Friday

24th Sep 2021

Deutsche Bank convicted in Italy in widening scandal

  • Deutsche Bank's headquarters in Frankfurt were raided by police last week (Photo: orkomedix)

An Italian judge has convicted Deutsche Bank of fraud, as the bank struggles to save its reputation amid widening probes over tax evasion and rate-fixing after the departure of its former CEO Josef Ackermann.

Deutsche Bank was convicted together with US giant JP Morgan Chase, Switzerland's UBS and a German-Irish bank, Depfa, for their role in overseeing fraud by their bankers in the sale of interest rate bets to the city of Milan. About €90 million are to be seized from the four banks, who will also have to pay €1 million each in fines.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The case is only the first in a series of similar complaints: around 600 Italian municipalities had bought such derivatives and lost about €4 billion during the financial crisis, according to the Italian central bank.

In parallel, Deutsche Bank is part of a worldwide investigation for altering the British benchmark interest rate (Libor) and its euro-counterpart (Euribor). Once the European Central Bank takes over the supervision of eurozone's largest banks, Deutsche Bank will fall under the new scrutiny.

The Milan sentence, which can still be appealed, also comes after Deutsche Bank had its Frankfurt headquarters raided last week in a probe for alleged tax evasion on profits cashed in from trading with carbon permits.

Germany's largest commercial bank, once renowned for its solid and risk-averse business, has been transformed over the last decade into an aggressive investor and speculator with risky bets known as derivatives, largely due to the leadership of Swiss top banker Josef Ackermann, who stepped down earlier this year.

The US Senate named the German bank alongside Goldman Sachs as the two institutions that played a “key role” in the financial crisis.

But unlike Denmark's Danske Bank whose management apologised for its role in the financial crisis, Ackermann still got praise for it.

At his opulent farewell party, Ackermann received video-testimonials including from EU commissioner Olli Rehn, who praised him for "restoring confidence in the financial sector."

Ackermann's successor, Juergen Fitschen, who vowed to change the company's culture, has meanwhile also come under fire in Germany for having phoned up the regional governor to complain about the police raids which are denting his bank's reputation.

Scandals drain Deutsche Bank's coffers

Germany's largest bank posted €2.2 billion losses in the last three months, largely due to a series of investigations into alleged fraud, tax evasion and rate-rigging. Its new management promises a "change of culture."

Fresh corruption scandal engulfs Deutsche Bank

After being fined for rate-fixing and convicted for deceiving customers, Deutsche Bank finds itself embroiled in a new scandal: hiring the offspring of Chinese politicians in return for contracts.

Vietnam jails journalist critical of EU trade deal

A journalist who had demanded the EU postpone its trade deal with Vietnam until human rights improved has been sentenced to 15 years in jail. The EU Commission says it first needs to conduct a detailed analysis before responding.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed

Latest News

  1. Activists: 'More deaths' expected on Polish-Belarus border
  2. EU unveils common charger plan - forcing Apple redesign
  3. Central Europe leaders rail against 'new liberal woke virus'
  4. Yemen's refugees in 'appalling conditions', says UN agency
  5. VW emissions software was illegal, top EU lawyer says
  6. Sexism and the selection of the European Parliament president
  7. More French names linked to Russia election-monitoring
  8. Negotiations set for new, tougher, EU ethics body

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us