When on Friday news broke that German regulator BAFIN (which is just like the SEC except that it also regulates, investigates and actually prosecutes, instead of just watching porn all day) was launching a probe of the biggest bank in Europe, and actually, make that the world, Germany's Deutsche Bank, the shares took a quick, brisk hit, sliding 5% with everyone anxiously expecting to find out just which bank will follow Barclays into the scapegoat abattoir (because nobody had any clue Liebor manipulation was going on until a week ago). Yet while external inquiry into banks is to be expected (everywhere but in the US of course, because in the US no banks manipulated anything. Ever) as a proactive act on behalf of regulators to cover their back, things get a little more tricky when the bank itself admits there was an obvious supervision problem. From Reuters: "Two Deutsche Bank employees have been suspended after it used external auditors to examine whether staff were involved in manipulating interbank lending rates, German magazine Der Spiegel reported, citing no sources." Now what can possibly go wrong if the biggest bank in the world, with just shy of $3 trillion in "assets", which just happens to have a 1.68% Core Tier 1 ratio, is suddenly thrust smack in the middle of the scandal that the Economist just aptly named the finance industry's "tobacco moment"?
A spokesman for Deutsche Bank on Sunday declined to comment on the article, referring to its quarterly report, which said it has received subpoenas and requests for information from U.S. and European authorities in connection with setting interbank rates.
On Friday, people familiar with the matter told Reuters that Germany's markets regulator has launched a special probe into Deutsche Bank over suspected manipulation of interbank lending rates.
Investigators in the United States, Europe and Japan are examining more than a dozen big banks over suspected rigging of the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor).
Britain's Barclays has been the only bank to admit wrongdoing, agreeing last week to pay a fine of more than $450 million.
The Libor rates, compiled from estimates by large banks of how much they believe they have to pay to borrow from each other, are used to determine interest rates on trillions of dollars worth of contracts around the world.
A spokesman for Frankfurt-based private bank Metzler said one of its investment companies has joined a number of class action suits in New York against banks accused of manipulating Libor rates.
"This is a standard procedure," he said.
And while all of that is fun and stuff, can we just fast forward to the moment where Jamie Dimon once again tells his Congressional muppets that LIeBOR is meaningless, and to look for their Christmas Libor-adjusted donation checks in the next few months.