Signage is displayed outside the Deutsche Bank AG headquarters at 60 Wall Street in New York, U.S., on Monday, July 8, 2019. Picture: MICHAEL NAGLE / BLOOMBERG
Signage is displayed outside the Deutsche Bank AG headquarters at 60 Wall Street in New York, U.S., on Monday, July 8, 2019. Picture: MICHAEL NAGLE / BLOOMBERG

Bengaluru — The US justice department is investigating whether Deutsche Bank violated foreign corruption or anti-money-laundering laws in its work for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), the Wall Street Journal said on Wednesday.

The news comes after the bank announced plans to scrap its global equities unit, cut some fixed-income operations and slash 18,000 jobs globally in a €7.4bn ($8.34bn) restructuring programme. 

Deutsche Bank’s work for 1MDB included helping to raise $1.2bn in 2014 as concerns about the fund’s management and financials had begun to circulate, the newspaper said, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Prosecutors are mainly looking into the role of Tan Boon-Kee, a colleague of a former Goldman Sachs executive, Tim Leissner, who worked with him on 1MDB-related business, the paper said.

She left Goldman to become Asia-Pacific head of banking for financial institutions clients at Deutsche Bank, where she was involved with further 1MDB dealings, it added.

In an e-mailed statement, Deutsche Bank said it had fully co-operated with all regulatory and law enforcement agencies that made inquiries about the fund.

“As stated in asset forfeiture complaints filed by the US Department of Justice, 1MDB made ‘material misrepresentations and omissions to Deutsche Bank officials’ in connection with 1MDB’s transactions with the bank,” the bank told Reuters.

“This is consistent with the bank’s own findings in this matter,” it added.

A US justice department civil asset-forfeiture complaint repeatedly describes Deutsche Bank as being misled by 1MDB officers, the Wall Street Journal said.

Tan left Deutsche Bank in 2018 after the bank discovered communications between her and Jho Low, the Malaysian financier the justice department has described as the central player in the 1MDB scandal, it added.

A spokesperson for insurance company FWD Group, Tan’s current employer, said Tan declined to comment when contacted by the Wall Street Journal.

The department and FWD did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.

Reuters