Frankfurt am Main, prosecutors fined Deutsche Bank €13.5M for the belated reporting of suspicious transactions it processed for Danske Bank’s Estonian branch.
Frankfurt prosecutors fined Deutsche Bank €13.5m for the belated reporting of suspicious transactions it processed for Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, the law enforcement authority announced on Tuesday. At the same time, the prosecutors cleared Germany’s largest lender of money laundering allegations linked to its role as a correspondent bank for Danske’s Estonian branch. The prosecutors dropped a criminal investigation into the matter, citing a “lack of sufficient evidence”. “The allegations of aiding and abetting money laundering that were made against the bank have been dropped,” said Stefan Simon, Deutsche Bank’s chief administrative officer, in a statement. He added that the lender had “fully co-operated with the Public Prosecutor’s Office from the onset of the investigation.”
Deutsche Bank has faced scrutiny over its role as one of several correspondent banks used by Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, which is suspected of laundering €200bn from former Soviet states. From 2007 to 2015, Deutsche Bank processed up to four-fifths of the potentially suspicious transactions. The German lender pulled out of its role as a correspondent bank for Danske Bank’s Estonian branch over growing concerns over potential misconduct by its business partner. After Deutsche Bank’s role in the scandal was exposed by a whistleblower in late 2018, Frankfurt prosecutors and the Federal Criminal Police Office started a joint criminal investigation into the matter and seized documents linked to suspicious transactions. Deutsche Bank launched two internal investigations into the issue and faced questions from US regulators about its role. While Frankfurt prosecutors dropped the criminal investigation against Deutsche Bank, the authorities found that, between 2010 and 2015, in 627 cases the lender failed to flag potentially suspicious transactions to law enforcement authorities on time. For each of these failures, Deutsche Bank was fined between €12,500 and €30,000.
Deutsche Bank said on Tuesday that it accepted the fine but pointed out that “no allegations were made against the bank in terms of it having breached its supervision obligations or organizational duties or certain persons violating their responsibility, nor were any breaches ascertained”.