosecution agreement as part of the settlement, which will see DB pay some US$ 123 million in fines to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission. These payments are reportedly tied to the allegations that DB employees violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with their dealings in China, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and Italy.
Bribes through consultants
“Deutsche Bank engaged in a criminal scheme to conceal payments to so-called consultants worldwide,” acting US attorney Seth DuCharme said in a statement. “[The consultants] served as conduits for bribes to foreign officials and others so that they could unfairly obtain and retain lucrative business projects.”
The bank will also be paying US$ 1.9 million to the Department of Justice in a separate case tied to manipulating prices in the precious metals markets. The fine represents a discounted figure because of the bank’s earlier settlement with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Series of scandals
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the bank has been involved in a series of scandals indicating poor business practices and lax oversight. In 2015, DB paid US$ 2.5 billion to settle charges it was part of a network of banks manipulating the Libor global interest rate index. In 2017, the bank reached a US$ 7.2 billion settlement for its role in creating soured mortgage bonds during the housing bubble.
According to DB spokesman Dan Hunter, the bank has taken significant steps since to address these issues, spending more than 1 billion euro on controls and training. “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,” the bank declared in a statement.
The bank has recently been in the media focus as one of the largest lenders to outgoing US President Donald Trump, who reportedly owes DB more than US$ 300 million.