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Deutsche Bank’s Ackermann Letter Bomb Sent by Anarchist Group

Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann
Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

An anarchist group claimed responsibility for a letter bomb sent to Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Josef Ackermann and may have addressed two more explosive packages to other banks.

Investigators found a letter in Italian by a group that calls itself Federazione Anarchica Informale, Italian for “informal anarchistic federation.” The FAI has claimed responsibility for several attacks in recent years, including a 2003 letter bomb sent to the European Central Bank, state police and Frankfurt prosecutors said in a joint statement.

“The authors speak of three explosions against ‘banks, bankers, ticks and blood-suckers,’” police said in the statement. “It has to be assumed that another two letter bombs may have been sent.”

Ackermann, who will step down as CEO of Germany’s biggest lender in May, has led Deutsche Bank since 2002. Former Deutsche Bank CEO Alfred Herrhausen was killed by the left-wing terrorist organization Red Army Faction in 1989.

Police said earlier today that a “functional letter bomb” was intercepted at the German lender’s headquarters in Frankfurt yesterday. The package contained an explosive device. Frankfurt prosecutors are investigating.

The explosive was a “very dangerous bomb,” Siegfried Wilhelm, a spokesman for the Hesse state bureau of investigation said in an interview earlier today. Deutsche Bank said yesterday a “suspicious package” was discovered in the bank’s offices.

“Deutsche Bank is very concerned about this violent attack on our chief executive officer,” bank spokesman Klaus Thoma said in an interview today.

New York Police

The New York Police Department increased patrols at Deutsche Bank locations there and alerted an umbrella security group for companies and financial institutions following the Frankfurt incident.

Paul Browne, an NYPD spokesman, said in an interview that it advised Shield, a security program for private institutions, to be “extra careful” of similar packages in the mail.

Banks have drawn public anger as demonstrators from Wall Street to London, Frankfurt and Rome have taken to the streets to voice their outrage over lender bailouts. Protesters aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement have camped out close to Deutsche Bank’s headquarters in Frankfurt since October.

Wall Street Firms

An executive at one of the largest U.S. banks said authorities had asked Wall Street firms to put their mailrooms on alert. Banks receive death threats and warnings about letter bombs and toxins such as anthrax almost every week, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the firm doesn’t want to attract additional threats.

“The FBI’s Joint Terrorist Task Force is working with German authorities to assess the incident in Frankfurt and any potential threat to facilities or people here,” said James Margolin, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York. “There is no specific threat to New York associated with the incident at this time.”

The task force is an agency that includes New York police and FBI agents, as well as other law enforcement groups.

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