Deutsche Bank confirmed Tuesday that it is facing a possible criminal investigation into spying allegations.
According to media reports, the German banking giant is accused of spying on a small group of managers and a “critical shareholder” during a probe into possible breaches of data security. The Wall Street Journal reported that Deutsche Bank has dismissed two top executives since the inquiry started, which it says has raised concerns in “a society still coming to terms with East Germany’s legacy of spying on citizens.” A bank spokesman told CNN that it could face a possible criminal investigation but it would not confirm — or deny — reports it had dismissed the two senior staff members. Among the targets of the surveillance, according to WSJ, were Gerald Herrmann, a former member of the bank’s supervisory board; Michael Bohndorf, a shareholder who has been critical of the bank; and Hermann-Josef Lamberti, Deutsche Bank’s chief operating officer.
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Deutsche Bank launched its own investigation into the spying claims in May, and there is also an investigation ongoing with BaFin, the German financial regulator. The results of this investigation have now been passed to the German data protection authority, who has in turn submitted them to the public prosecutors office. State prosecutors will now decide whether to launch a formal criminal investigation.