Clearstream International has suspended president and CEO Andre Lussi pending the outcome of investigations in to allegations that the European settlement platform has been used as a vehicle for money laundering.
Carlos Salvatori, the head of Lussi's office, and Robert Massol, managing director and chief human resources officer have also stepped aside pending the investigations by a public prosecutor appointed by the Luxembourg finance ministry. It follows revelations in a book by a former Luxembourg banker which made allegations of money laundering against Clearstream.
André Roelants, chairman of the executive committee of Dexia/BIL and a Clearstream board member has accepted the role of interim CEO.
He says: "We are co-operating in every way possible to ensure this investigation is completed as quickly and effectively as possible."
The suspension of Lussi has fired speculation that Deutsche Borse, which owns 50 per cent of Clearstream, is preparing to make a bid for the outstanding stake from the bank-backed Cedel consortium. The move is likely to be blocked by investment banks pushing for a merger between Clearstream and Brussels-based rival Euroclear. The European Commission, which is currently investigating clearing and settlement arrangements in the EU, would want to look closely at such a dominant combination if it were to fall under the control of a single exchange.