Deutsche Bank Equities Executive Max Koep Said to Take Leave

  • Unclear if Koep will return to Deutsche Bank, person says
  • Koep oversaw operations across regions, including in Russia

Max Koep, Deutsche Bank AG’s head of equities for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, has taken a leave of absence, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Koep may not return, said the person, who requested anonymity speaking about personnel matters. The firm has been cutting as much as 17 percent of its equities trading staff as it looks to boost profitability. Company spokesman Don Hunter declined to comment, and Koep didn’t respond to requests for comment sent to his work e-mail.

In his role, Koep oversaw Russian operations that have faced allegations of enabling clients to launder money. U.S. and U.K. authorities fined the firm $629 million last month for compliance failures that allowed wealthy Russians to move about $10 billion out of the country using transactions that one regulator called “highly suggestive” of financial crime.

A criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department is ongoing into the trades, which were used to convert rubles into dollars and transfer the money out of Russia. The issues have bedeviled Chief Executive Officer John Cryan as he seeks to resolve the Frankfurt-based lender’s legal problems.

Koep, a former head of South Africa equities at Deutsche Bank, hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing or linked to any of the investigations. He was one of two managers who oversaw Tim Wiswell, once Deutsche Bank’s head of Russian equities whom the lender has since accused of being the “mastermind of the scheme for the withdrawal of billions of dollars from the country.”

Many of the executives who oversaw Deutsche Bank’s operations in Russia at the time no longer work at the lender as the lender scaled back its business in the country. Batubay Ozkan, who was head of Russian markets from 2009 to 2015, left the bank last year, as did the Russian unit’s chief operating officer, Raj Tanna, and its CEO, Pavel Teplukin.

Koep also oversaw Yuri Khilov, the former head of Deutsche Bank AG’s Russian equity-trading desk who was accused by the Bank of Russia in December of earning more than $4 million by engaging in market manipulation from 2013 to 2015, using accounts that he opened in his relatives’ names.

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