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Deutsche CEO says staff in money laundering probe should not be prejudged

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By Reuters
Deutsche CEO says staff in money laundering probe should not be prejudged
Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing attends the 28th Frankfurt European Banking Congress (EBC) at the Old Opera house in Frankfurt, Germany November 16, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski   -   Copyright  RALPH ORLOWSKI(Reuters)

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Deutsche Bank <DBKGn.DE> Chief Executive Christian Sewing said two employees subject to an ongoing investigation into money laundering allegations should not be prejudged until proven guilty.

The interview with weekly Bild am Sonntag comes shortly after a two-day raid at Germany’s largest lender linked to the “Panama Papers” leak of documents about offshore finance. According to a source, the raid included police searching the offices of all the bank’s board members.

Investigators are looking into the activities of two unidentified Deutsche Bank employees alleged to have helped clients set up offshore firms to launder money, the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said.

“It’s about two employees that, at the time, helped to work through everything surrounding the issue of the Panama Papers. In my view the presumption of innocence clearly applies until proven otherwise,” Sewing told Bild am Sonntag.

“If we would prejudge our own employees at Deutsche Bank – most notably those that are working through relevant issues – something would be going massively wrong.”

The investigation was triggered after investigators reviewed the so-called “Panama Papers”, millions of documents from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which were leaked to the media in April 2016.

“Since the publication of the Panama Papers in 2016 we have reviewed the whole issue and, in doing so, cooperated closely with the regulatory authorities. For us the case was concluded,” Sewing was quoted as saying by the weekly.

“We have thoroughly worked through the Panama Papers, there are independent expert opinions on the matter.”

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Peter Graff)