CFTC Drops Deutsche Bank Currency Manipulation Investigation

  • U.S. agency taking no ‘further action’ against German lender
  • Deutsche Bank still subject to other regulatory probes into FX

The U.S. regulator of derivatives and futures has dropped its years-long investigation into alleged foreign-exchange manipulation at Deutsche Bank AG, removing one regulatory headache for the embattled German lender.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission “‘is not taking any further action at this time and has closed the [foreign exchange] investigation,’" Deutsche Bank said in its third-quarter earnings report Thursday, citing an Oct. 19 letter from the U.S. agency.

The CFTC was part of a group of regulators in the U.S., U.K. and Switzerland that fined banks more than $10 billion over the manipulation of foreign exchange rates. Five global financial institutions -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citicorp, Royal Bank of Scotland Plc, Barclays Plc and UBS Group AG -- pleaded guilty in the U.S. last year in connection with a Department of Justice investigation into the conduct. The CFTC, which brought its own cases against those banks as well as HSBC Holdings Plc, accounted for $1.9 billion of that total. 

It’s not clear how the CFTC’s move may relate to other agencies that have continued to look into similar allegations at other banks. Deutsche Bank, in its statement, said it is cooperating with other regulators around the world over allegations its traders were involved in manipulating currency rates.

Steve Adamske, a CFTC spokesman, didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

The CFTC isn’t the first agency to drop the pursuit. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority, which levied fines against the six banks beginning in November 2014, said earlier this year that it is dropping its investigation into alleged currency manipulation at firms including Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank continues to face civil litigation in the U.S. over its foreign currency trading. The bank dismissed several foreign exchange traders after starting an internal investigation into alleged manipulation in 2013. The bank hasn’t yet settled foreign-exchange matters with any agency.

Deutsche Bank is the world’s fourth-largest currency dealer by market share, according to a 2016 survey from Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc. The bank held the top position from 2005 to 2013.

— With assistance by Tom Schoenberg, Matt Robinson, and Greg Farrell

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