Deutsche Bank probes Russia section over money-laundering claim

US authorities are investigating German banking giant Deutsche Bank over alleged money laundering in Russia, people familiar with the matter said (AFP Photo/Daniel Roland)

Frankfurt (AFP) - Deutsche Bank has launched an internal probe into its investments division in Russia, it said Wednesday, as the German media reported suspected money-laundering.

"We have placed on leave a small number of individuals from our Moscow operation pending the final results of an internal review," Germany's biggest lender said in a statement sent to AFP.

"We are committed to participating in international efforts to detect and combat suspicious activities and we take strong action where we find evidence of misconduct," it added.

The statement came after German weekly Manager Magazin said several of the bank's employees in Russia were suspected of laundering important sums of dubious origins for Russian clients, by carrying out complex transactions on the derivatives market.

Germany's financial regulatory authority BaFin told AFP it was aware of the reports, but did not wish to comment on them.

Deutsche Bank is currently embroiled in several legal battles, with the accusations ranging from manipulation of the currency markets and rigging the Libor and Euribor interest rates, to doing business with countries subject to US sanctions such as Iran.

The bank, which employs more than 98,000 people worldwide, launched a major overhaul in 2012. In April this year, it unveiled a new battle plan that aims to raise its profitability by 2020.

Deutsche Bank's shareholders are set to hold a general assembly in Frankfurt on Thursday.