European bank shares tumble after leaked files unveil suspicious money flows worth over $2 trillion

Deutsche Bank headquarters
FRANKFURT, GERMANY – MAY 18: Shareholders walk past a huge Deutsche Bank logo during the banks annual shareholders meeting on May 18, 2005 in Frankfurt, Germany. Deutsche Bank will go ahead with targeted acquisitions and job cuts to enforce the banks global competitiveness. (Photo by Ralph Orlowski/Getty Images)

  • FinCEN investigation released on Sunday showed several banks were involved in moving more than $2 trillion worth in suspicious funds. 
  • The banks that had the highest reported amounts of suspicious activity: JPMorgan, Standard Chartered, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and BNY Mellon.
  • Deutsche Bank accounted for the most transactions with $1.3 trillion passed between 1999 and 2017, Deutsche Welle reported. 
  • European bank shares were among the biggest losers in early trade. 
  • HSBC‘s Hong Kong shares fell more than 5% to their lowest since 1995. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

European bank shares fell on Monday after thousands of leaked files released over the weekend showed how a number of major institutions had engaged for years in handling up to $2 trillion in dirty money.

The documents are part of a collection of files that belongs to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an agency operating under the Treasury Department to detect and prevent financial crimes, and were first published by BuzzFeed News and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

European equities were already under pressure on Monday from a resurgence in cases of Covid-19 across the region, pushing the Stoxx 600 down by 2.2%, but banks were easily the worst performers, prompting a 5% drop in the Stoxx 600 banking index.

The ICIJ analysed the leaked documents over the last 16 months with more than 400 journalists across 88 countries taking part. 

Read more:GOLDMAN SACHS: Buy these 21 stocks on track for years of market-beating growth that could make them future giants – even rivals to the FAANGs

The documents, known as the FinCen files, showed five banks: JPMorgan, Standard Chartered, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and BNY Mellon handled the most illicit funds between 1997 and 2017. 

JPMorgan, HSBC and Deutsche Bank facilitated the movement of criminal money even after getting caught, the agency reported. 

Deutsche Bank appears to have accounted for more than half of the amount, as between 1999 and 2017.  $1.3 trillion was flagged to have passed through the German lender, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle Reported. 

Deutsche Bank shares were down 5% as of 3:38 am ET, while London-listed shares in HSBC shares fell 4%, following a drop in the Hong Kong-listed stock of 5% to its lowest since 1995.

Standard Chartered was down more than 3% and its shares in Hong Kong also declined by more than 5%. 

Barclays lost more than 6%, while shares in France’s Societe Generale lost more than 4%. 

Read more: An ex-Wall Street chief strategist says the market’s comeback has made most investors ‘blissfully unaware’ of its real risks – and lays out 6 reasons why another free-fall is on the cards

Here is how a number of banks responded to the documents. 

Banks with the largest activity in the FinCEN report

Top banks by reported amount in the FinCEN files
Top banks by reported amount in FinCen files