German bank fined over Iran transactions

05 November 2015

US continues to enforce financial sanctions

  • US regulators fine German Deutsche Bank $258m
  • Bank employees deliberately concealed transactions with sanctioned entities and countries between 1999 and 2006

The US Federal Reserve and the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYSDFS) have fined Germany’s Deutsche Bank a total of $258m.

The fines relate to concealing transactions on behalf of sanctioned countries including Iran, Syria, Libya and Sudan between 1999 and 2006.

Bank employees deliberately concealed $27,200 of clearing transactions worth $10.9bn, according to NYSDFS. It has ordered six senior managers involved in the transactions to be fired.

Deutsche Bank will pay $200m to NYDFS and $58m to the Federal Reserve.

Any transaction using dollars must pass through clearing in the US. Funds from sanctioned entities can be frozen or rejected. Banks rely on codes to identify the parties to the transactions, but these can be stripped before the order is sent to the US.

A number of globally-operating banks have been fined for violating sanctions on Iran and other countries. They include an $8.9bn fine for French BNP Paribas, $1.9bn for London-based HSBC, $1.5bn for German Commerzbank and two fines for the UK’s Standard Chartered, totalling almost $1bn.

Financial sanctions on Iran will remain in place until Implementation Day, under the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 agreed in July 2015. This is expected to take place in early 2016, if the International Atomic Energy Agency finds Iran to be in compliance with the agreement in December.

The US appears to be continuing to enforce the sanctions regime.

Global banks are expected to be cautious on doing business with Iran, despite the lucrative opportunities.

Sanctions will remain on US citizens and companies facilitating business with Iran.

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