March 31 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank AG, the world’s largest currency trader, has placed on leave a director of institutional foreign exchange sales as part of an internal investigation into potential exchange rate manipulation, a source familiar with the matter said on Monday.
Kai Lew, based in London and responsible for central bank FX business at the German lender, was placed on leave earlier this month, the source said.
She is the first woman among some 30 currency traders at several big banks to be placed on leave, suspended or fired as a result of the ongoing global probe into alleged wrongdoing in the $5.3 trillion-a-day market, the world’s largest.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing.
A spokeswoman for Deutsche declined to comment, referring Reuters to a previous statement from the bank that read: “Deutsche Bank has received requests for information from regulatory authorities that are investigating trading in the foreign exchange market. The bank is cooperating with those investigations, and will take disciplinary action with regards to individuals if merited.”
Lew could not be immediately reached for comment.
Lew joined Deutsche in February 2006 from Goldman Sachs , where she had been for six years in London, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to her LinkedIn page.
This news comes on the same day Swiss and British regulators stepped up their scrutiny of alleged manipulation of FX markets.
Switzerland’s competition commission WEKO said it formally opened an investigation into several Swiss, British and U.S. banks including JP Morgan, Barclays and Citi .
The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meanwhile, said it will assess if banks have cut the risk of traders manipulating benchmark rates in the coming year, to see if lessons have been learned from the scandal over benchmark rate rigging.
Last week Swiss bank UBS AG, the world’s fourth largest FX bank, suspended up to six currency traders in the United States, Zurich and Singapore.
Deutsche Bank and UBS together see around a quarter of the $5.3 trillion that flows through the global market on an average day, according to the latest Euromoney poll. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Toby Chopra)