March 12, 2015

Federal Reserve Board announces civil money penalty and issues cease and desist order against Commerzbank

For release at 12:00 p.m. EDT

The Federal Reserve Board on Thursday announced a $200 million penalty and consent cease and desist order against Commerzbank AG, of Frankfurt am Main, Germany, relating to violations of U.S. sanctions, the Bank Secrecy Act, and other anti-money laundering laws. The order requires Commerzbank, including its branch in New York, to implement an enhanced program to ensure global compliance with U.S. sanctions and anti-money laundering laws.

The actions were taken by the Federal Reserve for unsafe and unsound practices at Commerzbank. The firm did not have sufficient policies and procedures to ensure that activities conducted at its offices outside of the United States complied with U.S. sanctions laws. The Federal Reserve also identified failures by Commerzbank and its New York branch to comply with anti-money laundering requirements, which resulted in large transactions being processed without adequate customer due diligence or suspicious activity reporting.

The Federal Reserve's order is being taken in conjunction with actions by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the New York County District Attorney's Office, and the New York Department of Financial Services for violations of U.S. sanctions, anti-money laundering requirements, and various New York state laws. The penalties issued by all of the agencies total $1.71 billion.

The Federal Reserve order also prohibits Commerzbank from re-employing the individuals involved in the past actions or retaining them as consultants or contractors. The Federal Reserve is also investigating whether enforcement actions are appropriate against these or other individuals who may have been involved in the conduct underlying the enforcement actions against the institution. Commerzbank has agreed to cooperate in these investigations, but is not the subject of these investigations.

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Board Votes

Last Update: March 12, 2015