Deutsche Bank co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen, already the subject of a German tax-fraud probe, has come under further pressure after political leaders accused him of trying to influence the investigation by calling a senior German politician to protest a police raid on the bank’s headquarters last week. On Thursday, a day after the surprise search, Mr. Fitschen contacted Volker Bouffier, governor of the state of Hesse, where Deutsche Bank is based, to complain about the action. Mr. Bouffier declined to intervene, according to his spokesman. The state government has ultimate authority over the prosecutor’s office…The Deutsche Bank CEO faced criticism from senior German lawmakers on Monday who accused him of trying to undermine the judicial process. The call has left the impression that Deutsche Bank thinks it is “above the law,” said Michael Meister, a senior official in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party. “The prosecutor’s investigation must be supported,” he said. “Deutsche Bank has to send a clear signal.” Other political leaders were less polite. “A fish rots from the head down. That also applies to Deutsche Bank’s boardroom,” the Handelsblatt newspaper quoted Green party co-chief Jürgen Trittin as saying. [WSJ]
Our German friends are issuing walking papers to a whole bunch of Houston-based power and gas traders, part of cuts that have also claimed the bank’s commodities chief. More than 50 jobs are being cut. Read more »
Cuts are said to have gone down at the other DB. Read more »
The Germans are said to have asked a handful of employees to clean out their desks. Read more »
Oh man, what is going on in this FT article? Here is the bottom line:
In a series of complaints to US regulators, two risk managers and one trader have told officials that Deutsche had in effect hidden billions of dollars of losses.
“By doing so, the bank was able to maintain its carefully crafted image that it was weathering the crisis better than its competitors, many of which required government bailouts and experienced significant deterioration in their stock prices,” says Jordan Thomas, a former US Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement lawyer, who represents Eric Ben-Artzi, one of the complainants.
The “in effect” does a lot of work there; Deutsche Bank “in effect” hid billions of dollars of losses because there were no losses. Other than that!
Here’s a synopsis of what seems to have been going on:
- Starting in 2005, Deutsche did some credit trades where they bought protection from some Canadian pension funds and sold protection to hedge funds, etc.
- The bought and sold protection were not identical, with various technical bits of non-overlap that you can read about at your leisure down below.1
- A credit crisis occurred, changing the risks involved in those non-overlapping bits from silly, abstract, purely theoretical risks into significantly more alarming and more-likely-to-occur but still purely theoretical risks.2
- Deutsche’s people sort of ran around dopily trying to figure out what to do about it. Here’s a condensed version of the running around they did about the main risk, the “gap option” that DB was short in its leveraged super senior trades:
Deutsche Bank Executive Sought Counsel From Semi-Helpful LAPD Re: Bath Salts Prior To Ruthless Beating, ArrestBy Bess Levin
“How long does this stuff stay in your system?” Read more »
UBS Encouraged Kweku Adoboli To Develop Other Interests Outside Rogue Trading, Which It Condoned, Says Lawyer/Old BossBy Bess Levin
Adoboli lawyer Charles Sherrard said the bank became “more aggressive in terms of its desire to make profits” in 2011, while cross-examining one of Adoboli’s former bosses at a fraud trial in London today. “The culture, practice at the bank you were working for, didn’t matter as long as you were making money,” Sherrard said to Ron Greenidge, who oversaw UBS’s exchange-traded-funds desk until April of last year…Greenidge, who worked at UBS for 19 years, said today he was dismissed for gross misconduct because of Adoboli’s trades. He said he felt the bank was making him a scapegoat…Sherrard read out Adoboli’s performance reviews from 2009 written by Greenidge, which said the trader needed a better balance between work and other activities. Greenidge said Adoboli was a “great ambassador for the ETF product” and had outstanding performance that year…The culture at UBS changed with the arrival from Deutsche Bank of Yassine Bouhara in 2010 as the co-head of equities, Sherrard said. Bouhara is no longer at the bank. “The very nature of the bank became more aggressive in terms of its desire to make profit,” Sherrard said to Greenidge. “The mantra was coming from above was revenue, revenue, revenue.” [Bloomberg]