Industry Updates

DWS office visited by prosecutors again amid greenwashing allegations

The second visit in two weeks

Lauren Gibbons

DWS building

DWS offices were visited by German prosecutors for the second time in two weeks on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation into greenwashing allegations.

Regulators in the US and Germany have been investigating the German asset manager since 2021 after a whistleblower said the group may have been overstating the green credentials of its funds.

The operation – involving three prosecutors and a team of 30 police officers – took place shortly after the group announced its full year results. A spokesperson said DWS is cooperating with the investigation.

“Shortly after announcing our results for the past financial year this morning, we learned that the Frankfurt public prosecutor's office once again is visiting our premises,” a DWS spokesperson said.

“As previously, we will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities in order to come to a resolution of this investigation as quickly as possible.”

It comes after a similar visit by prosecutors on 16 January, also at the asset manager's headquarters in Frankfurt.

Both the raids sit against the backdrop of a $19m fine levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) last September to settle the historic greenwashing probe.

The SEC charged the German asset manager on Monday, 25 September, for misstatements linked to its sustainable investments, allegations brought by former employee Desirée Fixler.

The penalty, which is the largest ever handed down by the SEC for an ESG offence, will rise to $25m after being accused of anti-money laundering violations in a separate probe.

The allegations started in 2021, and DWS’s offices were first searched in May 2022, with former CEO Asoka Woehrmann stepping down shortly after.

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