Germany’s largest bank fined 13,5 million euros for money laundering violations

Frankfurt prosecutors fined Deutsche Bank 13,5 million euros for violations related to money laundering of the Estonian branch of Danske Bank, Bloomberg reports.

German bank failed on more than 600 occasions to file timely alerts to authorities about suspicious transactions.

The money laundering suspicion of Deutsche Bank stems from its role as one of several correspondent banks used by Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, which is suspected of laundering 200 billion euros.

An internal investigation by Deutsche Bank found that about 90% of the transactions handled via Danske Bank were tied to clients from Russia, Azerbaijan and other former Soviet republics whose identities were allegedly hidden with the help of Danske Bank employees.

From 2007 to 2015, Deutsche Bank processed up to four-fifths of the potentially suspicious transactions. The German bank later abandoned its role as correspondent bank for the Estonian branch of Danske Bank due to growing concerns about possible misconduct by its business partner.

After a whistleblower revealed Deutsche Bank’s role in a corruption scandal in late 2018, the Frankfurt Prosecutor’s Office and the German Federal Criminal Police Office launched a joint criminal investigation into the matter and seized documents related to suspicious transactions.

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 euros.

In turn, representatives of Deutsche Bank announced the recognition of the fine, noting that no official charges of money laundering had been brought against the bank.

Later, the prosecutors dropped a criminal investigation into the case, 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.

He added that the bank had «fully co-operated with the Public Prosecutor’s Office from the onset of the investigation».