The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been relying as of late on a number of whistleblowers to help provide key tips in its investigations. Presently, the regulator is being assisted by a whistleblower in an ongoing investigation of Deutsche Bank AG’s post-crisis mortgage-trading business, which dates back to 2007.
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The SEC’s whistleblower program launched back in 2011 and has since rewarded individuals for tips that are instrumental in investigations or bringing parties to justice. Since 2011, the program has rewarded a total of $85 million to 32 individuals, which averages out to almost $19 million per annum. Yesterday, the SEC announced a $17 million reward as a further incentive to entice former employees to come out and provide information.
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The nature of its present investigation with Deutsche Bank stemmed from a whistleblower complaint previously that had alleged that the lender was inflating the value of mortgage bonds on its books, whilst masking losses, according to a recent Bloomberg report. As such, the SEC has opened up a probe of Deutsche Bank’s bonds business, which includes how the group valued government-backed mortgage bonds, known as agency pass-through securities, since 2007, the height of the US financial crisis.
In particular, the SEC’s investigative team is eyeing positions overlooked by former employee Troy Dixon, an individual who at the time ran Deutsche Bank’s trading of US mortgage bonds – he parted ways with the group back in 2013, according to a Bloomberg report.
Deutsche Bank had previously faced a number of woes in this space, which in 2013 resulted in the loss of nearly $500 million across its agency pass-through securities. Despite the allegations however, Deutsche Bank has been cooperating with the SEC’s investigation. The investigation is still ongoing however, as Finance Magnates will update the legal situation as it develops.