Frankfurt / Main (dpa) - Russian money laundering and tax evasion via a bank in Puerto Rico - the Frankfurt public prosecutor's office has searched business and private rooms across Germany on the basis of international financial data.

In the case of tax fraud, six German suspects have so far been investigated who are said to have founded so-called offshore companies with the help of a bank in Puerto Rico, as announced by the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor and the Federal Criminal Police Office. The aim was to hide investment income from the German tax authorities and evade the taxes incurred.

The accused's private apartments in the Rhine-Main locations of Frankfurt, Neu-Anspach, Oberursel, Schwalbach and Hattersheim as well as in Bonn were searched, as were the offices of several banks throughout Germany. Further accused could be added in the course of the investigation, said the Frankfurt prosecutor Nadja Niesen.

According to the judiciary, the institutes were solely concerned with obtaining evidence and clarifying the actual ownership of the offshore companies. Several banks including Deutsche Bank were asked for information. Deutsche Bank refused to comment on the matter.

In a further, independent procedure, emergency services from the Federal Criminal Police Office searched an import and export company as well as living spaces in Brandenburg. Its 57-year-old owner is suspected of belonging to a money laundering network with strong ties to Russia that became known last year under the title “Troika Laundromat”. According to reports from an international research network, several billion euros are said to have reached the West from Russia. Around 190 million euros landed in German accounts alone. According to its own information, the BKA has had the corresponding data sets since the beginning of 2019.

The man is said to have brought illegal profits from crime into the legal economic cycle. External payments to private individuals in Russia have flowed through the company accounts. In addition, there is a suspicion that more than 7 million euros have flowed to offshore companies through the company. It was initially unclear whether the man was arrested.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 200811-99-124412 / 2