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Deutsche Bank accused of ‘spying’

I know that some news goes under the radar but when it's major news – like the ATM malware issues mentioned earlier this week – then it is worth highlighting, and here's another one that creeped out a month ago and only just caught my eye. 

This is that Deutsche Bank has been accused of spying.

It began in the German paper Handlesblatt on 27th May:

Aufsichtsratsmitglieder, Kunden und Journalisten sollen jedoch nicht
ausgespäht worden sein. Im Visier standen dagegen hochrangige
Mitarbeiter des Konzerns. Darunter soll sich auch der für das
Tagesgeschäft verantwortliche Vorstand Hermann-Josef Lamberti befunden
haben. Möglicherweise soll auch der für die Konzernsicherheit
zuständige Risiko-Vorstand Hugo Bänziger betroffen sein
.” 

Which I am told translates into:

Supposedly,
members of the advisory board, bank clients and journalists were not
targets of the spying. On the other hand, high-level employees of the
bank were being spied upon.  This allegedly included Hermann-Josef
Lamberti, DB board member responsible for day-to-day business and the
head of risk management Hugo Baenziger
.

Wrong, it did include more than just a few employees according to a report in the Deutsche Welle:

The news agency Reuters says unnamed sources have confirmed reports … that Deutsche Bank had spied not only on its employees but also on people outside the bank. The paper said the bulk of the spying allegedly took place in 2006. However it is unclear what kind of data the institution's security department had gathered.

The initial news was followed two days later by a report that: Deutsche Bank spied on shareholders critical of the bank’s management,
the spouse of one of the company’s directors and workers’
representatives.

Der Spiegel added to the news on 7th June:

“An investigation commissioned by Deutsche Bank has revealed that Germany's largest bank spied on several of its management board members, supervisory board members and on at least one shareholder. The 150-page report was prepared by legal firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton …

“… the
bank faces a major conflict of interest in the form of supervisory
board chairman Clemens Borsig, who shares responsibility for at least
some of the snooping operations.  As chief financial officer between 2001 and 2006, he was in charge
of the corporate security department that is now at the center of the
scandal. Many of the spying operations that have come to light happened
during that time.

and Bloomberg followed up on this report on 16th June:

“ 'Deutsche Bank supplied a nine-page statement', Gerhard
Mueller, a spokesman for the regional council in Darmstadt,
which handles data protection issues in the state of Hesse, said
today by telephone. 'We will now read, examine and evaluate the
report. We can’t say how long that’ll take.'

The Frankfurt-based company faces a probe by the country’s
financial regulator, BaFin, into possible violations the company
uncovered in its corporate security department. Deutsche Bank
hired a law firm to carry out an independent investigation into
possible violations in 'past years', the bank said May 22.

Deutsche Bank said yesterday it was fully cooperating with
authorities and will take all necessary measures once the probe
is completed. Mueller, the bank and BaFin declined to disclose
further information about the investigation.

We are all now waiting to see what happens next … keep an eye out (and check your room for bugs too!).

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About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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