European Interest

Deutsche Bank officers raided by police

Flickr/Deutsche Bank/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

German police are investigating Deutsche Bank, which according prosecutors believe may be have helped clients “transfer money from criminal activities” to tax havens.

Deutsche Bank said it was “fully cooperating” with authorities. “The case is related to the Panama Papers,” a spokesperson said.

As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, about 170 police officers raided the Frankfurt offices of Deutsche Bank on November 29. The investigation revolves around multiple Deutsche Bank employees, including two believed to still be working at the financial institution.

The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said the raids stemmed from an investigation into suspected money laundering at the German bank.

According to prosecutors, Deutsche Bank is suspected of helping some 900 customers set up offshore shell companies in tax havens to “transfer money from criminal activities”. They said some €311m are believed to have been laundered, citing information gleaned from the so-called Panama Papers.

In an interview with DW, Markus Meinzer, financial secrecy director at the Tax Justice Network, said he was ‘surprised that German officials would finally take action” on information garnered from the Panama Papers.

“It has been two years that they’ve been analysing these files,” Meinzer said. “We have seen in other situations that German prosecutors took very long to take action” against tax avoidance schemes and financial crimes.

According to DW, at least 28 German entities were identified in the Panama Papers data leak comprised some 11.5 million documents, which were leaked anonymously to German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung in 2015.

In a separate report, Euronews noted that Deutsche Bank shares fell sharply after the news broke. They were down 3.73 by 11:50am CET but these could keep fluctuating.

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