Like Wells Fargo before them, Australia’s banks looked great—safe, resilient, even a little boring—until people started to really look at them. The shock of recognition can be measured by the half-billion U.S. dollar fine levied against the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for getting a little too Swiss with a suspected terrorist’s account. But that’s not all: Another Down Under bank, Australia & New Zealand Banking Group, stands accused of doing some mafia-esque things with its own share sale three years ago. As it’s a criminal allegation heading to trial, what, exactly, ANZ is accused of doing isn’t entirely clear, although it appears to have something to do with the underwriters buying up a handful of the newly-issued shares without saying something to that effect publicly. ANZ will be joined in the dock by two of those underwriters. Guess who?
The bulk was raised through an institutional share placement underwritten by Citi, Deutsche Bank and the local arm of J.P. Morgan.
Unsurprisingly, it’s the first two accused of being members of ANZ’s cartel and not Jamie Dimon’s band of unusually ethical descendants of convicts. Well, the Germans aren’t taking these allegations lying down.
Deutsche Bank said it and the former executive who were charged acted responsibly and in the interests of clients.
And do you know what? We believe them! I mean, not that they acted responsibly or in the interests of clients, both of which would be out of character for the other DB. But that they thought they were doing so. Because even in 2015, Deutsche Bank was a rampaging dumpster fire accumulating new trash heaps of existential difficulties with each passing day. Certainly, John Cryan would not be signing off on some small-scale mob-like bullshit dealing in $20 million worth of Australian bank shares amidst the vast and growing conflagration. Right?