Back in the News: Deutsche Bank, Offshore Tax Havens, and Money Laundering

Feb 26, 2019, 10:42:33 AM

Deutsche BankGerman investigators descended on the headquarters of Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, in late November, a devastating setback to an institution struggling to reset after years of fines and bad press over financial misconduct.


According to the media, the raid derived from information available in the ICIJ Offshore Leaks Database.  The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) is a global consortium of investigative reporters working to create transparency in the opaque world of offshore tax evasion and money laundering.


As we discussed earlier, the Panama Papers was one of the earliest of the investigative probes conducted by the ICIJ, and resulted from the leak of approximately 12 million documents from the Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonesca. To promote public good, the ICIJ database provides public access  to documents received in the Panama Papers and other leaks, including the Bahamas, Offshore, and Paradise Paper leaks.


Using the ICIJ database, German investigators are fleshing out new allegations against Deutsche Bank, an entity that has been plagued by accusations of money laundering, rigging interest rates, and other manipulative financial practices.  Since 2015, the bank has paid fines that include $630 million for involvement in a money-laundering scheme involving Russia, $7.2 billion to the US Department of Justice for its mortgage practices, and another $2.5 billion for market manipulation of interest rates.


Following the November 2018 raid on its offices, new allegations are circulating that Deutsche Bank laundered $35 billion more funds, in collaboration with the Danish bank Danske, than it had led officials and investigators to believe.


The participation of Deutsche Bank, or any financial institution, is important in offshore tax schemes.  These entities set up anonymous accounts for clients in secrecy jurisdictions with preferential tax and regulatory practices.  The hidden offshore accounts provide safe haven for high-wealth individuals and companies, shadow terrorist or business groups, and unscrupulous governmental officials siphoning public money into privately-held accounts.


As troubles mount for Deutsche Bank, its CEO Christian Sewing has stated the bank will stem its investment banking activities which have been at the root of allegations against the bank.  It remains to be seen if and how the bank can regain its footing having now lost half of its share value during 2018.


The bottom line is that offshore investment and foreign bank accounts are not illegal—unless they are.  When you would like to protect and grow your wealth, speak with an experienced tax lawyer about your options and responsibilities regarding offshore accounts.


Skilled legal guidance in Cleveland and Chicago with foreign bank accounts and tax crime

The tax attorneys at the law firm of Robert J. Fedor Esq., LLC help you understand your options and deliver aggressive representation if you are notified of a criminal tax audit or other tax matter.  Whether you face a personal or corporate tax challenge, we can help.  Call us at 800.579.0997 or contact us today.


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