BERLIN – Flagship German financial institution Deutsche Bank appears to be
embroiled in violations of Iran sanctions, the German television channel n-tv
reported Tuesday on its website.
According to the report, Deutsche Bank
confirmed in its quarterly business report on Tuesday that US investigators were
probing the banking giant for violating the trade embargo on Iran.
possible violation deals with a financial transaction with the Islamic Republic
in US dollars. Deutsche Bank says it will now cooperate with the authorities,
though it had previously refused to comment on the allegations.
August, The New York Times reported that the US authorities had launched
investigations into international credit organizations for their involvement in
bank deals totaling billions of dollars with Iran and Sudan.
bank system has been plagued at times by Iranian financial scandals. Last year,
the German business daily The Handelsblatt reported that the country’s Foreign
Ministry and Central Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) had engaged in a complex,
sanctions-busting transaction with the Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH).
The EIH, an Iranian bank that the US says helped finance Tehran’s nuclear
proliferation efforts and alleged missile program, was placed on the EU’s terror
list after the scandal surfaced.
According to that report, the German
Foreign Ministry green-lighted a 1.5 billion-euro oil payment from India to be
transferred to Tehran via the EIH. The US Treasury Department issued a sharp
rebuke to the German government for facilitating trade with Iran.
The Handelsblatt reported at the time that “although [Iranian] President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad’s country is subject to strict economic sanctions by the EU and USA,
Germany helps in circumventing them.”
Germany is on course to reach a
nearly 4 billion- euro bilateral trade volume with Iran in 2012. Last year, the
total bilateral trade numbers showed nearly 4 billion euros worth of trade with
Tehran. Israeli, American, British and French officials have expressed
frustration with Germany’s failure to rope in its flourishing trade relations
with the Islamic Republic.
According to WikiLeaks documents, Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s administration refused for years to impose sanctions on the EIH
because “the German business community is very powerful.”