LONDON (Reuters) - A Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) employee responsible for its foreign exchange business with central banks was suspended because the bank identified potentially inappropriate communication with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, a source familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
Kai Lew, a London-based director of institutional sales at the German bank, became the first woman to be embroiled in a global probe into the $5.3 trillion-a-day currency market, the world’s largest, when she was placed on leave last month as part of an internal investigation by Deutsche Bank.
She is one of more than 30 employees at some of the world’s biggest banks to have been placed on leave, suspended or fired in the course of the continuing investigation by regulators into alleged manipulation of key exchange rates.
There is no evidence of any wrongdoing by Lew, Deutsche Bank or Singapore’s central bank, the source said.
Lew could not immediately be reached for comment, while Deutsche declined to comment on the development, which was earlier reported by the Wall Street Journal.
The bank repeated a previous statement that it 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.”
A spokesman for the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said, “MAS has been in contact with foreign regulators and stands ready to assist in the FX investigations. We have been in touch with financial institutions, including Deutsche Bank, on these investigations. MAS is looking into all allegations of inappropriate behavior.”
The development widens the global probe to a second central bank, after the Bank of England suspended an employee earlier this year pending an investigation into compliance with its “rigorous internal control processes”.
A source familiar with the matter in Singapore said it was ‘inappropriate’ to compare this issue with the Bank of England situation, but declined to give any further detail.
Lew joined Deutsche in February 2006 from Goldman Sachs (GS.N), where she had worked for six years in London, Hong Kong and Singapore, according to her LinkedIn page.
Deutsche Bank is the world’s biggest currency trader, with on average some 15 percent of the market, according to the latest Euromoney poll.
The German bank has so far taken action against five employees in London, New York and Buenos Aires.
Reporting by Jamie McGeever, Rachel Armstrong and Thomas Atkins; Editing by Alexander Smith and Greg Mahlich