Deutsche Bank’s headquarters and five other offices have been raided by 170 police officers, prosecutors, and tax inspectors over money laundering allegations. The bank’s written and electronic business documents were reportedly seized. Its employees allegedly helped clients set up offshore companies to launder money.
Deutsche Bank Raided
Six Deutsche Bank offices in and around Frankfurt, including its headquarters, were raided on Thursday over money laundering allegations. The raid of Germany’s biggest bank with assets worth approximately 1.48 trillion euros ($1.68 trillion) continued for a second day on Friday, according to Reuters. The publication described:
Around 170 police officers, prosecutors and tax inspectors searched the offices where written and electronic business documents were seized.
“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,” the bank was quoted as saying.
Germany’s public prosecutors began investigating the bank in August, the news outlet detailed, adding that they are looking into the activities of two unnamed Deutsche Bank employees, particularly from 2013 through to 2018. The pair allegedly helped clients set up offshore firms to launder money.
The New York Times reported that the two employees “are suspected of failing to report possible money laundering for transactions worth 311 million euros, or more than $350 million.”
The raid was part of an ongoing investigation stemming from the Panama Papers and other offshore leaks, Reuters explained. The Panama Papers consist of over 11.5 million leaked documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
“Deutsche Bank employees are alleged to have breached their duties by neglecting to report money laundering suspicions about clients and offshore companies involved in tax evasion schemes,” the publication detailed. The prosecutors elaborated:
In 2016 alone, over 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered on the British Virgin Islands, generating a volume of 311 million euros.
The New York Times further quoted the prosecutors as saying, “Deutsche Bank helped customers found offshore organizations in tax havens by transferring illegally acquired money without alerting authorities to suspected money laundering.”
Ongoing Money Laundering Concerns
Deutsche Bank is also being investigated for its involvement in Danske Bank’s alleged money laundering activities since it acted as a correspondent bank for Danske Bank at the time. Reuters noted that the raid that began on Thursday is unrelated to the Danske Bank money laundering case.
Last year, Deutsche Bank was fined “nearly $700 million for allowing money laundering through artificial trades between Moscow, London and New York,” the news outlet described, adding that the investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice is still ongoing. Moreover, the Federal Reserve has fined the bank “$41 million for failing to have an effective system for complying with bank secrecy laws and laws to prevent money laundering,” The New York Times wrote.
Lisa Paus, a member of the German federal parliament, commented:
It is the sum of incidents that give cause for serious concern … Something seems to be basically wrong in the compliance and anti-money laundering area of the bank.
In September, German financial regulator Bafin ordered Deutsche Bank to improve its money laundering and terrorist financing prevention measures. Bafin also appointed KPMG to monitor the bank’s progress.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Deutsche Bank.
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