Banks have been a major casualty of the revelations surrounding the so-called Panama Papers. German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has been just one vocal critic of the seeming willingness of banks to open up offshore accounts and shell companies in tax havens.
But now Germany’s private banking association has decided to go on the offensive and fight back against a “blanket rush to judgment” aimed at branding banks as accomplices of tax evaders.
Hans-Walter Peters, who was inaugurated as the new president of the Association of German Banks on Monday, taking over from Deutsche Bank co-CEO Jürgen Fitschen, certainly could have wished for a better start to his tenure, however.
The banker, a personally liable partner at Berenberg Bank, had already come under pressure before taking office, thanks to the Panama Papers. The deeply traditional private bank was apparently involved in the establishment of shell companies, according to research by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which broke the story.