German police raid Deutsche Bank in 'Panama Papers' probe

Jeannie Matthews
November 30, 2018

What do you think about Deutsche Bank's new scandal?

Police cars were seen outside the tower blocks that house the headquarters of Germany's biggest bank.

German law enforcement officials have raided the Frankfurt headquarters of Deutsche Bank in a money laundering investigation connected to the notorious Panama Papers.

The Deutsche Bank investigation is focused on a handful of employees suspected of helping clients set up offshore companies in tax havens, and for allowing "proceeds of crimes" transferred to Deutsche Bank accounts without reporting them to authorities, according to the Wall Street Journal. German prosecutors raided several Deutsche Bank offices in the Frankfurt area over suspicions of money laundering based on revelations from the 2016 "Panama Papers" data leak.

Deutsche Bank's Frankfurt offices were searched Thursday as part of a probe linked to the Panama Papers.

The news comes as Deutsche Bank tries to fix its tattered reputation after three years of losses and a drumbeat of financial and regulatory scandals. The main suspects in the probe stemming from 2016 disclosures known as the Panama Papers were two bank employees who were not identified beyond their ages - 50 and 46. In the past, Deutsche Bank has acknowledged that its anti-money laundering efforts have fallen short of financial rules. Money obtained illegally may have been transferred to accounts at Deutsche Bank, which failed to report the suspicions that the accounts may have been used to launder money, Frankfurt prosecutors said.

"There is now suspicion that most of the money stems from foreign tax offences".

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Deutsche Bank shares were down more than 2 percent by 1409 GMT and have lost nearly half their value this year.

"... 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.

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.

Two years ago, the release of the Panama Papers gave taxpayers around the world an unprecedented look at offshore tax havens.

In September, Germany's financial regulator ordered the bank to take further action to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.

It was fined more than $797 million by US 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".

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