Hello and welcome to the Fides Weekly Update. Take a look at this week’s key trends, moves and developments in legal and compliance.
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Senior compliance officer implicated in Deutsche Bank scandal
It’s the second day of a police raid at Deutsche Bank’s head office in Frankfurt, which has caused significant investor concern and brings the Panama Papers scandal back into news headlines.
German prosecutors have been investigating the transactions of two Deutsche staff members, who they suspect of setting up client offshore accounts for possible money laundering purposes.
The investigation kicked off as a consequence of material released in the Panama Papers – the infamous data leak in 2016 that befell Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which led to information regarding numerous companies and individuals being released in connection with illicit and disreputable activity.
Prosecutors are looking into a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank domiciled in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) which they claim dealt with over 900 million customers and carried out €311 million worth of business in 2016 alone. German officials have suggested transactions may not have been flagged as suspicious where necessary until information about these funds was released in the Panama Papers.
Citywire reported that the raid is targeting the wealth division in particular, and focuses on activities taking place from 2013 to 2016, during which time current chief exec of the German bank Christian Sewing headed up the DB’s wealth department.
“The two Deutsche employees at the core of the case are managing directors in the bank’s compliance and wealth management units,” reports the FT. It’s been further noted that both staff members still remain with the lender, allegedly.
Deutsche Bank have publicly stated they are intending to cooperate fully with the authorities, whilst the German bank’s shares fell by 3 per cent on announcement of the raid.
Meanwhile, only a few minutes down the road In Frankfurt, Germany, law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s offices also experienced an ambush of police officers this week, who raided the magic circle firm by request of the chief public prosecutor. The investigation concerns a long-running tax scandal which involved Canada’s Maple Bank and has been ongoing since 2017. The story was first reported in German business newspaper Handelsblatt.
Movers & Shakers of the week
Unilever announces eight firms on global legal panel
Clifford Chance (CC) selects Amsterdam partners Bas Boris Visser and Titus de Vries as the firm’s new co-managing partners of the region, with current managing partner Jeroen Ouwehand being promoted to senior partner at CC.
New reporting lines constructed at John Lewis following recent legal appointments
Shoosmiths appoints real estate partner Simon Boss as replacement chief executive
Michael Chissick remains managing partner at Fieldfisher for a third term
W&C adds a further regulatory partner to its ranks
Jonathan Rogers departs his role as head of financial services regulatory at Taylor Wessing to join White & Case’s London office
EasyJet secures replacement GC
Following Kyla Mullins’ departure for ITV in October, EasyJet has confirmed former Royal Mail general counsel Maaike de Bie will be joining the airline as legal chief in 2019
Ropes & Gray lose real estate partner duo to US competitor
Ropes & Gray real estate partners Partha Pal and Carol Hopper are set to join Greenberg Traurig in the firm’s City office
Shakespeare Martineau appoints CEO
Browne Jacobson chief operating officer Sarah Walker-Smith will be joining Shakespeare Martineau as the firm’s new chief exec following Andy Raynor’s decision to step down this year
Office Openings & Closings
Weil Gotshal Prague managing partner Karel Muzikář leaves the firm to set up an independent outfit, taking with him the entire 10-strong team, which will result in the US firm exiting the region.
Deloitte sets up 25-strong legal team in Hong Kong, including six new partners
Cooley’s partner promotions rounds sees 19 lawyers made up, including three in London
CC’s NY office matches Cravath’s rates for it’s 2018 Christmas bonuses