A police car parks in front of the Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt. Germany's biggest lender said it was 'co-operating fully' with the authorities. Photograph: AP
Deutsche Bank co-chief executive Jürgen Fitschen has been drawn into a widening tax evasion investigation related to carbon trading at Germany's biggest lender as hundreds of police and tax inspectors raided the bank's offices.
Prosecutors said they were investigating 25 staff on suspicion of tax evasion, money laundering and obstruction of justice, and searched the headquarters and private residences in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt.
"Two of Deutsche Bank's management board members, Jürgen Fitschen and Stefan Krause, are involved in the investigations as they signed the value-added tax statement for 2009," the lender said. In 2009, Fitschen was Germany chief and Krause was chief financial officer, a post he has retained.
About 500 police and tax inspectors raided Deutsche Bank, arresting five staff in an inquiry linked to a tax scam involving the trading of carbon permits. Tax officials clutching backpacks and suitcases were seen leaving the bank's twin-tower headquarters in Frankfurt. About 20 police minibuses and two coaches were parked outside.
The raids mark a setback for Deutsche's efforts to polish its image. The bank is struggling with lawsuits in the US and UK connected to allegations of Libor manipulation and the mis-selling of subprime assets during the 2007-09 financial crisis.
Armed police officers were stationed in the bank's lobby and appeared to be co-ordinating a search of the towers. They declined to comment on the exact nature of the raids.
Deutsche Bank on Wednesday it was co-operating fully with the authorities and declined comment on the arrests. It added: "Public prosecutors searched Deutsche Bank offices in connection with investigations that have been under way since the spring of 2010 against individuals suspected of tax evasion in the trading of CO2 emission certificates."