A trail of illicit money led the American government on a hunt through the European financial system, generating criminal cases against banks in Britain, Switzerland and most recently, France. Now the crackdown is bound for another European financial center: Germany.

State and federal authorities have begun settlement talks with Commerzbank, Germany's second-largest lender, over the bank's dealings with Iran and other countries blacklisted by the United States, according to people briefed on the matter.


A potential deal with Commerzbank -- which is expected to pave the way for a separate settlement with Deutsche Bank, Germany's largest bank -- would pale in comparison to the case announced last week against France's biggest bank, BNP Paribas.

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