No evidence of wrongdoing by German banks in 'Panama Papers': watchdog

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Germany's financial watchdog said it has found no evidence of any large-scale wrongdoing by the German banks identified in the "Panama Papers" scandal.

"So far, it appears that none of the 11 institutions involved in such affairs infringed on money laundering regulations on a large scale," Felix Hufeld, president of the Bafin supervisor, told reporters late Wednesday.

Deutsche Bank and Berenberg were among hundreds of financial institutions whose names repeatedly cropped up in the media reports about the Panama Papers.

The papers were a massive data leak from a Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca, that unveiled widespread tax avoidance and evasion using complex structures of offshore shell companies.

Bafin launched its own investigation into whether German banks under its supervision had been engaged in any illegal activity.

While the supervisor has found no firm evidence of such, Hufeld said he was keeping a "critical" eye on such dealings.

He questioned whether money laundering experts had the necessary means to ensure a bank was was fully applying standards "in offshore jurisdictions".

"Formally, the banks largely stuck to the money-laundering regulations," Hufeld said.

Nevertheless, he said it was "another question" outside the supervisor's remit as to whether a bank was acting ethically in allowing themselves to be used to avoid taxes.


© 2018 AFP

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