FILE PHOTO: A man walks past Deutsche Bank offices in London

INTERNATIONAL – Deutsche Bank AG’s offices including its headquarters in Frankfurt were being searched by prosecutors on Thursday in a money-laundering probe, prosecutors said in a statement.

Two bank employees, aged 50 and 46, were targeted as suspects in the case, according to the statement. Prosecutors said about 170 officials and police were involved in the raids.

In an emailed statement, Deutsche Bank confirmed that police are investigating at several German locations in relation to Panama Papers, and said it is fully cooperating with authorities.

Deutsche Bank shares fell as much as 4.7 percent on Xetra. They were down 3.2 percent at 8.32 euros (R129,36) at 10:40 a.m. in Frankfurt.

Deutsche Bank has spent more than $18 billion paying fines and settling legal disputes since the start of 2008, according to company disclosures compiled by Bloomberg News.

In Europe, Royal Bank of Scotland is the only lender to have faced a bigger tab, at $18.1 billion, the Bloomberg calculations show.

A probe into the so-called Panama Papers exposed evidence Deutsche Bank helped clients set up off-shore accounts, prosecutors said. The officials said the raid wasn’t related to its role as a correspondent bank for money laundering at Denmark’s Danske Bank.

The German lender may have helped clients in setting up offshore companies in tax havens. Money obtained illegally may have been transferred to accounts at Deutsche Bank, which failed to report the suspicions that the accounts may have been used to launder money, Frankfurt prosecutors said.

Bloomberg