Deutsche Bank AG co-Chief Executive Officer Juergen Fitschen, who is under investigation as part of a probe into tax evasion in the carbon market, said he received expressions of support after German police raided the lender last month.
“A lot of you wrote me letters, I’ve never received so much mail,” Fitschen said in a speech to an audience of Deutsche Bank employees, clients and German lawmakers including Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle at the bank’s offices in Berlin today. “I’d like to thank you for your support.”
The co-CEO and Chief Financial Officer Stefan Krause are among Deutsche Bank’s employees under investigation because they signed tax declaration forms for the lender that later needed to be corrected. Fitschen came under fire from German politicians after calling the prime minister of the state where the bank is located because he felt the raids were “disproportionate.”
“I expressed how I felt in that call,” he said, referring to the conversation with Hesse Prime Minister Volker Bouffier after the Dec. 12 raids. “I’d never have thought a phone call could have such an effect.”
Fitschen cited the presence of 500 police and tax investigators, “some of them masked, some of them armed with machine guns” in Deutsche Bank offices as elements that made the authorities’s actions seem disproportionate.
“I was very annoyed about being accused of putting power ahead of the law,” he said. “That was never my intention.”
It would be “incredible” if Fitschen had complained to Bouffier about the Frankfurt General Prosecutor, Hesse Deputy Premier and Justice Minister Joerg-Uwe Hahn said Dec. 18 in Bild-Zeitung, Germany’s best-selling newspaper.
Deutsche Bank said Dec. 16 that it will investigate prosecutors’ allegations that employees deleted e-mails requested as part of the tax-evasion probe.
Six men who worked at small trading companies were found guilty in December 2011 of evading a total of 260 million euros ($346 million) in taxes on carbon emission trades. They bought certificates from suppliers overseas and resold them. Each sale generated a sales tax, which the buyer could reclaim from the tax authorities as a refund. Deutsche Bank bought the allowances.