German police search Deutsche Bank in money-laundering case

German police search Deutsche Bank in money-laundering case

Deutsche Bank headquarters got raided this week as another bank that regularly criticizes Bitcoin is again suspected of money laundering.

Around 170 police officers, prosecutors and tax inspectors took part in the searches which saw written and electronic documents seized, the Frankfurt prosecutor's office said.

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

Prosecutors are now examining whether bank employees helped clients set up offshore companies in tax havens in order to launder money between 2013 and 2018.

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 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.

In an emailed statement, Deutsche Bank confirmed that police are investigating at several German locations in relation to Panama Papers, and said it is fully cooperating with authorities. The officials said the Thursday raid wasn't related to its role as a correspondent bank for money laundering at Denmark's Danske Bank.

"... 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.

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

"These flaws allowed a corrupt group of bank traders and offshore entities to improperly and covertly transfer more than $10 billion out of Russian Federation", the regulators said.

The Panama Papers are a trove of documents from a law firm that handled shell companies for thousands of rich and powerful clients around the world.

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 prosecutor suspects further that proceeds from criminal activity were transferred into Deutsche Bank accounts without the bank flagging the transactions as potential money-laundering cases.

The trouble with authorities comes at a time when Deutsche continued to face problems with its business. The bank's CEO has since stepped down over the scandal.

Scrutiny surrounding Deutsche Bank, one of New York's top real estate lenders, has just intensified. Some of the money reportedly went through Deutsche Bank and ended up in major capitals like London, according to The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project.

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