Deutsche Bank Probes Claims of Deleted E-Mails in Tax Probe

Deutsche Bank AG (DBK), whose offices were raided by German police four days ago, said it will investigate prosecutors’ allegations employees deleted e-mails requested as part of a tax-evasion probe.

The accusations, which prompted the arrest of five people for questioning, will be probed by the bank, Christian Streckert, a spokesman for the lender, said by telephone today.

Deutsche Bank Co-Chief Executive Officer Juergen Fitschen called Volker Bouffier, the prime minister of the state of Hesse, to complain about the impact television pictures of the raids would have on the bank’s reputation, Der Spiegel said today. Bouffier replied that it wasn’t his task to intervene in a prosecutorial probe, the magazine reported.

“We confirm that Mr. Fitschen called Mr. Bouffier,” Streckert said. “We cannot comment on the contents of the conversation.” Telephone calls by Bloomberg News to Bouffier’s office today weren’t answered.

Prosecutors had been investigating bank employees for suspected tax fraud involving the sale of carbon-emission certificates since 2009. The Frankfurt prosecutor said on Dec. 12 the bank may have withheld evidence it was seeking.

After an initial raid in 2010, Deutsche Bank was asked to hand over information about 40 employees, Der Spiegel said. Deutsche Bank deleted 20,000 e-mails and handed over no e-mails relating to nine of the employees, the magazine said.

Streckert declined to comment further on the e-mails.

Employees Held

Four Deutsche Bank employees remain in custody while the probe continues. One was released for health reasons, Guenter Wittig, a spokesman for the Frankfurt General Prosecutor, said Dec. 13. In all, 25 Deutsche Bank employees are being investigated, including Fitschen and Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause, according to prosecutors.

One of the suspects ordered to stay in jail is the head of litigation at Deutsche Bank, two people familiar with the matter said on Dec. 14. Two information-technology specialists and another member of the legal department are among the arrested, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the details of the probe are secret. Prosecutors are focusing on the alleged e-mail deletions, the person said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Karin Matussek in Berlin at kmatussek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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