Deutsche Bank CEO doesn’t expect to become target in probe

Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said he doesn’t expect to be personally targeted in a money laundering probe by German authorities that led to raids in several of its offices last week, including those of the management board.

Police searched the bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt and surrounding offices over two days in an investigation relating to a cache of documents known as the Panama Papers. They show a business based in the British Virgin Islands provided customers with a means to launder money, the bank has said. The inquiry touches the private wealth unit, part of the private and commercial bank run by Sewing before he rose to chief executive officer in April.

“Since the Panama Papers were published in 2016, we examined the entire matter in close cooperation with the supervising authorities,” Sewing said in an interview with Bild am Sonntag. “As far as we were concerned, the matter was closed.”

In commenting on the raids, officials said they were targeting two suspects identified only by their age and may add other suspects in the course of the investigation. Sewing told Bild am Sonntag that the two employees had helped investigate the issues detailed in the Panama Papers, and that the presumption of innocence should apply to them.

One of the two suspects works in the bank’s anti-financial crime unit, a person familiar with the matter said. The other suspect identified by age works in the private wealth unit, according to the person. It’s part of Deutsche Bank’s private and commercial bank now, which was led by Sewing from 2015 until early this year.

News of the probe pushed Deutsche Bank’s share price to a fresh low, limiting strategic options for the lender as Sewing tries to lift revenue after years of cuts to the investment bank.

Sewing told Bild am Sonntag he sees no indication that Deutsche Bank is becoming a takeover target because of the low share price. The lender is well on track to post its first annual profit in four years and it’s only a matter of time until that will be reflected in the stock, he said. Bloomberg

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