Prosecutors in Frankfort have indicted seven employees of Deutsche Bank and one former employee for conspiring to evade tax in the trading of carbon emission certificates more than five years ago.
According to Reuters, prosecutors did not name Deutsche Bank in its ruling, but sources have identified it as the institution involved.
Prosecutors said those charged in the 865-page indictment included corporate customer representatives and a member of the bank's tax department.
In 2012, the bank's headquarters in Frankfort were raided by around 500 police and tax inspectors. Since then prosecutors say they have investigated more than 26 current and former employees of the bank, including Juergen Fitschen, the co-CEO of the company and former finance chief Stefan Krause, who had been responsible for signing the tax declarations.
In a statement, Deutsche Bank acknowledged that the investigation into carbon trading was continuing. "We are cooperating with authorities," it said.
On Thursday (August 13th), shares in Deutsche Bank were up 2.04 per cent to 29.56.
In 2009 and 2010, the European Union's carbon market was hit by "carousel trades". These occurred when buyers imported emissions permits in one EU country without paying value-added tax (VAT). In subsequent trades, VAT was added to the price and tax refunds were generated when the tax had never been paid.
Reuters reports that at least 14 people have been jailed in three countries for their involvement in carbon trading VAT fraud and Europol has estimated the crime has cost tax payers more than €5 billion (£3.5 billion) in lost revenue since 2008.
Over the course of the investigation, Deutsche Bank has repaid more than €220 million for falsely claimed tax refunds.
According to the prosecutor's office, all of those indicted – except for the one who is retired – have been suspended from their jobs. None of the accused were named and a judge will now take up the case to decide what to do next, based on the prosecutor's accusations.
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