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Deutsche bank board members cleared over spying but probe continues

09 October 2009  |  2298 views  |  0 biometric eye

German prosecutors have launched a formal criminal investigation into corporate spying carried out by detectives working for Deutsche Bank but the probe will not target members of the bank's management or supervisory boards.

Frankfurt prosecutors say they have not found evidence of wrongdoing by senior executives but "those presumed to be responsible" will be investigated over possible data protection breaches.

In May it emerged that Germany's biggest bank had commissioned an investigation from legal firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton to look into possible spying. The resulting report uncovered evidence of corporate snooping, with shareholder Michael Bohndorf the main victim.

In 2006 Deutsche hired a detective agency after supervisory board chairman, Clemens Boersig, sought links between Bohndorf and media magnate Leo Kirch, who has been in a legal battle with the bank.

Subsequently two detectives rented Bohndorf's Ibiza holiday home in a bid to gather information on him.

Following a review of the Cleary report and a legal complaint from Bohndorf, prosecutors have now launched a probe into unidentified individuals.

The bank has already dismissed Rafael Schenz, head of corporate security for Germany, and global head of investor relations Wolfram Schmitt, over the case. Both are suing the bank for improper dismissal. Germany's financial regulator BaFin is also investigating.

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