German bank faces DoJ probe over 1MDB, says report

Deutsche Bank AG says it has cooperated fully with all regulatory and law enforcement agencies that have made inquiries relating to 1MDB. (AFP pic)

NEW YORK: The US Department of Justice (DoJ) is investigating whether Deutsche Bank AG broke laws during dealings with 1MDB that included helping it raise US$1.2 billion in 2014, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported, citing unidentified people with knowledge of the matter.

Authorities are examining whether the Frankfurt-based bank violated foreign corruption or anti-money laundering laws while working with the economic development fund, which officials have said was ultimately plundered, WSJ said.

Tim Leissner, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc executive who pleaded guilty in a deal revealed last year for his role in 1MDB’s scandals, has been helping with the look at Deutsche Bank, the newspaper said.

“Deutsche Bank has cooperated fully with all regulatory and law enforcement agencies that have made inquiries relating to 1MDB,” the company said in an emailed statement.

It pointed to asset-forfeiture documents previously filed by DoJ indicating 1MDB misled Deutsche Bank during transactions. “This is consistent with the bank’s own findings in this matter,” the firm said in the statement.

Probes into 1MDB have mainly focused on more than US$6 billion it raised in 2012 and 2013. Goldman Sachs handled the deals, reaping almost US$600 million in fees.

The bank has since portrayed Leissner as a rogue employee who circumvented the bank’s internal controls. Still, DoJ expects to start negotiating with the New York-based firm soon to potentially resolve a criminal probe of the bank, WSJ wrote.

“We do anticipate getting into active discussions with Goldman, at this point, in the near future,” it cited Assistant Attorney-General Brian Benczkowski as saying in an interview. He declined to comment on other aspects of the 1MDB case, it said.