Deutsche Bank's own Libor probe clears board-sources

FRANKFURT Tue Jul 24, 2012 1:38pm EDT

A visitor walks past the bank's logo prior to Deutsche Bank's annual news conference in Frankfurt February 2, 2012. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

A visitor walks past the bank's logo prior to Deutsche Bank's annual news conference in Frankfurt February 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - An internal probe at Deutsche Bank has found that two former traders may have been involved in colluding to manipulate global benchmark interest rates but there was no indication of failure at the top of the bank, three people close to the investigation said.

The internal probe has not yet been concluded and only preliminary findings have emerged so far, these people said.

But any sign that only traders were involved in any rigging may help take the heat off Deutsche Bank co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain.

Jain was in charge of investment banking at Deutsche Bank before taking over as co-CEO in June and has come under pressure to clarify whether he was aware of any possible rigging.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment on the status of its internal probe. This is separate from a special probe of Deutsche Bank initiated by German markets regulator Bafin. The bank has also said it is cooperating with other investigations into the rigging of Libor in the United States and Europe.

Last month, rival Barclays reached a $450 million settlement with U.S. and British regulators over its involvement in alleged manipulation of the London interbank offered rate (Libor), which underpins an estimated $550 trillion in financial products, including consumer loans, mortgages, municipal bonds and corporate paper.

Failings at the British bank eventually led to the departure of Barclays' chairman, its chief executive and chief operating officer and prompted a wholesale review of its organization.

It remains unclear when Deutsche Bank's internal probe is set to conclude, the people familiar with the investigation said. Bafin has been briefed on preliminary findings of the internal probe, which was initiated a year ago, these sources said.

Deutsche Bank became aware of potential failings when regulators probing other banks provided information showing potential involvement of Deutsche Bank traders, one of the sources familiar with the matter said.

The two traders, Christian Bittar and Guillaume Adolph, have since left Deutsche Bank, two of the sources said. Bittar was not available for comment at hedge fund BlueCrest where he now works. London-based trader Adolph was named as a participant in the alleged manipulation of yen Libor in an affidavit filed by a Canadian competition law officer at a Canadian Court last year. Adolph could not be reached for comment.

Libor rates submitted by banks are compiled by Thomson Reuters, parent company of Reuters, on behalf of the British Bankers' Association.

(Additional reporting By Alexander Huebner in Frankfurt and Martin De Sa'Pinto in Zurich and Rachel Armstrong in Singapore; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)

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