Two senators are calling for a banking committee investigation of Deutsche Bank’s compliance with U.S. safeguards against money laundering. According to Bloomberg, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Chris Van Hollen sent a letter to the committee chairman Senator Mike Crapo, asking for an investigation into the bank’s compliance history, “with a focus on its correspondent banking operations and vulnerabilities to money laundering.”
This follows a recent memo revealing that the House Financial Services Committee plans to look into the bank's U.S. dealing, including the company’s ties to President Donald Trump.
The letter from Warren and Van Hollen, sent on Thursday (Dec. 13), cites Deutsche Bank’s “numerous enforcement actions," as well as a recent raid by police officers and tax investigators in Germany. In addition, it mentions the financial institution's U.S. operations being implicated in cross-border money-laundering accusations, such as in a recent case involving Danish lender Danske Bank and the transfer of $230 billion in illegal funds.
This development puts even more pressure on the already embattled Deutsche. Late last week, federal authorities in Germany raided six Deutsche offices, looking for evidence of an investigation centered around two bank employees creating tax havens for clients out of the country.
Earlier this week, it was reported that officials — including Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Deutsche’s CEO Christian Sewing — have been meeting to study ways to make it easier for Deutsche to merge with Commerzbank.
“The business models of both banks are complementary and it would be good for scale,” said Markus Kienle, deputy CEO of SdK, a German association that represents retail shareholders. “But both banks are in trouble. The restructuring costs would lead to years of no dividends, and so we think the disadvantages of a merger would currently outweigh its advantages.”
However, Sewing said that reports of the bank merging with UBS or Commerzbank are “fictions.”