Source: Zero Hedge
Having been accused, and found guilty, of rigging and manipulating virtually every possible asset class, perhaps it was inevitable that Deutsche Bank, currently on trial in Milan for helping Banca Monte dei Paschi conceal losses (as first reported last October in “Deutsche Bank Charged By Italy For Market Manipulation, Creating False Accounts“) is now facing accusations that it was actually running an international criminal organization at the time.
In the closely watched lawsuit, prosecutors used internal Deutsche Bank documents and emails to persuade a three-judge panel to rule that there were additional, aggravating circumstances to the charges the German lender already faces related to various derivatives transactions. As Bloomberg reported overnight, the material included a London trader’s “well done!” message to a banker who is now on trial.
The reason why prosecutors are seeking expanded charges against the German banking giants is that by allowing prosecutors to argue that the bank’s market manipulation crimes were committed by an organization operating in several countries would lead to higher penalties if they win a conviction.
Predictably, Deutsche Bank’s lawyer, Giuseppe Iannaccone, sought to block the move at Tuesday’s hearing, saying there wasn’t a clear connection between the original charge of market manipulation and the alleged aggravating circumstances. “The trial for Deutsche Bank managers becomes more problematic after the judge’s decision,” said Giampiero Biancolella, an attorney specializing in financial crime who isn’t involved in the case. “If proven, the aggravating circumstance may increase the eventual jail sentence for the market manipulation to a maximum of nine years.”
As a reminder, Deutsche Bank and Japan’s Nomura both went on trial in Milan in December, accused of colluding with Monte Paschi to cover up losses that almost toppled the Italian lender before its current battle for survival. Thirteen former managers of Deutsche Bank, Nomura and Monte Paschi were charged for alleged false accounting and market manipulation. Focuing on the German bank, six current and former managers of Deutsche Bank, including Michele Faissola, Michele Foresti and Ivor Dunbar, were charged in Milan last year for colluding to falsify the accounts of Monte Paschi (which itself is so insolvent it recentl got its third state-funded bailout) and manipulate the market.