German bank fined seven million euros over Assad family transactions
Deutsche Bank AG has been forced to pay seven million euros in a settlement following an investigation by German prosecutors into whether it laundered money for relatives of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
The leading investment bank agreed to pay 7.01 million euros ($7.1 million) and accept a penalty notice after prosecutors found that it had failed to file 701 reports of suspicious activity, Bloomberg reported.
The bank acted “thoughtlessly” according to the prosecutors.
Last April, the prosecutors had raided Deutsche Bank AG’s headquarters in Frankfurt.
Relatives of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, including his notorious uncle Rifaat, are believed to have made transactions via Jyske Bank in Gibraltar and Deutsche Bank AG acted as a correspondent bank for Jyske Bank.
Prosecutors said Deutsche Bank AG should have responded to red flags and investigated its involvement in these transactions, including a French criminal case against Rifaat al-Assad, as far back as 2017.
However no criminal charges for money laundering were brought against Deutsche Bank AG or its employees, because it did not have a duty to look into Jyske Bank’s customers.
Rifaat al-Assad is widely held responsible for the notorious 1982 Hama Massacre, in which as many as 30,000 people were killed following an uprising against his brother, former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, the father of current Syrian dictator Bashar.
Rifaat lived in exile in France between 1984 and 2021 following a dispute with Hafez. In 2020 he was convicted of money laundering in France but escaped to Syria before he could be imprisoned.