German authorities raided Deutsche Bank's headquarters today amid suspicions that its employees helped clients set up offshore companies that were used to launder hundreds of millions of euros. The inquiries focus on events from 2013 to this year.
The bank confirmed that police had raided several locations in Germany and that it was co-operating fully with the probe.
JOE RAEDLE GETTY IMAGESLaw firm Mossack Fonseca which specialised in setting up offshore companies was at the centre of an international scandal
The Panama Papers are a set of millions of documents leaked in 2015 by Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca and Co linking offshore accounts to alleged fraud and tax evasion.
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. 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.
According to the report, numerous bank records have been seized as part of this raid. Deutsche is the biggest bank in Germany and the 17th biggest in the world by total assets. That's why it's share price has slid from nearly €90 before the 2007/8 financial crash to €8.25 in trading on Thursday.
"... 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.More news: Google Hangouts will shut down sometime in 2020
"The case is related to the Panama Papers", it added.
Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News had reported that Deutsche was the unnamed bank a Danske whistleblower said had handled nearly $150 billion of suspect transactions originating in the Danish firm's Estonian branch.
Same year, more money: after the Libor scandal fines, Deutsche Bank agreed to a hefty batch settlement with the USA financial authorities.
In 2017, Deutsche Bank was fined $630m (£504m) by United States and UK regulators in connection with a Russian money laundering plan.More news: Fed likely to raise rates in December but concerns mounting: minutes
Earlier this month, Deutsche said that it was involved in processing payments for the Danish bank in Estonia.
Deutsche Bank said it was cooperating with authorities and would release more details in due course.
He has also alleged that family members of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russia's spy agency were using the bank for money laundering.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice is still ongoing.More news: Nintendo Switches at better than Black Friday prices in the eBay sale