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The Justice Department has made itself quite clear, much to the chagrin of the corporate bar and the angst on the streets of Frankfurt: If you sign a deferred-prosecution agreement, it expects you to live up to those terms.

Well, you can rest a tiny bit easier, Christian Sewing & co., because it seems that for the DoJ, going Medieval on one’s ass for failing to live up to the terms of an agreement involves having a subsidiary plead guilty to something, and entering into a new agreement, the terms of which look and sound an awful lot like the ones to which you’ve already failed to adhere.

Under a plea deal filed in court, the bank agreed to $35 million in fines and other penalties, a three-year term of probation during which NatWest is required to cooperate with prosecutors and the appointment of a corporate monitor to assess the bank’s compliance practices…. In 2017, a NatWest Markets subsidiary then known as RBS Securities Inc. admitted its traders defrauded counterparties when dealing in mortgage securities and other loan-backed investments; in exchange, the Justice Department agreed not to prosecute the bank.

Well, that will definitely make a bank that has already paid $750 million in money-laundering and market-manipulation fines this month think twice.

NatWest Pleads Guilty to Manipulating Treasury Markets [WSJ]

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