Commerzbank to Pay $1.4 Billion for Willful Sanctions Violations, Accounting Fraud

By Colby Adams and Kira Zalan

Germany's second-largest bank will pay $1.45 billion to U.S. law enforcement agencies and regulators and fire multiple employees to settle charges that it violated sanctions laws and anti-money laundering rules. For approximately eight years, Commerzbank AG knowingly processed thousands of transactions involving blacklisted entities in Iran, Sudan, Myanmar and Cuba, according to federal and state regulators. As with other banks targeted in recent U.S. settlements, the violations were the consequence of internal policies instructing bankers to remove or omit incriminating data from interbank messages. The bank's blacklisted clients included the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL), a shipping company...