Federal authorities in Germany raided six offices of Deutsche Bank on Thursday morning (November 29), searching for evidence about money laundering and offshore tax havens, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
About 170 federal German prosecutors and police officers confiscated documents during the searches, and police vehicles lined the outside of the bank’s headquarters in central Frankfurt.
The crux of the investigation revolves around two unknown bank individuals — ages 46 and 50 — as well as others who are under suspicion for helping customers create tax havens out of the country.
The searches could very well continue into Friday, authorities said.
Deutsche Bank, which said it was cooperating with authorities, released two separate statements on Thursday. The first one was released after the searches began, and it said, “The investigation has to do with the Panama Papers case. More details will be communicated as soon as these become known.”
The second statement came in around the middle of the day: “As far as we are concerned, we have already provided the authorities with all the relevant information regarding Panama Papers,” it said. It added that the bank will “cooperate closely” in this latest probe “as it is in our interest as well to clarify the facts.”
The Panama Papers, leaked documents from a Panamanian law firm discovered by journalists, reveal how offshore companies, either in the United States or elsewhere, are created to protect money from the Internal Revenue Service.
The subsequent investigation was a worldwide partnership and collaboration between more than 370 reporters and around 100 media outlets. There were about 11.5 million leaked files from the offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca.
The bank doesn’t know the full range of the investigation, the Journal reported, and whether it’s limited to the Panama papers or it’s part of a larger inquiry.
Authorities believe the bank was complicit in criminal activities by not raising the appropriate warnings for questionable or even potentially illegal transactions.