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Deutsche Bank Said to Find Improper Communication in FX Case

Pedestrians pass the entrance to Deutsche Bank AG's offices in London. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Pedestrians pass the entrance to Deutsche Bank AG's offices in London. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Deutsche Bank AG put a London-based currency saleswoman on leave last month for inappropriate communication with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, a person familiar with the matter said.

No other details on Kai Lew’s communications with MAS were disclosed by the person, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Deutsche Bank had received requests for information from regulators investigating currency trading and is cooperating with them, the lender said in an e-mailed statement today.

Deutsche Bank “will take disciplinary action with regards to individuals if merited,” the lender said. The statement didn’t name any specific individuals or regulators. Germany’s biggest bank is also the world’s top currency dealer, according to a May survey by Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc.

Authorities in three continents are looking into whether traders at some of the largest banks sought to manipulate foreign-exchange benchmarks. The investigations come on top of scrutiny of attempts by bankers to rig interbank lending rates and allegations Deutsche Bank and its competitors didn’t provide adequate disclosure of U.S. mortgage-backed securities.

“We have been in touch with financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, on these investigations,” the Singapore central bank said in an e-mailed statement today. “MAS is looking into all allegations of inappropriate behavior.”

‘Stands Ready’

MAS has also been in contact with foreign regulators and “stands ready to assist” in the investigations of currency markets, the central bank said.

Lew, who handled business for central banks, is among at least two dozen employees -- and the first in sales -- who have been fired, suspended or put on leave by banks including Citigroup Inc., Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Barclays Plc as authorities investigate currency markets. No firms or traders have been accused of wrongdoing by authorities.

MAS isn’t the first central bank to be drawn into the currency-trading investigations. Last month the Bank of England suspended an employee amid its own internal investigation into allegations its officials condoned rigging of benchmark rates.

Lew’s communication with Singapore’s MAS was reported by the Wall Street Journal yesterday.

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