The Frankfurt headquarters of Deutsche Bank have been raided by prosecutors in a money laundering investigation.
Germany’s public prosecutor alleged that two staff members have helped clients launder money from criminal activities.
Police cars were seen outside the tower blocks that house the headquarters of Germany’s biggest bank.
Other Deutsche offices in the city were searched in an operation involving about 170 police and officials.
Prosecutors are looking into whether Deutsche Bank staff helped clients set up off-shore accounts to “transfer money from criminal activities”.
The investigation was sparked by revelations in the 2016 “Panama Papers” – an enormous amount of information leaked from one of the world’s most secretive companies, a Panamanian law firm called Mossack Fonseca.
Other banks, including Sweden’s Nordea and Germany’s Handelsbanken have been fined as a result of information contained in the Panama Papers.
Deutsche Bank shares fell 3% after news of the raid emerged. The company confirmed that police had raided several locations in Germany and that it was co-operating fully with the probe.
Paperwork and electronic documents were seized by officials during the raids on the bank’s properties.
Deutsche Bank has been connected with another huge money laundering scandal at Danske Bank.
Earlier this month, it confirmed that it was involved in processing payments for the Danish bank in Estonia.
An internal investigation by Danske Bank found that about €200bn (£177bn) of payments were funnelled through its Estonian branch.
The Danish bank said many of those payments were suspicious.
Deutsche Bank said it had terminated its relationship with Danske in 2015, after “identifying suspicious activity”.
Fines and sanctions
Deutsche Bank has received sanctions in the past for failing to tackle money laundering.
In September, Germany’s financial regulator ordered the bank to take further action to prevent money laundering and terrorism financing.
It also appointed an independent auditor to monitor Deutsche Bank’s efforts over three years.
In 2017, Deutsche Bank was fined $630m (£504m) by US and UK regulators in connection with a Russian money laundering plan.
Under the scheme, clients illegally moved $10bn out of Russia via shares bought and sold through the bank’s Moscow, London and New York offices.
Deutsche Bank headquarters raided over money laundering