Deutsche Bank allegedly hid losses during crisis

Reports emerged this week that Deutsche Bank allegedly hid billions of dollars in losses on bad assets during the global financial crisis, but Germany's central bank refused to confirm it was investigating the matter.

Deutsche Bank allegedly hid losses during crisis
Photo: DPA

According to the Financial Times, the Bundesbank has launched a probe against Germany’s biggest lender concerning the accusations dating back to 2011.

The newspaper alleged that three former Deutsche Bank employees told US regulators, the SEC, that the bank had used improper accounting to misrepresent as much as $12 billion (€9.3 billion) in losses on credit derivatives during the financial crisis between 2007 and 2009.

Deutsche Bank – which liked to present itself as one of the few German banks to weather the crisis – hid the losses so as to avoid a government bailout, said the FT.

The Bundesbank said it always examines allegations of wrongdoing by Germany’s banks, but could not provide information about individual investigations.

“We cannot provide any information about supervisory measures concerning individual banks,” a spokeswoman said.

“But in principle it is true to say that the central bank looks into whether any accusations are valid,” she said.

Deutsche Bank has always denied the allegations, issuing a statement on Thursday dismissing the report as “wholly unfounded”.

It said the allegations were “more than two and a half years old” and had been widely reported in June 2011.

“The investigation also revealed that the allegations stem from people without responsibility for, or personal knowledge of, key facts and information,” it added.

Deutsche Bank has said it had properly valued and accounted for its trading on the credit derivatives in question and the positions had since been unwound in an orderly fashion.

Deutsche Bank booked a net loss of €3.9 billion in 2008, but ran up a profit of nearly €5.0 billion in 2009.

AFP/The Local/jcw

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Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

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In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

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