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.
Authorities seized documents and electronic files after more than six police vehicles, blue lights flashing, pulled up to Deutsche Bank's main offices shortly before 9am, in an operation involving about 170 officers.
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.
Prior to that, other bank sources had delivered more dismissive comments, chief strategist Ulrich Stephan in November past year saying he "would simply not recommend (Bitcoin) to the everyday investor".
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. "The investigation relates to the Panama Papers".
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Deutsche Bank confirmed the raids and said it was "fully cooperating" with the authorities.
Deutsche Bank (DB), which the publication notes has spent $18 billion on "fines and legal disputes" over the past ten years, reportedly has multiple links to the Panama Papers scandal. They were down 3.2% at €8.32 at 10.40am in Frankfurt on report of the raid.
Deutsche and Danske banks are not the first to be stung following revelations contained within the Panama Papers.
A German court ordered the search and targeted at least two employees of the group, according to the prosecutor's office.
In September, Germany's financial supervisor BaFin took the unusual step of embedding auditors from KPMG at Deutsche to monitor the bank's progress in battling illegal transactions such as money laundering, terrorist financing and dealings with organised crime.
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Deutsche Bank has played a central role in real estate development financing in the USA over the last several years - particularly in NY - but it's found itself in hot water recently.
In 2017, Deutsche already had to pay a fine of nearly $630 million after an investigation by British and American authorities into laundering of money originating in Russian Federation. "As far as we are concerned, we have already provided the authorities with all the relevant information regarding Panama Papers".
Deutsche Bank has also come under scrutiny over its activities as a correspondent for scandal-plagued Danske Bank, Denmark's largest lender.
He believes the bank will now be paralysed for months until it becomes clear how it will be affected by new potential fines.
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