iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Mark Gongloff

GET UPDATES FROM Mark Gongloff
 

Deutsche Bank's Internal Libor Investigation Finds Deutsche Bank Mostly Innocent

Posted: 07/24/2012 11:38 am

Great news, you guys. We can go ahead and scratch at least one bank off the list of egregious interest-rate manipulators. That's because this bank has heroically determined that it is totally innocent. Almost totally, anyway.

Reuters reports that Deutsche Bank, the biggest German bank, has carefully investigated its own role in the habitual, fraudulent, global rigging of Libor, the most important interest rate in the world. And you might want to sit down for this, but Deutsche Bank has determined, to what we can only imagine is its own profound relief, that Deutsche Bank was only barely involved in the scandal. Hardly any involvement, really. If you blur your eyes a bit, it even kind of looks like Deutsche Bank wasn't involved at all. Certainly not in its top executive ranks. That's the way Deutsche Bank would like you to see it, anyway.

Hmm, one small problem, though: Handelsblatt is reporting that Deutsche Bank is bracing for "a huge fine" in the Libor scandal, setting aside between $300 million and $1 billion -- the middle point of which would be higher than the $450 million Barclays paid. Does that sound like a bank that really expects to get out of this without any mud getting splashed on the C-suite?

Anyway, we can only imagine that if Deutsche Bank is indeed planning on paying such a huge fine, then it is only doing so out of the goodness of its heart, a sense of civic duty really. Because it turns out, according to Deutsche Bank's investigation, that every bit of Deutsche Bank's involvement in the constant, gleeful rigging of Libor for years came down to just two very bad Deutsche Apples, who were fired last year.

Both of those, let's call them, slimeballs apparently were part of the global Libor-rigging cartel that involved nearly every large bank in the world. But they're gone now, and we can only imagine that their desks have been taken out back and chopped into dust, that their pictures have been photoshopped out of all the company's birthday-party photos, and that their names are no longer spoken around Deutsche Bank's offices in any tones other than scorn or maybe shame.

Reuters writes:

A Deutsche Bank internal probe has found that two of its former traders may have been involved in colluding to manipulate global benchmark interest rates but there was no indication of failure at the top of the organization, three people close to the investigation said.

No indication of failure at the top of the organization! This will be a tremendous relief to spanking-new Deutsche Bank chief Anshu Jain, who is already on thin ice with the Germans because he came up from the bank's investment-banking arm. Germans don't much like investment bankers, the Wall Street Journal wrote recently.

To make matters worse, it was Jain's investment-banking arm that happened to be in charge of these bad-apple traders that were fiendishly rigging Libor.

As the WSJ wrote:

A major scandal that originated in Mr. Jain's area of the bank could damage his chances to continue on as sole CEO of the bank after co-head Jürgen Fitschen's contract expires in three years.

Thank goodness for Jain that such a risk is apparently all gone now, according to Deutsche Bank's unflinching review of its own leadership. In fact, Reuters seems to imply that Deutsche Bank will likely avoid the sort of unpleasantness that beset Barclays, where the chairman, CEO and chief operating officer all walked the plank as a result of that bank's admitted Libor manipulation.

And we can only imagine that the ongoing investigations by "regulators and governmental entities" in the U.S. and Europe, including German markets regulator BaFin, are now a mere formality.

All that's needed now is to bring those two pesky scapegoats to justice, and Deutsche Bank can get back to doing the Lord's work.

 
FOLLOW BUSINESS