Deutsche Bank investigates potential $6bn money laundering scams by Russian clients

By bne IntelliNews June 5, 2015

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Germany's largest bank, Deutsche Bank, is conducting an internal investigation into alleged money laundering by Russian clients of up to $6bn, after being approached by the Central Bank of Russia, Bloomberg reports.

Russia's central bank asked Deutsche Bank in October 2014 to examine share-trading activities by some of its bank clients over the last four years, a source acquainted with the matter told Bloomberg. Deutsche Bank is now sifting through data from 2011 through 2015, and has additionally notified the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, the European Central Bank and Germany’s financial investigation unit Bafin of the ongoing investigation, Bloomberg writes.

“We are committed to participating in international efforts to detect and combat suspicious activities and we take strong action where we find evidence of misconduct,” Deutsche Bank told Bloomberg on June 5, adding that, “We have placed on leave a small number of individuals from our Moscow operation pending the results of an internal review.” Deutsche Bank has a workforce of around 1,000 in Moscow and St Petersburg.

According to the Bloomberg report, the transactions concern ruble stocks bought by Russian clients through Deutsche Bank, with simultaneous trades conducted through London where the bank bought the same securities in US dollars for the clients, potentially allowing Russian clients to move money abroad illicitly. The total volume of funds thus moved could exceed $6bn, one source told Bloomberg. 

Manager Magazin, a German financial monthly, reported last month that Deutsche Bank had notified Bafin about possible money laundering in Moscow.

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