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Deutsche Bank co-CEO denies tax fraud charges

Deutsche Bank's co-chief executive Jürgen Fitschen said he saw no reason to resign over allegations of suspected tax fraud, insisting he is innocent in newspaper interviews Friday.

Deutsche Bank co-CEO denies tax fraud charges
Photo: DPA

“I’m shattered over the accusations against me. I firmly believe they will prove to be groundless,” Fitschen told the mass-circulation daily Bild. “I feel I am being unjustly treated and will defend myself.”

Asked whether he would resign over the allegations, Fitschen said, “I see no reason to.”

Fitschen made similar remarks in a different interview published in the business daily Handelsblatt.

Prosecutors and tax police raided the offices of Deutsche Bank Wednesday in a probe dating back to 2010, and Germany’s biggest lender said both Fitschen and its finance chief Stefan Krause were also being investigated.

Deutsche Bank employees are suspected of destroying documents related to the case, and investigators also say certain essential emails have been kept from them, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported. The bank denies the claims.

Four Deutsche Bank workers have been taken into custody, while a fifth suspect has been spared for health reasons.

The allegations date back to early 2010 and concern suspected tax fraud in connection with trading in carbon emissions certificates.

Fitschen and Krause are under investigation because they signed off the bank’s 2009 valued-added tax (VAT) declaration. He told both newspapers that he felt the prosecutors’ reaction was “totally exaggerated.”

“As soon as we realised that we’d been duped by fraudulent clients, we corrected the tax declaration. At no point was any tax money unlawfully paid to Deutsche Bank,” he said.

Fitschen has been a member of Deutsche Bank’s management board since 2009 and took over as co-chief executive, alongside Anshu Jain, earlier this year.

Prosecutors said a total 25 Deutsche Bank employees were being investigated and arrest warrants had been issued for five suspects on suspicion of money laundering and perverting the course of justice.

According to Der Spiegel magazine, the suspects evaded hundreds of millions of euros in tax.

In December 2011, six businessmen – three British citizens, two Germans and one Frenchman – were sentenced to between three and seven years in prison for not paying taxes from trading in carbon emission certificates.

The Local/AFP/bk

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Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.

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