: Zero Hedge Published on
: 6/26/2015 10:20:00 PM
A lot has transpired at Deutsche Bank over the last three months. Lets recap.
In April, Deutsche settled rate rigging charges with the DoJ for $2.5 billion (or about $25,474 per employee). A month later, the bank paid $55 million to the SEC (an agency thats been run by former Deutsche Bank employees and their close associates for years) in connection with allegations it deliberately mismarked its crisis-era LSS book to the tune of at least $5 billion. On May 8, the banks head of structured finance Elad Shraga who was instrumental in helping Deutsche become “an award-winning arranger of asset- and mortgage-backed debt left the firm after 15 years. Then on June 5, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the Justice Department would pursue new settlements with European banks over crisis-era MBS sales. Four days later, the banks headquarters were raided by authorities in connection with possible client tax evasion and on June 15, the firms global head of commercial real estate, Jonathan Pollack, defected to Blackstone.
Oh, and both CEOs resigned on June 7.
Now, Germanys financial regulator says departing co-CEO Anshu Jain may have lied to the Bundesbank about LIBOR manipulation when he apparently denied having any knowledge of rumors that the fixes may have been fixed (so to speak) even as his inbox told a different story. FT has more:
Deutsche Banks senior management allegedly acted negligently over the fixing of Libor rates and Anshu Jain, its outgoing joint leader, may have lied to the German central bank, the countrys financial regulator concluded in a recent report that leaves Deutsche vulnerable to further action by authorities.
One of the banks biggest clients, Pimco, the asset management group, also lost out when one of Deutsches traders attempted to manipulate Isdafix, a key derivatives benchmark whose potential rigging is being investigated by US watchdogs.
The explosive conclusions are contained in a report into Libor-manipulation by BaFin, the German financial regulator, which has been seen by the Financial Times. It concludes that special banking supervisory measures should be considered for Deutsche.
Amusingly, BaFin says it was astonished to learn that anyone thought Anshu Jain had been cleared of wrongdoing:
I have been astonished to learn […] that the suggestion is that the audit by BaFin supposedly resulted in clearing the senior management of DB, especially Mr Jain, and that supposedly no banking supervisory measures are expected, wrote Frauke Menke, head of banking supervision at the German watchdog, in the report, which was not made public. I expressly want to point out that this is not correct.
Mr Jain, who stepped down as joint chief executive earlier this month, is suspected by BaFin of having knowingly made inaccurate statements in a 2012 interview with Germanys Bundesbank about the benchmark-setting process. He is accused of telling the central bank he had no knowledge of rumours of possible rigging in 2008, but contemporaneous emails about a meeting on the subject were forwarded to him at the time.
I consider the failures with which Mr Jain is charged to be serious, Ms Menke wrote, alleging that he created an environment which favoured behaviour involving the exploitation of conflicts of interest
Mr Jain oversaw a reorganisation in London that involved traders and submitters sitting together and sharing information, according to the report.
The report does not conclude that the management board directly knew of or ordered Libor rigging by the banks traders, nine of whom are named in the report. It is understood that the bank will dispute several of BaFins concerns, including that Mr Jain may have deliberately misled the Bundesbank or been responsible for the seating-plan reorganisation.
The report also raises the spectre of Isdafix for the bank: BaFin found that a New York-based trader tried to rig Isdafix in 2010 in order to bolster the value of an option at the expense of Pimco. It was only when the fund manager complained that the matter surfaced, resulting in an undocumented verbal warning, according to BaFin.
Deutsche then took another four years to cut the bonus of the trader in question, according to the report. It was Mr Jain who headed the relevant division at the time, BaFin adds.
So basically BaFin thinks Anshu Jain might have known his traders were manipulating LIBOR and also might have taken around a half decade or so to punish a trader who PIMCO apparently caught manipulating IR swaps.
While none of this should come as any surprise to anyone, what is disconcerting if you’re a shareholder anyway is that there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel here when it comes to allegations, investigations, litigation, and fines. Having already shelled out some $9 billion over three years for legacy litigation, and with key employees defecting like rats from a sinking ship, one is certainly left to wonder if the firm is essentially rotting away at the core.