Friday, 14 December, 2018

Deutsche Bank’s Frankfurt HQ searched in Panama Papers probe

Germany's public prosecutor alleged that two staff members have helped clients launder money from criminal activities Germany's public prosecutor alleged that two staff members have helped clients launder money from criminal activities
Lloyd Bates | 30 November, 2018, 10:00

German authorities raided Deutsche Bank - including its Frankfurt headquarters - in a money-laundering probe. Some 170 prosecutors, state police, national police and tax investigators were involved in the morning searches of six buildings in Frankfurt, and in nearby Eschborn and Gross-Umstadt, Niesen said.

Prosecutors said they were investigating allegations that Germany's biggest lender helped clients set up offshore companies in tax havens to "transfer money from criminal activities" to Deutsche Bank accounts. Of course, we will cooperate closely with the public prosecutor's office in Frankfurt, as it is in our interest as well to clarify the facts.

United Kingdom regulator Georgina Philippou said at the time: "This case stands out for the seriousness and duration of the breaches by Deutsche Bank - something reflected in the size of today's fine".

The Panama Papers are a set of millions of documents leaked in 2015 by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and Co linking offshore accounts to alleged fraud and tax evasion.

Other banks have been fined as a result of information contained in the Panama Papers.

In 2016 alone, over 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered on the British Virgin Islands, generating a volume of 311million euros, the prosecutors said.

Deutsche Bank confirmed the search of its offices and said it was fully cooperating with the authorities.

Deutsche and Danske banks are not the first to be stung following revelations contained within the Panama Papers.

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Two bank employees, aged 50 and 46, were targeted as suspects in the case, according to the statement.

Deutsche Bank has been under pressure after three consecutive years of losses.

Shares in Deutsche Bank were down 3.4 percent at 8.30 euros in the early afternoon, making them the worst performing stock on the DAX blue-chip index.

"These flaws allowed a corrupt group of bank traders and offshore entities to improperly and covertly transfer more than $10 billion out of Russian Federation", the regulators said.

Soon afterwards, the US Federal Reserve ordered a further fine of $41 million over gaps in the bank's money laundering surveillance.

German prosecutors found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing, and the bank's top-level executives were deemed not to have been involved in the scandal. A Deutsche Bank executive director has said the lender played only a secondary role as a so-called correspondent bank to Danske Bank, limiting what it needed to know about the people behind the transactions.

According to the report, numerous bank records have been seized as part of this raid.

The trouble with authorities comes at a time when Deutsche continued to face problems with its business.

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