The merger of the asset management units of Deutsche Bank and UBS can create a ‘European champion’ in the investment industry, the Financial Times reported. The merger discussions have been going on for a ‘couple of months’, sources told the paper.

Based on one merged structure which is being considered, UBS might separate its asset management unit and merge it with Deutsche Asset Management or DWS  in exchange for shares in the larger group. DWS has $662 billion of assets under management while UBS has about $700 billion. The deal could create a formidable rival to Europe’ s largest asset manager, the French company Amundi.

The merged entity would also be a robust rival to US investment giants Blackrock and Vanguard that manage assets of $1.4 trillion, taken together. Allianz, the German insurer has also been looking to make a bid for the business. Another potential bidder is Amundi, which is close to completing the acquisition of  Italy’s Pioneer and multi-boutiques Natixis and Generali.

Earlier reports indicated that Deutsche Bank’s $20 billion ‘Global Laundromat’ money laundering charge might see its ‘senior management’ possibly face prosecution. The bank admitted that it faces significant disciplinary action from US and UK regulators, large fines, brand damage, client attrition and loss of market value.

According to The Guardian, Russian criminals with links  the Kremlin and its secret services used the Global Laundromat scheme to move money through the western financial system between 2010 and 2014. Detectives believe $80 billion was moved through the system during the four years.