After BNP Paribas’ record fine, US authorities reportedly have their sights on Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank over their dealings with countries under sanctions by the United States.
Settlement talks have just begun, according to media reports citing sources with direct knowledge of the investigations. The timing of a deal remains unclear.
After failing to land high-profile criminal cases stemming from the 2008-09 financial crisis, the US Justice Department and financial regulators in New York have been focusing on other types of criminal activity including money laundering, tax evasion and sanctions violations.
Commerzbank is accused by US authorities of transferring money through its operations in the states on behalf of companies in Iran and Sudan.
It could pay at least $500 million (367 million euros) in penalties, according to the New York Times, which first reported the settlement talks.
The paper said a deal could be struck as soon as this summer and could pave the way for an agreement with Deutsche Bank.
Neither bank would comment on the reports.
Deutsche Bank, which has already paid over five billion euros in fines and settlements in the past two years, said in June it had done nothing wrong in its Iran dealings.
Germany’s largest lender stopped doing new business with Iran in 2007 but remains engaged in several long-term loans or financial arrangements, some of which conclude in 2019, Deutsche said in the prospectus for a rights issue.
“We do not believe we have engaged in activities sanctionable under these statutes, but the US authorities have considerable discretion in applying the statutes and any imposition of sanctions could be material,” the bank said.