Deutsche Bank lambasted for non-cooperation by TAX3 committee 

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Deutsche Bank’s representative at a hearing on the money laundering scandals involving the bank came under heavy fire at a hearing on Monday evening.

The hearing, organised by the European Parliament’s special committee on financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance held the hearing to specifically better understand the illicit activities that Deutsche Bank had been involved in and also hear from Germany’s financial services watchdog, BaFin. MEPs were however left feeling short-changed as replies often failed to materialise.

Summing up the hearing, the Chair of the committee, Petr Ježek (ALDE, CZ) said, “the hearing has failed to provide as many answers as the scale of the problem would require. Markets may become nervous, but the public also deserves transparency, assurances that those who commit crimes will be brought to justice, and to know that measures are indeed being taken so that there is no repeat of such activities. I am afraid that there is still a lot of work ahead.”

Deutsche Bank had been summoned to the hearing notably for its involvement in the large money laundering scandal currently rocking Danske Bank and the Cum-ex scandal. A delegation of MEPs from the committee will travel to Denmark and Estonia later this week to investigate these scandals on the ground.

During the hearing MEPs sought to obtain more information on why Deutsche Bank had pulled out of its dealings with Danske Bank and its Estonian branch so late in comparison to other international banks and why so many recent scandals have involved Deutsche Bank. Many also tried to understand to what degree Deutsche Bank had learnt lessons and sought information on what actions the bank was taking internally regarding processes and also specific employees. MEPs also urged Deutsche Bank to publish its internal findings on the scandals it has been involved in so as to rebuild trust. Questions were also asked regarding Deutsche Bank’s relationship with Donald Trump and with the Russian state-owned bank VTB.

Background on the committee

Following continued revelations over the last five years (Luxleaks, the Panama Papers, Football leaks and the Paradise papers), the European Parliament decided to establish a Special Committee on Financial Crimes, Tax Evasion and Tax Avoidance (TAX3), on 1 March 2018. It is headed by Petr Ježek (ALDE, CZ).

During its twelve-month mandate, the committee is examining and assessing whether further progress has been made in combatting financial crimes, tax evasion and tax avoidance. To do this, numerous hearings with experts and fact-finding missions are being organised regularly. The committee will conclude its work with a report containing its findings and recommendations, due to be adopted in committee in February and in plenary in March. The co-rapporteurs are Luděk Niedermayer (EPP, CZ) and Jeppe Kofod (S&D, DK).