Deutsche Bank Fired Senior Bankers Over Strip Club Bill

Deutsche Bank AG fired a number of top bankers in New York after a tab run up at a strip club was expensed as legitimate business spending, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Ben Darsney, former Americas head of equity capital markets, Ravi Raghunathan, Brandon Sun and Daniel Gaona were fired after seeking reimbursement for a restaurant visit, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter. Once the bank discovered the issue, it decided to terminate the executives, the people said. The firings were first reported by Bloomberg News on Thursday.

“Deutsche Bank thoroughly investigates allegations of possible misconduct comprehensively and without bias,” a spokesperson for the Frankfurt-based bank said in an emailed statement. “We do not condone violations of our code of conduct or company policy and take remedial action as appropriate based on the severity of circumstances.” The bank declined to comment further on the circumstances of the matter.

Darsney, Raghunathan, Sun and Gaona didn’t respond to requests for comment. Darsney and Raghunathan were managing directors while Sun was a director and Gaona an associate.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing is seeking to improve the bank’s controls after a string of mishaps, including that it recently breached a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice after it was slow in reporting allegations by a whistleblower. Both parties agreed to extend an existing monitorship until February 2023 after the DOJ found Deutsche Bank in violation of the deal.

The bank has had to plough additional money into improving controls after criticism from regulators it’s doing too little.