Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer John Cryan said the lender has never had as safe a balance sheet in the past two decades and there is “no basis” for media speculation on clients leaving.

“Our bank has become object of heavy speculation — renewed rumors have sparked marked swings in shares,” Cryan said in a letter to staff on Friday. “Our job is that this distorted perception from outside doesn’t influence our business in a stronger way. There are some market forces, that want to weaken this confidence in us.” Even the outcome of U.S. litigation doesn’t justify the share decline, he said.

About 10 hedge funds that do business with the German lender have moved to reduce their financial exposure. The funds, a small subset of the more than 800 clients in the bank’s hedge fund business, have moved part of their listed derivatives holdings to other firms this week, according to an internal bank document seen by Bloomberg News. The hedge funds’ move highlights concern among some counterparties about doing business with Europe’s largest investment bank.

Deutsche Bank’s stock and debt have been under pressure after the U.S. Justice Department this month requested $14 billion to settle an investigation into residential mortgage-backed securities. The bank has said it expects to negotiate that lower, as other Wall Street banks have.

The shares dropped as much as 9 percent and were down 6.5 percent at 10.17 euros at 10:08 a.m. in Frankfurt, a record low.

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