Monday, April 19, 2021

Deutsche Bank Tax Probe Targets About 80 Current, Former Staff

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About 80 former and current employees of Deutsche Bank AG are suspects in an investigation by German prosecutors into an alleged tax fraud, according to a person familiar with the matter.

A growing number of Deutsche Bank employees have been ensnared in the years-long probe, including investment bank head Garth Ritchie, as well as ex-chief executive officer Josef Ackermann and former co-CEO Anshu Jain. Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Thursday that about 70 current and former employees at Deutsche Bank are facing scrutiny.

Prosecutors have been conducting a criminal probe into some of the biggest names in European and U.S. finance, looking at the roles banks, law firms and others played in so-called cum-ex trades. The strategy enabled both sides of a short sale to claim a refund of a dividend tax that was only paid once, costing taxpayers at least 10 billion euros, according to lawmakers.

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The deals being reviewed by Cologne prosecutors took place approximately between 2007 and 2012, overlapping the period when Jain was responsible for the investment-banking arm. Ritchie now heads the division, which has been at the center of many of the lender’s woes.

“I was not personally involved in any cum-ex activity,” Ritchie said in a statement released by the bank on Tuesday. “I am very confident that the investigation will show no personal wrongdoing by me.”

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