German police raid Deutsche Bank in 'Panama Papers' graft probe

German police raid Deutsche Bank in 'Panama Papers' graft probe

German police raid Deutsche Bank in 'Panama Papers' graft probe

Some 170 police officers, investigators and prosecutors raided the German offices of Deutsche Bank on Thursday on the suspicion bank employees helped clients set up offshore companies in tax havens to launder hundreds of millions of euros.

"We confirm that the police are now conducting an investigation at a number of our offices in Germany", the bank said in a short statement posted to its website.

Prosecutors said that, as a result of the leak, they are looking at whether Deutsche Bank assisted clients to set up offshore companies in tax havens so that funds transferred to their bank accounts could skirt anti-money laundering safeguards.

"As far as we are concerned, we had already provided the authorities with all the relevant information regarding the Panama Papers", Deutsche Bank spokesman Joerg Eigendorf told reporters in Frankfurt.

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

According to prosecutors, Deutsche Bank is suspected of aiding some 900 customers in setting up offshore companies in tax havens. "We are cooperating fully with the authorities", it said.

In a brief statement, the bank confirmed the investigation taking place "at a number of our offices in Germany".

While Bloomberg notes that only the UK's Royal Bank of Scotland has paid out more in legal settlements than Deutsche Bank since 2008, various European institutions have sought to "bash" Bitcoin at the same time as being found guilty of financial crimes.

The investigation was triggered after investigators reviewed so-called "Offshore-Leaks" and "Panama Papers", the prosecutor said.

Two bank employees, ages 50 and 46, were targeted as suspects in the case, according to the statement.

The bank's share price fell 3.3 per cent in early morning trading.

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".

According to USA and British regulators, Deutsche Bank's anti-money laundering control mechanisms failed to spot sham trades with a value of up to $10 billion, not knowing who the customers involved in the trades were and where their money came from.

Deutsche Bank has also come under scrutiny over its activities as a correspondent for scandal-plagued Danske Bank, Denmark's largest lender.

British banking authorities said at least 29 Deutsche Bank employees were involved in the scam, while USA regulators ordered the bank to fire seven employees, including directors and vice-presidents.

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