Deutsche Bank could ignore problems with laundering when working with Russian customers

The bank handed over documents to the US Congress on cooperation with Russians, reports Reuters.
The US Congress identified possible problems in the Deutsche Bank money laundering control system when working with large Russian businessmen, Reuters reported citing three people familiar with the situation. These potential irregularities were identified in a parliamentary investigation into Donald Trump's ties to foreign governments. The House of Representatives also began this year to analyze possible money laundering in the United States through transactions with real estate that Trump built and sold.

As part of the investigation, Deutsche Bank, the former largest Trump lender, at the request of Congress, transferred a significant number of documents, emails, and transaction records. In this requirement, which was partially reviewed by Reuters, lawmakers asked for information about “any financial relations, transactions or connections” between Trump, his family members and his companies, and “any foreign individuals, organizations or governments.” Congress also requested hundreds of documents related to other bank customers, including Russian oligarchs, three sources told the agency.

Although Trump challenged the request in court in April, Deutsche Bank began transmitting information unrelated to the president to Congress, and, according to one Reuters source, continues to do so. The documents include applications for opening an account, data on checks of sources of money within the framework of the “know your customer” requirement, internal assessments of “suspicious activity” and materials for submission to the US Treasury if they are discovered, documents on transactions with Russian clients exchanged by the management and committee on reputational risks, information on loans and mortgages.

A congressional investigation revealed examples of Deutsche Bank managers in the United States and other countries expressing doubts about the legitimacy of working with new Russian customers or transactions with existing ones, but the bank ignored these warnings, two Reuters sources said. Two years ago, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay US and UK regulators $ 630 million in fines for the fact that in 2011-2015. helped "a corrupt group of bank traders and offshore companies secretly withdraw more than $ 10 billion from Russia." The Russian Central Bank estimated those violations at 300,000 rubles. According to two Reuters sources, the preliminary results of the congressional investigation may be partially related to this case, but also include other violations.

Congressmen are also exploring the likelihood of Deutsche Bank participating in the transfer of dirty money to the United States as a correspondent bank. Earlier it was reported that he serviced dollar transactions for Danske Bank, through the Estonian branch of which in 2007–2015. $ 234 billion passed; a significant portion of this amount can be classified as suspicious transactions, revealed in 2018 an internal investigation by Danske Bank. The money came mainly from Russia and other CIS countries.

Deutsche Bank helped the Estonian branch of Danske conduct transactions for approximately $ 180 billion and stopped servicing its dollar payments only in 2015 due to concerns about a possible laundering. In January, it became known that the US Federal Reserve was checking whether the American division of Deutsche Bank exercised proper control over this money. In May, the bank itself discovered an error in its software that prevented it from detecting suspicious transactions for almost 10 years.

Deutsche Bank spokesman Troy Grafitt told Reuters that the bank cannot comment on the work of congressional committees, but is working with official investigations. The House Committee on Financial Services declined to comment.

Financial Crime Advisor Graham Barrow told Reuters that although Deutsche Bank has been trying to reform its activities in recent years, its decision in the 2000s. becoming a global investment bank forced too much risk in countries such as Russia. In 2008, Deutsche Bank, with $ 3 trillion, took the 2nd place in the world in assets in The Banker rating, and in the summer of 2019, it practically abandoned the investment banking business, announcing the dismissal of 18,000 people, closing the share operations division and drastically reducing bond market units. During this time, its capitalization fell by more than 90%. At the end of August, he paid a fine of $ 16.2 million in the United States in another Russian (as well as Chinese) case. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) described how the bank hired relatives of senior officials and top managers of state-owned companies in other countries for contracts. Of the five examples cited by the SEC, two related to Russia and three to China.