Back in the summer we wrote about an IMF report that flagged Deutsche Bank as the “most important net contributor to systemic risks” (see “‘Deutsche Bank Poses The Greatest Risk To The Global Financial System’: IMF“). Those who read our site frequently were likely not terribly surprised by the IMF’s conclusion.
Among the G-SIBs, Deutsche Bank appears to be the most important net contributor to systemic risks, followed by HSBC and Credit Suisse. In turn, Commerzbank, while an important player in Germany, does not appear to be a contributor to systemic risks globally. In general, Commerzbank tends to be the recipient of inward spillover from U.S. and European G-SIBs. The relative importance of Deutsche Bank underscores the importance of risk management, intense supervision of G-SIBs and the close monitoring of their cross-border exposures, as well as rapidly completing capacity to implement the new resolution regime.
That said, we suspect the latest ranking of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) by the Financial Stability Board may be a bit more surprising to our readers, among others, as it features two of America’s largest banks right at the very top.
– US Set To Alienate Angry Germany Next, As Crackdown Shifts From BNP To Commerzbank, Deutsche Bank (ZeroHedge, July 8, 2014):
As we reported over the weekend in “By “Punishing” France, The US Just Accelerated The Demise Of The Dollar“, following the record $9 billion fine against French BNP, the outcry has been fast and furious, with virtually everyone in the local chain of command, from the CEO of Total to the head of the Bank of France (and ECB member) Christian Noyer, all saying that the US is now clearly abusing the reserve power of the dollar and it is time to move away from a dollar-based reserve currency (how that jives with concurrent French demands for a lower EUR is a different, incomprehensible matter entirely).
It appears that having pushed France forcefully into the Russia-China Eurasian, and anti-US camp, the US will now do the same with Germany. Because after infuriating the German population by first refusing to return their gold contained (the legend goes) at the New York Fed, and then with scandal after spying scandal, most recently involving the CIA directly soliciting a German double agent, now the time has come to “punish” Germany’s largest banks for the same kind of money laundering that BNP was engaged in. As the NYT and Reuters report, the time has come to shift away from the BNP scandal and focus on what will soon be the Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank fallout.
According to the NYT, the money laundering crackdown is “bound for another European financial center: Germany. State and federal authorities have begun settlement talks with Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest lender, over the bank’s dealings with Iran and other countries blacklisted by the United States, according to people briefed on the matter. The bank, which is suspected of transferring money through its American operations on behalf of companies in Iran and Sudan, could strike a settlement deal with the state and federal authorities as soon as this summer, said the people briefed on the matter, who were not authorized to speak publicly.
The contours of a settlement, which the authorities have only begun to sketch out, are expected to include at least $500 million in penalties for Commerzbank, the people added. Although prosecutors were still weighing punishments, the people briefed on the matter said that the bank would most likely face a so-called deferred prosecution agreement, which would suspend criminal charges in exchange for the financial penalty and other concessions.
It’s not just Commerzbank – a settlement with the smaller bank will merely pave the way for the punishment of the biggest bank of all (in terms of groiss derivative notional held): Deutsche Bank.
A potential deal with Commerzbank — which is expected to pave the way for a separate settlement with Deutsche Bank, Germany’s largest bank — would pale in comparison to the case announced last week against France’s biggest bank, BNP Paribas. The French bank agreed to pay a record $8.9 billion penalty and plead guilty to criminal charges for processing transactions on behalf of Sudan and other countries that America has hit with sanctions, a rare criminal action against a financial giant.
As NYT adds, correctly, “The Commerzbank investigation features an added twist: The bank is 17 percent owned by the German government. It is unclear whether — as in the BNP case, which led French authorities to intervene on the bank’s behalf — the settlement talks could inflame diplomatic tensions between Washington and Berlin.”
Of course, since this is the ridiculous “scorched earth” diplomatic policy, if one may call it that, of the Obama administration, nobody is surprised any more that the US president is alienating one former ally after another.
As we first observed a few weeks ago when we revealed JPM’s involvement in all of this money laundering, “some critics have questioned why American authorities have set their eye on European banks. The answer, authorities say, is that American banks by and large avoided processing transactions for Iran and Sudan. But American banks are not immune from touching dirty money. Citigroup’s Banamex unit is under investigation for processing money linked to a drug cartel. And in January, JPMorgan Chase reached a roughly $2 billion deal with the authorities over ignoring signs of the Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Bernard L. Madoff, who held accounts at the bank for over two decades.”
Not only that but as we wrote over the weekend, the bank that was instrumental in facilitating BNP’s money laundering for nearly a decade was none other than JPM. One wonders if JPM also “unwittingly” was the bank that made German money laundering around the globe possible. Did we mention unwittingly?
Still, while one can debate the idiocy of US foreign policy, eager to push European allies into the willing hands of Russia and China at the worst possible moment, when regional and civil wars and conflicts are suddenly breaking out across all key geopolitical hotspots, one wonders: in the case of BNP, the “fine” was as a result of French unwillingness to halt the Russian amphibious warship deal despite US demands. So it would be curious just what the US blackmail against German banks is for: one really does wonder just what punishment Angela Merkel deserves behind the scenes in the eyes of John Kerry et clueless al, to punish her and Germany so blatantly for the entire world to see.
One thing is clear: if the US thinks that Germany will continue to consider America its BFF and make zero contingency plans for when the alliance with the US finally crashes and burns, it will be truly surprised when the Eurasian alliance of Russia and China finally announces its final, all-important, missing link member: the manufacturing and export powerhouse that is Germany itself.
– By “Punishing” France, The US Just Accelerated The Demise Of The Dollar (ZeroHedge, July 4, 2014):
Not even we anticipated this particular “unintended consequence” as a result of the US multi-billion dollar fine on BNP (which France took very much to heart). Moments ago, in a lengthy interview given to French magazine Investir, none other than the governor of the French National Bank Christian Noyer and member of the ECB’s governing board, said this stunner at the very end, via Bloomberg:
- NOYER: BNP CASE WILL ENCOURAGE ‘DIVERSIFICATION’ FROM DOLLAR
Here is the full google translated segment:
Q. Doesn’t the role of the dollar as an international currency create systemic risk?
Noyer: Beyond [the BNP] case, increased legal risks from the application of U.S. rules to all dollar transactions around the world will encourage a diversification from the dollar. BNP Paribas was the occasion for many observers to remember that there has been a number of sanctions and that there would certainly be others in the future. A movement to diversify the currencies used in international trade is inevitable. Trade between Europe and China does not need to use the dollar and may be read and fully paid in euros or renminbi. Walking towards a multipolar world is the natural monetary policy, since there are several major economic and monetary powerful ensembles. China has decided to develop the renminbi as a settlement currency. The Bank of France was behind the popular ECB-PBOC swap and we have just concluded a memorandum on the creation of a system of offshore renminbi clearing in Paris. We have very strong cooperation with the PBOC in this field. But these changes take time. We must not forget that it took decades after the United States became the world’s largest economy for the dollar to replace the British pound as the first international currency. But the phenomenon of U.S. rules expanding to all USD-denominated transactions around the world can have an accelerating effect.
In other words, the head of the French central bank, and ECB member, Christian Noyer, just issued a direct threat to the world’s reserve currency (for now), the US Dollar.
– Putin to West: Stop turning world into ‘global barracks,’ dictating rules to others (RT, July 1, 2014):
Russia’s president has blamed the turmoil in Ukraine on the country’s newly-elected leader Petro Poroshenko. Vladimir Putin also criticized the West for its intention to turn the planet into a “global barracks.”
Russia’s president has laid the blame for the ongoing turmoil between Kiev and south-eastern regions squarely at the feet of Petro Poroshenko, after the Ukrainian leader terminated the ceasefire.
He has stressed that Russia and European partners could not convince Poroshenko to not take the path of violence, which can’t lead to peace.
“Unfortunately, President Poroshenko has made the decision to resume military actions, and we – meaning myself and my colleagues in Europe – could not convince him that the way to reliable, firm and long-term peace can’t lie through war,” Putin said. “So far, Petro Poroshenko had no direct relation to orders to take military action. Now he has taken on this responsibility in full. Not only military, but also political, more importantly.”
On Monday, the leaders of Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine held a phone call in which Putin stressed the need to prolong the ceasefire and the creation of “a reliable mechanism for monitoring compliance with it and the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] should play an active role.”
– No Holders Barred: DOJ Slams BNP With Multi-Billion Dollar Penalty (Zerohedge, May 29, 2014):
Francois Hollande is not having a good week – disastrous elections over the weekend, followed by record high numbers of jobseekers (destroying his promise to deliver jobs), and now his banking system is under attack; as the WSJ reports:
- *US JUSTICE DEPT SEEKS >$10B BNP PENALTY FOR SANCTIONS EVASION: WSJ
A final resolution (and a guilty plea) of the years long investigation of the French bank is likely weeks away, WSJ notes but it does remain ironic that in flexing his enforcement muscles, DoJ’s Eric Holder is about to crucify yet another non-US bank.
The U.S. Justice Department is pushing BNP Paribas SA to pay more than $10 billion to resolve a criminal probe into allegations it evaded U.S. sanctions against Iran and other countries for years, which would represent one of the largest penalties ever imposed on a bank, according to people familiar with the negotiations.
– BNP Banker, His Wife And Nephew Murdered In Belgium (ZeroHedge, April 20, 2014):
In the beginning it was banker suicides. Then about two weeks ago, suicides were replaced by outright murders after the execution-style killing of the CEO of a bank in otherwise sleepy (and tax evasive) Lichtenstein by a disgruntled client. Then on Friday news hit of another execution-type murder in just as sleepy, if not so tax evasive, Belgium, where in the city of Vise, a 37-year-old Director at BNP Paribas Fortis was murdered alongside his wife and a 9 year old nephew in a premeditated and orchestrated drive-by shooting.
According to Marcel Neven, Mayor of Vise, nothing can yet explain what caused the violent shooting that rocked the neighborhood sports hall of his town this Friday, April 18, late at night. A man of 37 years, Benedict Philippens, bank manager Ans-Saint-Nicolas, was shot. A little 9 year old boy, living in Dolhain, was also killed. A lady, the wife of the man and the boy aunt and godmother, Carol Haid, 37 also died of his injuries on Saturday, in the morning. She was hit by three bullets in the back, said a judicial source.
According to information from the survey and some witnesses, a car waiting outside their house Berneau street near the sports hall Visé. When the victims’ car is back in the driveway, shots were fired from the car that waited patiently. The author of the shots is actively sought.
– The Federal Reserve Cartel: Part IV: A Financial Parasite (Veterans Today, Dec 14, 2012):
(Excerpted from Chapter 19: Big Oil & Their Bankers…Part four of a five-part series)
United World Federalists founder James Warburg’s father was Paul Warburg, who financed Hitler with help from Brown Brothers Harriman partner Prescott Bush. 
Colonel Ely Garrison was a close friend of both President Teddy Roosevelt and President Woodrow Wilson. Garrison wrote in Roosevelt, Wilson and the Federal Reserve, “Paul Warburg was the man who got the Federal Reserve Act together after the Aldrich Plan aroused such nationwide resentment and opposition. The mastermind of both plans was Baron Alfred Rothschild of London.”
From the article:
Comment: It’s not “socialism for the rich”; that’s an oxymoron.
It’s corporatism, i.e. fascism, as defined by Benito Mussolini.
– Audit of the Federal Reserve Reveals $16 Trillion in Secret Bailouts (Sott.net, Sep 1, 2012):
The first ever GAO (Government Accountability Office) audit of the Federal Reserve was carried out in the past few months due to the Ron Paul, Alan Grayson Amendment to the Dodd-Frank bill, which passed last year. Jim DeMint, a Republican Senator, and Bernie Sanders, an independent Senator, led the charge for a Federal Reserve audit in the Senate, but watered down the original language of the house bill(HR1207), so that a complete audit would not be carried out.
Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan, and various other bankers vehemently opposed the audit and lied to Congress about the effects an audit would have on markets. Nevertheless, the results of the first audit in the Federal Reserve’s nearly 100 year history were posted on Senator Sander’s webpage earlier this morning.
What was revealed in the audit was startling:
– BNP Furious That Draghi “Jumped The Gun” (ZeroHedge, Aug 2, 2012)
– Here We Go: Moody’s Downgrade Is Out – Morgan Stanley Cut Only 2 Notches, To Face $6.8 Billion In Collateral Calls (ZeroHedge, June 21, 2012):
Here it comes:
- MOODY’S CUTS 4 FIRMS BY 1 NOTCH
- MOODY’S CUTS 10 FIRMS’ RATINGS BY 2 NOTCHES
- MOODY’S CUTS 1 FIRM BY 3 NOTCHES
- MORGAN STANLEY L-T SR DEBT CUT TO Baa1 FROM A2 BY MOODY’S
- MOODY’S CUTS MORGAN STANLEY 2 LEVELS, HAD SEEN UP TO 3
- MORGAN STANLEY OUTLOOK NEGATIVE BY MOODY’S
- MORGAN STANLEY S-T RATING CUT TO P-2 FROM P-1 BY MOODY’S
But the kicker:
ONLY MORGAN STANLEY, HSBC CUT LESS THAN MOODY’S ORGINAL MAXIMUM.
And there you have it – the reason for the delay were last minute negotiations, most certainly involving extensive monetary explanations, by Morgan Stanley’s Gorman (potentially with Moody’s investor Warren Buffett on the call) to get only a two notch downgrade. And Wall Street wins again.
Recall, from MS’ 10-Q:
“In connection with certain OTC trading agreements and certain other agreements associated with the Institutional Securities business segment, the Company may be required to provide additional collateral or immediately settle any outstanding liability balances with certain counterparties in the event of a credit rating downgrade. At March 31, 2012, the following are the amounts of additional collateral, termination payments or other contractual amounts (whether in a net asset or liability position) that could be called by counterparties under the terms of such agreements in the event of a downgrade of the Company’s long-term credit rating under various scenarios: $868 million (A3 Moody’s/A- S&P); $5,177 million (Baa1 Moody’s/ BBB+ S&P); and $7,206 million (Baa2 Moody’s/BBB S&P). Also, the Company is required to pledge additional collateral to certain exchanges and clearing organizations in the event of a credit rating downgrade. At March 31, 2012, the increased collateral requirement at certain exchanges and clearing organizations under various scenarios was $160 million (A3 Moody’s/A- S&P); $1,600 million (Baa1 Moody’s/ BBB+ S&P); and $2,400 million (Baa2 Moody’s/BBB S&P).”
So instead of $9.6 billion, MS will face only $6.8 billion in collateral calls.
Still the firm is not out of the woods: