Deutsche Bank finds itself in the sights of regulators once again, as France’s financial authority investigates accusations that it passed insider information to four hedge funds.
It is the fourth time in little over a year that regulators in Europe have taken aim at Deutsche Bank for such alleged malfeasance. In the current case, the Autorie des Marches Financiers is probing telephone calls between Deutsche Bank and hedge funds GLG Partners, UBS O’Connor, Ferox Capital Management and Meditor Capital Management. According to an unreleased 80-page report on the matter, Deutsche Bank allegedly helped those hedge funds trade shares in Vivendi Universal in advance of a convertible-bond sale in November 2002, Bloomberg News reports. Shares of Vivendi took a 14% nosedive in the days before the offering.
According to the report, Deutsche Bank also failed to keep proper records of the conversations, as required by French law, and destroyed the relevant tapes. Bloomberg reports that Deutsche Bank may be slapped with €3 million in fines for its alleged role, with each of the hedge funds possibly earning €1.5 million fines, which would make it the biggest combined fine even in France related to improper trading.
This is the second time this year that Deutsche Bank has run afoul of France’s AMF: It and GLG were fined in January, with Deutsche accused of improperly leaking information regarding an Alcatel convertible-bond sale. The firm was also hit last year by British accusations of misleading investors about a stock offering, and by Spanish regulators in March for leaking information again.