By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit accusing Deutsche Bank AG <DBKGn.DE> of concealing major deficiencies in its anti-money laundering controls, even as it allowed “mirror trades” to launder money out of Russia as part of a $10 billion trading scheme.
U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in Manhattan on Wednesday said investors who bought the German bank’s securities in the United States failed to specify how Deutsche Bank materially misled or intended to mislead them about its controls.
Though the 158-page complaint offers “evidence that the bank’s anti-money laundering and know-your-customer procedures were deficient at identifying the mirror trades, statements concerning the adequacy of the bank’s internal controls are not actionable,” Torres wrote.
The proposed class-action case was brought on behalf of Deutsche Bank investors, led by Andrei Sfiraiala, from Jan. 31, 2013 to July 26, 2016.
Their lawyer Jeremy Lieberman said in an email that the investors intend to appeal, and that their claims “readily meet” the requirements to show securities law violations.
Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Renee Calabro declined to comment.
Torres’ decision followed Deutsche Bank’s Jan. 31 agreement to pay close to $630 million of fines to settle U.S. and British regulatory charges it allowed $10 billion of trades from 2011 to 2015 that could have evaded Russian controls.
A “mirror trade” involves paired trades that can appear to serve no economic purpose, such as where a Russian customer buys a Russian security in rubles and a non-Russian customer sells the same security in U.S. dollars.
Deutsche Bank curbed its activities in Russia after the suspicious trades were uncovered.
January’s settlement was part of Deutsche Bank Chief Executive John Cryan’s bid to end a slew of litigation, following the global financial crisis, that has at times raised concern about whether the bank had enough capital.
Cryan was among 12 current and former Deutsche Bank officials, including former co-Chief Executive Anshu Jain, named as defendants in the Manhattan lawsuit. Torres dismissed all claims against those officials.
The case is In re: Deutsche Bank AG Securities Litigation, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 16-03495.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Andrew Hay and Grant McCool)