Bank searched in money-laundering scam probe

25th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

25 July 2005, FRANKFURT - Frankfurt prosecutors have searched offices of Germany's third-biggest bank Commerzbank AG as part of a broader probe into a Russian money-laundering scam, according to news reports Monday.

25 July 2005

FRANKFURT - Frankfurt prosecutors have searched offices of Germany's third-biggest bank Commerzbank AG as part of a broader probe into a Russian money-laundering scam, according to news reports Monday.

But a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office said the investigation was still completely open.

She declined to confirm media reports that the probe is focused on the possibility that about EUR 100 million in illegal funds associated with a Russian telecommunications company may have passed through accounts held at Commerzbank.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the investigation, which also involves Swiss authorities, was triggered by concerns that Russian telecommunications assets could have been diverted from Russian state enterprises through a company set up by Leonid Reiman, now Moscow's telecommunications minister.

As part of their inquiry, prosecutors are also investigating several current and former executives, including Andreas de Maiziere, who resigned last week.

In stepping down, de Maiziere was taking responsibility for errors made by employees working under his jurisdiction, a bank spokeswoman said Monday.

Prosecutors last week searched 10 apartments and office in the Frankfurt area in connection with their probe.

Media reports say that Commerzbank set up for Russian interests a company called First National Holding in Luxembourg. The company has since been wound up.

DPA

Subject: German news

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