German police raid Deutsche Bank in 'Panama Papers' probe

German police raid Deutsche Bank in 'Panama Papers' probe

German authorities have searched Deutsche Bank offices as part of an investigation into money laundering allegations triggered by Panama Papers and Offshore Leaks disclosures.

Germany's public prosecutor alleged that two staff members have helped clients launder money from criminal activities.

The Panama Papers, published by the Guardian and a consortium of worldwide journalists in April 2016, revealed how offshore tax havens including the British Virgin Islands were used to hide billions of dollars.

Paperwork and electronic documents were seized by officials during the raids on the bank's properties.

Police vehicles are parked at Deutsche Bank's headquarters in Frankfurt on November 29, 2018.

The claims had first surfaced in the "Panama Papers" investigation, published by an global consortium of journalists in 2016.

TRT World's Ira Spitzer has more details from Berlin.

Deutsche Bank said it was fully cooperating with authorities. The revelations caused protests in several countries and led to the resignation of several heads of state, including in Iceland and Pakistan.

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A number of banks including Swedish lenders Nordea and Handelsbanken have already been fined by financial regulators for violating money laundering rules as a result of the papers. They were alleged to have helped clients set up off-shore firms to launder money, they said.

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 investigation emerged from an analysis of documents leaked from tax havens in recent years, including the 2016 "Panama Papers", said Frankfurt prosecutors' spokeswoman Nadja Niesen.

Deutsche Bank has been fined and criticized for its poor record of preventing money-laundering.

Most recently, Denmark's biggest bank, Danske Bank, admitted that some $235 billion in suspicious money had flown through its Estonian branch from 2007 to 2015. A Deutsche Bank executive director has said the lender played only a secondary role as a so-called correspondent bank to Danske Bank, limiting what it needed to know about the people behind the transactions.

Deutsche Bank shares fell as much as 3% on the news and were down 2.6% as of 11:20 a.m.in Frankfurt (5:20 a.m. ET).

"Just when you thought Deutsche Bank had left its legal troubles behind it, there's more", said Markus Riesselmann, an analyst at Independent Research who recommends investors sell Deutsche Bank shares.

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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