|Jürgen Fitschen CEO Deutsche Bank|
Top Deutsche Bank Executives Caught Up in Tax Evasion Inquiry
BY JACK EWING
FRANKFURT – After a raid at company headquarters, Deutsche Bank disclosed Wednesday that two of its highest-ranking executives are a focus of a tax evasion investigation, dealing a fresh blow to the German institution’s already battered reputation.
German authorities are looking into whether bank employees conspired to avoid sales tax on the trading of carbon emission certificates. As part of that inquiry, prosecutors are trying to determine whether Jürgen Fitschen, the co-chief executive, and Stefan Krause, the chief financial officer, played a role by signing certain tax forms.
|Stefan Krause CFO Deutsche Bank|
On Wednesday, about 500 police officers searched Deutsche Bank offices in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin, as well as private homes. Mr. Fitschen and Mr. Krause are among 25 people who have been ensnared by the tax-evasion inquiry.
The police arrested five people, who were not identified. Those arrested did not include Mr. Fitschen or Mr. Krause.
Deutsche Bank said it was cooperating with the authorities but added that it had already revised the value-added tax reporting in question. ‘‘Unlike the Public Prosecutor’s Office, Deutsche Bank is of the opinion that this correction took place in due time,’’ the bank said in a statement. It declined to comment further.
Top executives sign many documents, and it was not clear whether prosecutors believed that Mr. Fitschen and Mr. Krause were knowingly involved in an attempt to avoid taxes. Prosecutors could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
The investigation will only complicate the bank’s turnaround efforts.