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Deutsche Bank pays US$197m to settle Vestia bribery case

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Deutsche Bank AG settled a lawsuit from a Dutch affordable-housing provider that said the lender was responsible for bribery over derivatives trades.

[LONDON] Deutsche Bank AG settled a lawsuit from a Dutch affordable-housing provider that said the lender was responsible for bribery over derivatives trades.

The bank paid 175 million euros (S$267.7 million) to settle the case with no admission of liability, it said Friday in a statement. The deal brings an end to a long-running court battle that had featured testimony from a middleman who's confessed to bribery, and tales of expensive sushi, "bubbly" wine and meals at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

In the London suit, Stichting Vestia - a housing provider that nearly collapsed as a result of derivatives losses totaling more than 2 billion euros - sought to recoup some of the money, saying some of those derivatives transactions were "flawed." That's because the bank paid fees to a middleman when it entered into derivatives trades with the housing group, Vestia said. The bank said during the trial that the middleman seemed to be a legitimate intermediary.

"With this settlement agreement, this dispute between Vestia and Deutsche Bank comes to an end," Deutsche Bank said in a statement.

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"We are satisfied with the result," Vestia said in a statement. The US$197 million sum "is a substantial amount and makes a good contribution to the financial recovery."

The case is just one of a lengthy list of legal issues that Deutsche Bank is grappling with. The US Department of Justice is investigating the bank as part of a broadened probe of Malaysia's scandal-plagued 1MDB investment fund.

The Vestia trial started in early May and had been scheduled to last until July 18.

BLOOMBERG