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Deutsche Bank offices raided in money-laundering probe

Investigators searched the offices of Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank on Friday, prosecutors said, with the focus on the bank's anti-money-laundering activities.

Deutsche Bank
A photo taken on August 13, 2021 shows the Deutsche Bank headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany. (Photo by ARMANDO BABANI / AFP)

Officers from the BKA federal police, the financial watchdog BaFin and the prosecutor’s office in Frankfurt had been “deployed” to the scene, they said.

The raid was linked to “suspicious activity reports filed by the bank” in relation to money-laundering, Deutsche Bank said in a statement, adding that it was cooperating with authorities.

Financial newspaper Handelsblatt said investigators were probing a transaction carried out several years ago involving Rifaat al-Assad, the uncle of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

READ ALSO: Deutsche Bank to pay $130m to settle US bribery probes

Although Assad did not have an account with Deutsche Bank, the institution is said to have distributed money to the Assad family as part of a technical agreement with other banks, the paper reported.

Deutsche Bank has in recent years been closely watched by financial authorities in relation to suspicious transactions.

BaFin in 2021 called on management at the lender to redouble their efforts to tackle money-laundering activities. Investigators searched Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in 2019 for failing to report possibly illicit money flows.

READ ALSO: German police raid Deutsche Bank in ‘Panama Papers’ graft probe

The Frankfurt-based group also came under scrutiny for its role as a correspondence bank that handled foreign transactions for Danske Bank’s Estonian branch, at the centre of a €200-billion ($212-billion) money-laundering affair between 2007 and 2015.

Deutsche Bank subsequently agreed to pay a fine of €13.5 million for failing to report suspicious activity quickly enough, after an investigation by Frankfurt prosecutors.

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BUSINESS

Germany’s BMW to put €1 billion into electric vehicles in Austria

German auto manufacturer BMW said on Monday it would invest "around one billion euros" in the production of electric vehicles at a plant in Austria from 2025.

Germany's BMW to put €1 billion into electric vehicles in Austria

Altogether, 600,000 units a year should roll off the line at the factory in Steyr under the investment plan, set to run until 2030, BMW said in a statement.

From 2025, BMW will “develop and produce the next generation of e-drives” at the Austrian site, BMW’s production chief Milan Nedeljkovic said.

The refurbishment of the plant will see two new production lines added and the location expanded by 60,000 square metres.

The new facilities would require €710 million in investment, while €230 million would be dedicated to boosting vehicle development at Steyr.

“Around half” the 4,400 employees at the site would be working on “e-mobility” by 2030, plant boss Alexander Susanek said.

The Bavarian manufacturer said it aimed to have two million electric vehicles on the road by 2025, promising 13 new electric models and a revamp of its Mini brand.

BMW has already said it will spend €400 million to upgrade its home factory in Munich to produce electric vehicles.

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