The German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that thirty German banks, including Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, have used the services of the law firm Mossack Fonseca Panama, the heart of a huge scandal of tax evasion . “At least 28 German banks have used in recent years the services of the firm Mossack Fonseca,” the Munich daily (south), member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) which operated the 11.5 million documents from the Panamanian firm and uncovered the use of tax havens of many personalities.
the documents, first obtained by the Süddeutsche Zeitung early 2015, were then shared by ICIJ 370 journalists from more than 70 countries. According to the Süddeutsche, German banks have “created or administered to (Mossack Fonseca) over 1200 companies to screen their customers.” Alone, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank, has used “until 2007 more than 400 offshore companies”, writes the daily, that “thousands of Germans have used front companies Mossack Fonseca”.
A push to the fight against money laundering and tax fraud
Among the other major German banks have used the Mossack Fonseca services include Commerzbank, Dresdner Bank or BayernLB. Regional banks have also appealed to the Panamanian firm, says the Süddeutsche, without giving their names. The offending banks have however said they “changed their policy in recent years,” the newspaper said. Commerzbank has declared as having “changed course consistently” since 2008.
At Deutsche Bank “we fully recognize the importance of this issue” and “we have improved our customer reception procedures and check on the people with whom we do business, “had responded earlier in the day the first German bank. Industrial Siemens, the heart of a huge scandal of bribes in the 2000s, is also mentioned in the “Panama Papers”. According to Süddeutsche Zeitung, the money collected by group executives and placed in slush funds in South America would not have been returned to the group. Instead, “nearly 3 million” were transferred to private accounts in Switzerland and the Bahamas, the newspaper said.
On Monday morning, the group had reported not having yet seen documents, but was assumed that it was “old known cases”, told Agence France Presse spokesman. Berlin hopes that the revelations of “Panama Papers” will give a necklace blow to the fight against money laundering and tax evasion. “We hope that the current debate will help to increase the pressure,” said Martin Jäger Monday, spokesman Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, in which these topics are a workhorse for many years.