Christian Sewing, CEO of Deutsche Bank, will attend a meeting of the 50th Annual World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 23, 2020 in Davos.
Denis Balibouse | Reuters
Christian Sewing, CEO of Deutsche Bank, admitted that his company should never have taken the accused child dealer Jeffrey Epstein as a customer in 2013, but said that she has learned her lesson since then.
While Epstein died in a Manhattan prison cell last year, the German bank had to deal with the consequences of its failure to monitor millions of dollars in suspicious payments from the registered sex offender. New York financial regulators said Tuesday the bank had agreed to pay a $ 150 million fine for its failings.
"It was a critical mistake, there is no question that Mr. Epstein should never be on board, should never be our customer," Sewing told CNBC's Wilfred Frost. "That can't happen again."
The German bank, which has been involved in a number of controversies since the 2008 financial crisis, has invested "a lot in compliance functions" and hired people so that the bank "can actually monitor this appropriately," said Sewing.
"I think we learned our lesson," said Sewing. "It is a function of commitment to these issues, and I think Deutsche Bank has invested a lot in fighting financial crime and compliance."
Sewing, who became CEO of Deutsche Bank in April 2018, declined to answer a question as to whether senior bank employees were fired because of the Epstein case.
When asked about another scandal, that of the German payment service provider Wirecard, Sewing said that the result had shown that the bank's controls worked because the fintech company was not a major customer. Wirecard's CEO resigned last month after more than $ 2 billion had disappeared from the company's balance sheet.
"I don't have all the facts now," said Sewing. "Unfortunately, fraud happens sometimes. If it turns out to be fraud, it is not always easy to see."