German prosecutors released one of four Deutsche Bank AG employees jailed last week as part of a probe into suspected tax fraud on carbon trading that prompted a police raid on the lender’s headquarters.
There is no longer the risk that the person will tamper with evidence, Guenter Wittig, a spokesman for the Frankfurt General Prosecutor’s office, said by telephone today. He declined to identify the employee. Christian Streckert, a Deutsche Bank spokesman, declined to comment.
Prosecutors are looking into possible irregularities over the trading of carbon-emission certificates at Deutsche Bank, Europe’s largest lender by assets, in a probe that includes co-Chief Executive Officer Juergen Fitschen and Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause, who signed tax returns. The bank is grappling with escalating regulatory investigations and litigation stretching from alleged rigging of interbank lending rates to misrepresentation of products tied to U.S. mortgages.
The released employee is responsible for fighting and preventing money laundering, Bild-Zeitung newspaper reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. Those held in custody, who are suspected of obstructing justice, included the head of litigation at the bank and another member of the legal department.
The difference between the tax returns submitted on the CO2 certificates and a corrected version that Deutsche Bank filed later was about 150 million euros ($200 million), Handelsblatt said last week, citing an interview with Fitschen.
Prosecutors are continuing to question witnesses and the jailed employees this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Deutsche Bank said Dec. 16 that it will investigate prosecutors’ allegations that its employees deleted e-mails requested as part of the tax probe.
Fitschen came under fire from politicians across Germany’s political spectrum after Der Spiegel reported Dec. 16 that he complained about the police raids to Volker Bouffier, the prime minister of the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located. Fitschen didn’t mean to interfere with police action and was concerned how the raids might be interpreted abroad, he said in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung yesterday.