Deutsche Bank pays $120m to settle bribery charges

Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay $120m (£89m) to resolve bribery charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)

As part of coordinated resolutions with the SEC and the Department of Justice (DOJ), Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay more than $120m, which includes more than $43m to settle the SEC’s charges.

The SEC alleged that Deutsche Bank engaged foreign officials, their relatives, and their associates as third-party intermediaries, business development consultants, and finders to obtain and retain global business. 

The regulator said that Deutsche Bank lacked sufficient internal accounting controls related to the use and payment of such intermediaries, resulting in approximately $7m in bribe payments or payments for unknown, undocumented, or unauthorised services. 

These payments were inaccurately recorded as legitimate business expenses and involved invoices and documentation falsified by Deutsche Bank employees, the SEC claimed.

Charles Cain, chief of the SEC enforcement division’s FCPA unit, said: ‘While third parties can assist in legitimate business development activities, it is critical that companies have sufficient internal accounting controls in place to prevent payments to third parties in furtherance of improper purposes.’

Deutsche Bank agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay disgorgement of $35m with prejudgment interest of $8m to settle the action. The SEC did not impose a civil penalty in light of the $79m criminal penalty paid in the criminal resolution.

In a statement Deutsche Bank said: ‘While we cannot comment on the specifics of the resolutions, we take responsibility for these past actions, which took place between 2008 and 2017.

‘Our thorough internal investigations, and full cooperation with the DOJ and SEC investigations of these matters, reflect our transparency and determination to put these matters firmly in the past.

‘As recognised in the resolutions, we have taken significant remedial actions in response to these issues.

‘As a broader matter, in the years since these issues occurred, we have invested more than €1bn in data, technology, and controls, as well as improved our training and operational processes.

‘We have increased our anti-financial crime team to more than 1,600 people globally, and we’ll continue to invest significantly in technology this year and in the future, particularly as it relates to anti-financial crime compliance.’

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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