Thursday, November 17, 2022

German police raid banks in money laundering probe of Russian

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Police raided two branches of Swiss bank UBS in Germany in connection with alleged money laundering by a Russian businessman, German officials and media said Tuesday.

Frankfurt prosecutor Georg Ungefuk did not identify the suspect by name, but said the raids were connected to an investigation in which officials raided a luxury yacht and two dozen properties in Germany in September.

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German media cited Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin who is subject to U.S. and European Union sanctions, as the target in that operation.

Ungefuk stressed that the bank was not under investigation. He said the raids were conducted to find possible evidence of money laundering by the suspect. He did not identify which bank was raided, but German news agency dpa reported that officers entered UBS branches in Frankfurt and Munich.

“We confirm that searches by the public prosecutor are currently taking place at the premises of the UBS Europe SE branches in Frankfurt and Munich,” a bank spokesperson told dpa. “We are cooperating fully with the authorities and ask for your understanding that we cannot comment further on the matter at this time.”

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Officials said previously that the subject of their investigation was suspected of conducting several transactions between 2017 and 2022 that involved using a complex network of offshore companies to hide the origin of funds totaling millions of euros (dollars).

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