Deutsche Bank headquarters raided by police in money laundering probe

Fredrick Soto
December 2, 2018

Police in Germany raided the banking giant's offices on Thursday in connection with suspected money laundering related to the Panama Papers.

It focuses on the years from 2013 to 2018, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said.

Prosecutors said the raids targeted two Deutsche Bank employees as well as other unidentified company officials.

"We will of course continue to actively support the investigation and work constructively with the authorities", Karl von Rohr, Deutsche's co-deputy chief executive officer, said in a statement on Friday evening.

The raid was reportedly spurred by information garnered from the Panama Papers - the 2015 document leak that revealed how wealthy global figures hide their riches via offshore bank accounts and shady shell companies.

In January, BaFin president Felix Hufeld said the agency had found no evidence of substantial breaches of money laundering rules by the banks named in the Panama Papers.

Deutsche Bank has been accused of being connected to the Panama Papers, which were released in 2016.

The raid comes as Deutsche Bank tries to fix its tattered reputation.

Deutsche Bank is one of the world's biggest banks and operates in 16 cities with more than 11,000 employees in large swathes of Europe, Asia and America.

The bank's share price fell 3.3 per cent in early morning trading. On average, equities research analysts expect that Deutsche Bank AG will post 0.36 EPS for the current fiscal year.

Christian Sewing, appointed chief executive in April to help the bank rebuild, has trimmed the group's USA operations and reshuffled its management board, but revenue has continued to slip.

Prosecutor Nadja Niesen said one of Deutsche Bank's offshore branches on the British Virgin Islands handled transaction volumes worth $354 million (311 million euros) for more than 900 clients.

"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. 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.

Several other institutions besides Deutsche Bank have been fined by authorities in the US and Europe for not properly checking up on the beneficial owners of shell companies that send money through their accounts. "We are cooperating fully with the authorities", the bank said.

The bank is being investigated on money-laundering suspicions raised by a 2016 data leak.

The bank has publicly said that it agreed it needed to improve its processes to properly identify clients.

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