FRANKFURT — The authorities in Germany raided homes and banks around the country on Wednesday in a tax evasion investigation that originated with Deutsche Bank but has widened to involve other lenders.
The raids targeted 11 financial offices in Bonn, Cologne, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and other cities, prosecutors said. They did not name the banks, but said that some were local public-sector savings banks known as sparkassen, indicating that Deutsche Bank is not the only institution involved.
Deutsche Bank, which was raided by German police in November for possible links to tax evasion, said its offices had not been searched on Wednesday. “The investigations are not directed against Deutsche Bank,” it said in a statement. “Deutsche Bank cooperates with the public prosecutor’s office and voluntarily submits all requested documents.”
The raids on Wednesday focused on eight individuals and included searches of four tax advisers and six asset management companies, prosecutors said in a statement. The individuals are suspected of concealing capital gains from the German tax authorities using companies in offshore havens and with the help of a “major German bank in the British Virgin Islands.”
Both Wednesday’s raid and the earlier raid of Deutsche Bank came after media reports, including as the Panama Papers and Offshore Leaks, by the nonprofit International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
In November, prosecutors, federal agents, police officers and tax authorities searched Deutsche Bank headquarters and five other sites, a raid that was seen as a setback to the bank as it was restructuring. Investigators then were examining whether Deutsche Bank employees were guiding customers to establish companies in offshore tax havens and transfer money gained by criminal means using Deutsche Bank accounts, according to prosecutors.
The investigation into Deutsche Bank centered on two employees, who have not been identified, and a Deutsche Bank subsidiary in the British Virgin Islands that served 900 customers with transactions worth more than $350 million. Deutsche Bank has since sold this subsidiary.
The employees were accused of neglecting their duty to report suspicious transactions, the prosecutors said. “Deutsche Bank helped customers found offshore organizations in tax havens by transferring illegally acquired money without alerting authorities to suspected money laundering,” prosecutors said in a statement in November.
Jack Ewing reported from Frankfurt, and Amie Tsang from London.