Deutsche Bank’s Frankfurt HQ searched in Panama Papers probe

Criminal police officers prosecutors and tax inspectors searched Deutsche Bank offices in and around Frankfurt

German authorities raided Deutsche Bank - including its Frankfurt headquarters - in a money-laundering probe. Some 170 prosecutors, state police, national police and tax investigators were involved in the morning searches of six buildings in Frankfurt, and in nearby Eschborn and Gross-Umstadt, Niesen said.

Prosecutors said they were looking at whether Deutsche Bank may have assisted clients to set up offshore companies in tax havens, so that funds transferred to accounts at Deutsche Bank could get around anti-money laundering safeguards.

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

The Panama Papers refer to a collection of documents leaked in 2016 from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm that created shell companies to facilitate tax avoidance.

Deutsche Bank shares fell as much as 4.7% on Xetra.

The raids are the latest embarrassment for embattled Deutsche Bank, which has repeatedly been rapped by regulators for lax money laundering controls. In the past, Deutsche Bank has acknowledged that its anti-money laundering efforts have fallen short of financial rules.

In recent years, Deutsche Bank has been in the news not only for its prominence in the Panama Papers, but also for its ties to President Trump, in a tumultuous relationship that goes back some 20 years.

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Bank officials say the company is cooperating with investigators.

According to prosecutors, Deutsche Bank is suspected of aiding some 900 customers in setting up offshore companies in tax havens.

"As banks in Germany manage roughly three trillion euros of interest yielding assets, the potential for abuse is enormous".

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". "As far as we are concerned, we have already provided the authorities with all the relevant information regarding Panama Papers".

The suspects, both German citizens, are accused of failing to report the suspicious transactions even though there was "sufficient evidence" to have been aware of them. The bank has publicly said that it agreed it needed to improve its processes to properly identify clients.

Howard Wilkinson, the man who blew the whistle on a massive money laundering scheme through the Estonian branch of Denmark's Danske Bank, speaks during a hearing at the Danish parliament building Christiansborg Castle on Monday Nov. 19.

Still, the bank continues to lend out hundreds of millions of dollars to NY real estate developers.

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