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Deutsche Bank to probe senior Russia employee over bribes

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Deutsche Bank AG's internal probe into possible money laundering at its Russian unit has sparked an investigation into whether a senior employee took bribes, people with knowledge of the situation said.

[LONDON] Deutsche Bank AG's internal probe into possible money laundering at its Russian unit has sparked an investigation into whether a senior employee took bribes, people with knowledge of the situation said.

The bribery investigation is in its early stages, the people said, requesting anonymity because the matter is private. Unexplained funds were discovered in accounts controlled by the employee and the employee's spouse, the people said. The people didn't identify the employee.

Deutsche Bank has now broadened its own probe to examine trading activities with 10 to 12 mainly Russian broker counterparties, the people said.

The firm declined to comment "in respect to these allegations," and referred to a July 30 statement, when it said it was "investigating the circumstances around equity trades entered into by certain clients with Deutsche Bank in Moscow and London that offset one another." The Frankfurt-based bank said then that it was investigating a "significant volume" of suspicious trades.

Deutsche Bank, Europe's biggest investment bank, is the subject of a US Justice Department investigation of billions of dollars of trades made on behalf of Russian clients as recently as this year, people with knowledge of the situation said earlier this month. The lender's own probe has focused on whether US$6 billion in trades in Moscow and London were part of a possible money-laundering scheme by Russian clients, Bloomberg reported in June, citing people familiar with the situation.

The bank said on July 30 that it had taken disciplinary action against a number of people, and didn't divulge the amount of money involved and how many workers were disciplined.

Deutsche Bank is one of the largest foreign securities firms in Russia, with more than 1,000 staff.

Co-Chief Executive Officer John Cryan, who took the job in July, is juggling the investigations and mounting litigation costs as he looks for ways to boost capital and shore up profitability. He and co-CEO Juergen Fitschen are considering an overhaul of the firm's management, a person with knowledge of the matter said this month.

BLOOMBERG