Exclusive: Commerzbank close to settling U.S. sanctions probes

Wed Sep 3, 2014 5:56pm EDT
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By Karen Freifeld

NEW YORK (Reuters) - German lender Commerzbank AG (CBKG.DE: Quote) is nearing agreement with U.S. authorities over its dealings with Iran and other countries under U.S. sanctions, sources familiar with the matter said.

The bank is expected to pay about $650 million to resolve the U.S. probes, one person said.

An announcement could come as soon as next week but is more likely within the month, the sources said. The sources did not want to be identified because negotiations are still underway.

Margarita Thiel, a spokeswoman for the Frankfurt-based bank, declined comment.

Reuters previously reported Commerzbank, Germany's second largest lender, was expected to pay U.S. authorities between $600 million and $800 million, including a demand for more than $300 million from New York's Department of Financial Services, headed by Benjamin Lawsky.

The New York regulator is likely to receive about $300 million, one source said on Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve and the Manhattan District Attorney's office also are negotiating. Authorities declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Wednesday.

Commerzbank knowingly banked for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, one of the sources said. The state-sponsored shipping line was designated for economic sanctions by the U.S. in 2008 for supporting Iran's proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.   Continued...

The headquarters of the Commerzbank AG is pictured before the bank's annual news conference in Frankfurt February 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski