FCA joins Deutsche Bank anti-money laundering probe

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The FCA is in the early stages of investigating whether Deutsche Bank breached anti-money laundering laws for its Moscow clients.

The FT reports the FCA’s involvement adds to inquiries by at least two other bodies around the world into so-called mirror trades executed in London and Moscow by the bank.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Deutsche Bank was facing questions from the US Department of Financial Services over a suspected bribe to one of its employees in Moscow.

Now the bank has reported the matter to the FCA and the German regulator BaFin.

Deutsche Bank remains under so-called “special measures” instigated by the FCA after a raft of regulatory issues, including the Libor-rigging scandal.

The Serious Fraud Office also says it is aware of the allegations, but declined to comment further.

The trades under scrutiny by the FCA first came to light following a request from the Russian central bank late last year. Deutsche Bank then undertook an internal probe looking at trades carried out over a period of four years ending in early 2015.

Last month it said it had placed several individuals from its Moscow unit on leave.

The trades involve securities bought in roubles through Deutsche Bank in Moscow by Russian clients, at the same time the bank bought the same securities in western currencies through its London business.

The practice is known as mirror trades and regulators are concerned that it could be used by Russian clients to bypass money-laundering rules to illegally move funds out of the country. They are also scrutinising how quickly Deutsche Bank reported the suspicious trades.

Deutsche Bank, the FCA and BaFin declined to comment.