The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reported Thursday the Frankfurt, Germany headquarters of Deutsche Bank “have been raided by 170 German police officers and officials as part of a Panama Papers-related money laundering investigation.”
The investigation is focused on whether Germany’s biggest bank helped clients set up offshore accounts to transfer money from criminal activities. Police and officials searched six of the bank’s offices, and have seized a number of documents, according to the prosecutor’s office.
The public prosecutor suspects two employees, aged 50 and 46 but not yet publicly identified, and other, as yet unidentified staff members may have been part of the illegal activities that involved 900 clients and transactions worth about $350 million.ICIJ
According to a released media statement, Deutsche Bank confirms “a number of searches are currently being conducted at Deutsche Bank offices in Germany in connection with the so-called “Panama Papers,” and they are “cooperating fully with the authorities.”
ICIJ reports the prosecutors in the German raids, which, due to the scope, will likely continue through Friday, said the documents from the Panama Papers and the Offshore Leaks “showed Deutsche Bank helped clients found offshore companies in tax havens, which were used to transfer money from criminal activity,” and that “employees of the bank allegedly failed to report these transactions to authorities,” during past investigations stemming the Panama Papers.
The report of the Panama Papers, a trove of over 11.5 million “leaked files,” 2.6 terabytes of data, from the Panamanian company Mossack Fonseca – a law firm who helped the world’s “global celebrities, oligarchs and criminals – drug dealers, pedophiles and sex slave traders, Mafia members, corrupt politicians, and tax evaders” hide and launder money through secretive, shadowy offshore tax havens and shell companies – was investigated by a “collaboration of more than 370 reporters and 100 media outlets.”
You can read ICIJ’s German partners’ Süddeutsche Zeitung first report here.
For an “about the investigation,” here; and
For the Offshore Leak data base, which includes the names of “13 Trump advisers, donors, and cabinet members,… and see how they are connected,” here.
The Chicago Sun Times reported “federal agents showed up unannounced at the City Hall office of Finance Committee Chairman Ed Burke, kicked everyone out and papered over the windows Thursday morning” as well as his office in the majority Hispanic 14th ward.
The exact nature of their visit was not known, but Ald. Burke (14th) has dodged dozens of federal investigations over five decades in Chicago politics.
A source told the Sun-Times the raids were in response to new allegations, and not prompted by any past controversies that have swirled around Burke. That means, for now, the investigation isn’t focused on Burke’s property-tax-appeal work for President Donald Trump, or Burke’s oversight of a city workers’ compensation fund, among other matters.Chicago Sun Times
The report says, “about 15 agents” arrived about 7:30 am, but a gentleman from the neighboring business next door told CBS Chicago reporters he saw two agents attempt to enter a door in the back about midnight, failed to gain entrance, then left and went around the front of the building.
Burke was met by reporters Thursday evening at his home and gave variations of the statement, “I’ve always cooperated in any investigation and I’ll continue to do so, and I am completely confident that at the end of the day nothing will be found amiss in this instance either,” repeatedly, for more than five minutes.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was in Washington, according to the Sun Times, and said he had neither “advance warning about the raid” nor did City Hall “receive any subpoenas in connection with the FBI raid,” and that he only found out about the raid through news reports “because news flashes were coming across my iPhone.”
“I know what I read in the paper. I’m out here. That’s it.’
All in the Chicago family.
Burke, a city councilman Alderman is a member of the Democrat party and holds the seat his father held in the 14th ward before him and is the chairman of the powerful Chicago’s Finance Committee. His wife, Anne Burke, is an Illinois Supreme Court Justice, and his brother Dan Burke is an Illinois state representative.
Anne Burke was recently reelected to serve another term on the Illinois Supreme Court, but Dan Burke lost his reelection to a “little known candidate backed by Jesus “Chuy” Garcia who is also targeting Ed Burke “because of his property-tax appeal work for Trump,” in which he managed to ‘save’ Trump $11.7 million.
Trump and Burke parted business dealings in May 2018, citing “irreconcilable differences.”
Edward Burke became the head partner in the tax attorney law firm of Klafter and Burke, after Klafter passed away, which specializes in “representing clients in property tax appeals before the Cook County Assessor’s Office, the Cook County Board of Review, and the courts.”
“After learning of the raid,” Jesus Garcia, who was elected to Congress in November, “released a statement essentially dancing on Burke’s political grave,” the Sun Times wrote.
“In the five decades that Ald. Burke has been in office, he has used his position to enrich himself and his political cronies while being an impediment to political progress and community empowerment. Make no mistake: Ald. Burke is the last bastion of Chicago machine politics,” Garcia was quoted as saying.
“Burke’s legacy over half a century will be obstructing Harold Washington, Chicago’s only reform Mayor, cutting Donald Trump’s property taxes on the backs of working families, feeding at the trough of greed and corruption, and finally being caught for his own misdeeds. All of Chicago is hoping justice finally prevails.”
Garcia, recently elected to Congress, is a former alderman and departing member of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. He has said Burke’s work for Trump was disrespectful to Burke’s Hispanic constituents, who are now a majority in his ward.
“The fact that he has been Trump’s lawyer on reducing his property taxes and has been part of the property tax system in Chicago that has affected working people more than anybody else in a regressive manner are issues that have to be taken into account,” Garcia said earlier this year.
“It was highly offensive to the community,” Garcia added at the time. “Anyone who isn’t representing the community’s interests should be worried.”Chicago Sun Times