Deutsche Bank employees created false books and records that concealed corrupt hiring practices, according to the SEC. Individuals who were offered jobs typically bypassed the bank’s highly competitive and merit-based process, which required that they have high grades in school and went through multiple rounds of interviews. One Russian hire who worked in London performed so badly that a human resources employee deemed him “a liability to the reputation of the program, if not their firm,” the SEC said.
The company agreed to pay a $3 million fine and more than $13 million disgorgement and interest, and amount that the SEC said reflects its level of cooperation.
“Deutsche Bank provided substantial cooperation to the SEC in its inquiry and has implemented numerous remedial measures to improve the bank’s hiring practices,” bank spokesman Troy Gravitt said in an email statement.
The SEC and U.S. Justice Department in the past decade made enforcing anti-bribery laws a priority, specifically scrutinizing how financial firms had awarded internships. The industry-wide investigations were referred to as princeling probes, because they often focused on individuals with connections to the Communist party in China and prominent business people.
Deutsche Bank’s SEC sanction is small when compared with other banks accused of similar misconduct. JPMorgan Chase & Co. was penalized about $264 million in November 2016, while Credit Suisse Group AG agreed to pay $77 million in July 2018. The JPMorgan and Credit Suisse cases also resolved Justice Department allegations.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Matt Robinson in New York at [email protected]
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Jesse Westbrook at [email protected]