Commerzbank could be fined over late strategy disclosure: Handelsblatt

May 30, 2019

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s financial watchdog Bafin could fine Commerzbank, business daily Handelsblatt reported, adding the lender may have been late in informing markets of a strategic overhaul three years ago.

Handelsblatt cited a Bafin spokeswoman as saying that an investigation was ongoing with regard to a statement that might have been issued too late. She said the investigation might not necessarily lead to a fine, the paper said.

The investigation relates to the lender’s “Commerzbank 4.0” strategy, which was unveiled on Sept. 30, 2016 and included 9,600 job cuts, Handelsblatt reported.

The paper said that, in theory, Commerzbank could face fines of up to 195 million euros ($217 million) — 2% of sales in the year before the suspected violation.

In 2017, Bafin fined larger peer Deutsche Bank 550,000 euros for being late in justifying why the lender held back the immediate disclosure of important news.

A spokeswoman for Commerzbank declined to comment. Bafin was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

(Reporting by Hans Seidenstuecker; Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Keith Weir)

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