Sunday 2 December 2018 12:44 pm

Deutsche Bank boss dismisses takeover talk following Panama Papers raids

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The boss of Deutsche Bank said the beleaguered German lender is not at risk of a takeover, after its shares hit a record low on Friday following a two-day police raid prompted by money-laundering allegations.

Christian Sewing said he saw no “indication” of a possible merger, following speculation that Deutsche could be looking at a tie-up with German rival Commerzbank, or Switzerland’s UBS.

“We are on track to make our first profit for three years,” Sewing, the lender’s chief executive, told Bild am Sonntag. “It is only a matter of time before this progress is reflected in the share price.”

Deutsche’s shares hit a record low of €8.03 on Friday, the second day of police raids at its headquarters, linked to the so-called Panama Papers revelations over offshore financing.

The bank has been devastated by a series of financial and regulatory scandals this year, and faces fresh questions currently over its role as a alleged conduit for dirty funds processed via Danish lender Danske Bank.

Sewing took up his position at the head of the bank in April, and has been attempting to turn its fortunes around.

During last week’s raids, police searched the office’s of all the bank’s board members – suggesting the scandal is being linked to the highest echelons of its management.

Sewing said he was not concerned about the board office raids. “I don’t have a problem with that,” he said. “I want this matter to be cleared up as soon as possible.”

The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office, which directed the raids, said it was investigating the activities on unnamed employees who allegedly helped clients set up offshore firms to launder money.

“It’s about two employees who, at the time, helped to work through everything surrounding the issue of the Panama Papers,” Sewing told the paper. “In my view, the presumption of innocence clearly applies until proven otherwise.

“Since the publication of the Panama Papers in 2016 we have reviewed the whole issue and, in doing so, cooperated closely with the regulatory authorities. For us the case was concluded.”