Deutsche Bank Said Last Lender to Stop Angola Dollar Clearing

  • Frankfurt-based bank said to have stopped services last month
  • Angola ranks among 20 most corrupt nations in the world

Deutsche Bank AG stopped providing dollar clearing in Angola, leaving one of Africa’s biggest oil-producing nations without a lender to supply the service, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

The company ceased dollar clearing for Angola in mid-November, said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media. The Frankfurt-based lender was the only European bank providing clearing to banks in Angola, one person said.

Angola is among the 20 most corrupt countries in the world as ranked by Transparency International, making it difficult for foreign lenders to comply with anti-money laundering and corruption rules. This week, the nation’s lack of access to dollar clearing came to light in a court filing by South Africa’s Standard Bank Group Ltd., which mentioned that the only lender providing the service in Angola had pulled out, without naming Deutsche Bank.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Amelia Borja, a spokeswoman for the central bank in Luanda, didn’t answer repeated calls to her mobile phone.

The International Monetary Fund said in June that the cost of doing business in Angola has risen because the country has lost relationships with international banks, warning that the nation’s financial system could weaken further as it struggles with lower oil prices and bad loans. Standard Chartered Plc ended its dollar services in the country in December 2015, days after Bank of America Corp. was said to have halted supplies.

Angola, where people use dollars to hedge against the depreciating local currency, is encouraging the use of euros, South African rand and China’s renminbi. Angola’s central bank now primarily uses euros in foreign-exchange markets, the IMF said.

Standard Bank submitted papers to the Pretoria High Court that pointed to Angola as an example of the dangers for a country when it’s perceived to be at risk of violating anti-money laundering laws. The Johannesburg-based bank also said its Angolan operation is being affected by the local dollar shortage. The lender made the submission as part of a case brought by South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, who argues he doesn’t have the right to intervene when domestic banks shed customers.

— With assistance by Renee Bonorchis, and Colin McClelland

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