The US department of justice has in recent weeks stepped up its investigation into Deutsche bank’s role in the 200 billion Euro ($220 billion) Danske Bank money-laundering scandal, four people familiar with the inquiry told Reuters.
One source said the DOJ’s new line of inquiry is whether Deutsche helped move tainted money from Danske, Denmark’s largest lender, into the United States. If proven, that could lead to steep financial penalties.
Officials from the DOJ, who have been working closely with Estonian prosecutors for around a year, have also begun cooperating with Frankfurt state prosecutors, the sources said.
The Frankfurt prosecutors have been exploring Deutsche’s role in processing payments for the Danish bank.
The DOJ’S focus on Germany’s largest bank and its work with Frankfurt prosecutors have not previously been reported.
A Danske spokesman said it continued to cooperate with the authorities in Estonia, Denmark, France, and the United States.
The DOJ and Frankfurt state prosecutors declined to comment on the US investigation, which two sources told Reuters is due to be completed next year.
Deutsche bank’s spokesman said it had significantly improved controls in recent years.
Danske’s admission last year that suspicious payments totaling 200 billion Euros from Russia and elsewhere flowed through its branch in Estonia has triggered worldwide probes.
Deutsche processed the bulk of these payments, sources have previously told Reuters.