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Crime

Deutsche Bank CEO Fitschen in focus of tax fraud probe

Police have raided Deutsche Bank offices in several cities in search of evidence of tax fraud and money laundering related to EU carbon emissions trade. One of the bank's two chief executives is now under investigation.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Jürgen Fitschen and Chief Finance Officer Stefan Krause were part of an investigation for tax fraud and money laundering, Deutsche Bank said Wednesday.

The two senior officials had moved into the focus of German prosecutors because they had signed the Deutsche Bank's tax declaration in 2009, the bank said in a statement. In 2009, Deutsche Bank staff had allegedly taken part in tax fraud in connection with the EU's trade in carbon emissions certificates.

However, Deutsche Bank noted that the tax declaration was amended in a timely way, adding that prosecutors apparently did not share this view.

German police raid Deutsche Bank

Earlier on Wednesday, Deutsche Bank properties in Frankfurt, Berlin and Düsseldorf were raided by 500 police, as a total of 25 bank employees stood accused of tax fraud and money laundering, the general prosecutor's office said.

Five people were arrested for attempting to obstruct the criminal investigation, the office added.

In 2010, Germany's biggest private bank was already being investigated for participation in an international tax fraud ring, which allegedly sold carbon emissions through Deutsche Bank.

The ring bought emissions permits overseas without paying sales tax, also known as value-added tax (VAT), and then resold the permits among its members in Germany, enabling them to receive VAT tax returns illegally.

The raid on Wednesday came as prosecutors suspected Deutsche Bank of hiding more evidence in connection with the fraud.

In December 2011, a German court jailed six men - three Britons, two Germans and a Frenchman - over the tax fraud estimated worth about 300 million euros ($390 million). At the time, the judge criticized Deutsche Bank for its role in the crime.

uhe/kms (dapd, Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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