Deutsche Bank raided over Panama Papers link

Ivan Schwartz
November 29, 2018

German financial giant Deutsche Bank heads into uncharted territory this week after prosecutors raided the bank's Frankfurt HQ and central German offices for its alleged complicity in the creation of offshore companies in tax havens.

More than six police vehicles, their blue lights flashing, pulled up to Deutsche Bank's main offices shortly before 9 a.m., in an operation involving about 170 officers.

Prosecutors have accused two of the bank's staff of helping to launder money obtained through criminal activity.

The Panama Papers, published by the Guardian and a consortium of global journalists in April 2016, revealed how offshore tax havens including the British Virgin Islands were used to hide billions of dollars.

Police cars stand in the backyard of Deutsche Bank headquarters during the raid in Frankfurt.

Deutsche Bank confirmed that authorities were "conducting an investigation at a number of our offices in Germany".

"... Most importantly, the lack of transparency and regulatory control have made cryptocurrencies a target for criminal purposes and we know that they on several occasions have been involved in criminal transactions like money laundering or extortion", it reads.

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Deutsche Bank has been under pressure after annual losses, and it agreed to pay a US$7.2 billion settlement with USA authorities a year ago over its sale of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

The so-called Panama Papers, which consist of millions of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, were leaked to the media in April 2016.

"Prosecutors are investigating two employees of the bank who allegedly assisted customers in setting up offshore firms to avoid anti-money laundering safeguards when transferring money to accounts at Deutsche Bank".

More than 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered on the British Virgin Islands, generating a volume of 311 million euros, it is alleged.

German investigators looking for evidence of possible money laundering have searched multiple offices belonging to Deutsche Bank.

As news broke Thursday morning that Deutsche Bank's German headquarters had been raided in Frankfurt over, numerous observers were quick to note the bank's deep ties to U.S. President Donald Trump. The bank has publicly said that it agreed it needed to improve its processes to properly identify clients.

Deutsche Bank has spent more than $18 billion paying fines and settling legal disputes since the start of 2008, according to company disclosures compiled by Bloomberg News.

Other reports by GizPress

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