Several banks around the world are jeopardizing their depositors’ holdings with some rather shady dealings with money launderers.
July 16, 2019
What would you think if you went down to the local coffee shop, got a newspaper, and read that your bank was being investigated for money laundering?
We’ve previously covered an instance where a Wells Fargo banker admitted to laundering money for the Sinaloa Cartel.
Now we have a German bank on the hook for another money laundering investigation, according to the New York Times:
Federal authorities are investigating whether Deutsche Bank complied with laws meant to stop money laundering and other crimes, the latest government examination of potential misconduct at one of the world’s largest and most troubled banks, according to seven people familiar with the inquiry.
The same article revealed the investigation expanding into “other areas” in addition to money laundering for Russia (emphasis mine):
Agents told the son, Val Broeksmit, that the Deutsche Bank investigation began with an inquiry into the bank’s work for Russian money launderers and had expanded to cover a broader array of potential misconduct at the bank and at other financial institutions. One element is the banks’ possible roles in a vast money-laundering scandal at the Danish lender Danske Bank, according to people briefed on the investigation.
Much like Wells Fargo, this isn’t the first time Deutsche Bank has been in trouble. Congresswoman Maxine Waters has even called them “one of the biggest money laundering banks in the country, or maybe the world.” Of course, politicians tend to exaggerate things a bit.
Bank officials claim that reports of suspicious money activity reported by several anti-money-laundering staff were “handled appropriately and that it is not uncommon for managers to overrule employees and opt not to file suspicious activity reports with the government.” They are concerned with flooding the Government with false leads.
The investigation is not complete yet, but there is a good chance settlements will be coming, along with potential bailouts, according to ZeroHedge:
The bank is also lumping some €50 billion in toxic assets and businesses into a ‘bad bank’ as a prelude to the inevitable government bailout.
… one thing is becoming increasingly clear: Expect another wave of expensive settlements to destabilize one of the world’s most vulnerable banks.
In another ZeroHedge piece, Deutsche Bank’s habit of handing out awards is revealed to be a bit odd considering the seriousness of the charges pending investigation:
… BBG reported on how DB’s correspondent bank would hand out “excellence awards” to clients who raised the fewest number of red flags from the bank’s automated compliance system. A Cypriot bank later accused of laundering money for terrorists received one of the awards, though DB wasn’t accused of wrongdoing.
That Deutsche Bank (DB) is still in business is a sight to behold. Just like the U.S. financial institutions that contributed to their “Great Recession” and received a taxpayer-funded bailout, DB is still alive and kicking.
Worse, it poses a huge financial risk to all other banks it does business with.
Be Careful Which Banks You Do Business With…
If you think the money laundering problem is limited to Wells Fargo or Deutsche Bank, you would be wrong.
In another New York Times report, the growing money laundering scandal seems to have spread to the largest bank in Denmark, Danske Bank. It “was caught first for suspicious activities at its subsidiary in Estonia and, in the past couple weeks, the scandal has spread to Swedbank and its subsidiaries in the Baltics.”
So it appears some of the largest banks in the U.S. and other parts of the world can’t resist doing business with criminals and attracting the attention of regulators. The worst part about it is they’re putting depositors’ money at risk.
Keep in mind these are high profile cases that get national (and sometimes international) attention.
There may be many other unreputable dealings at smaller banks we just don’t know about yet, which means your money could be at risk even if you don’t bank at Wells Fargo, Deutsche Bank, Swedbank, or Danske Bank.
So be careful who you bank with because one day, after an investigation your bank doesn’t tell you about, your assets could be frozen without warning.
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