German police search Deutsche Bank offices in tax haven case

German police search Deutsche Bank offices in tax haven case

German police search Deutsche Bank offices in tax haven case

Police vehicles are parked in front of Deutsche Bank headquarters as roughly 170 criminal police officers, prosecutors and tax inspectors searched the bank's offices in and around Frankfurt, Germany, on Thursday.

Police and the public prosecutor's office raided Deutsche Bank's offices in Germany, including the head office at Taunusanlage in Frankfurt, the bank said.

They said Deutsche Bank employees were alleged to have breached their duties by neglecting to report money laundering suspicions about clients and offshore companies involved in tax evasion schemes.

In 2016 alone, more than 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered on the British Virgin Islands, generating €300m, the prosecutors said.

The suspects are accused of failing to report the suspicious transactions even though there was "sufficient evidence" to have been aware of it.

The bank tweeted: "It is true that the police is now conducting an investigation at a number of our offices in Germany".

Among recent cases were the Netherlands' Rabobank and Denmark's Danske Bank, the latter infamously laundering more funds than cryptocurrency's entire market cap.

TRT World's Ira Spitzer has more details from Berlin. The German authorities began looking into the potentially illegal actions of the country's largest bank as a result of those document leaks.

The timing of the raid inflicts more pain on Deutsche Bank after a series of setbacks and repeated failures in keeping misconduct in check have pushed the shares to all-time lows.

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Deutsche Bank has been sanctioned in the past for failing to tackle money laundering.

It is suspected that bank employees helped customers set up offshore firms in tax havens.

It was fined more than $797 million by USA and United Kingdom authorities in January 2017 for allowing customers to transfer more than $13 billion out of Russian Federation in what regulators said was "highly suggestive of financial crime".

The raids are the latest embarrassment for embattled Deutsche Bank, which has repeatedly been rapped by regulators for lax money laundering controls.

Analysts say that because these transactions can be lucrative and punishments are lax, banks have few incentives to do more than the minimum required by law to check on the identity of a bank.

The prosecutor suspects further that proceeds from criminal activity were transferred into Deutsche Bank accounts without the bank flagging the transactions as potential money-laundering cases.

He believes the bank will now be paralysed for months until it becomes clear how it will be affected by new potential fines.

Deutsche Bank is in the throes of a major restructuring plan, with 7,000 jobs to go by the end of 2019.

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