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Police Investigating Greenwashing Claims Raid Deutsche Bank, DWS Group Offices In Frankfurt

German police raided the Frankfurt offices of Deutsche Bank AG and its asset management unit, DWS Group, this morning following allegations of greenwashing.


The raid comes after Desiree Fixler, DWS’ former chief sustainability officer, accused the company of misleading the public about its environmental, social and corporate governance initiatives, according to Yahoo Finance. Fixler lost an unfair-dismissal lawsuit against DWS earlier this year after being laid off in March 2021, according to Bloomberg.

An investigation by Frankfurt’s public prosecution office into Fixler’s claims began in January, per Yahoo News. Findings thus far indicate ESG factors played only a minor role in a minority of DWS investments, despite the company’s claims that hundreds of billions of its assets were ESG-integrated.

“German police are doing a very good and thorough job,” Fixler said in a phone interview with Yahoo News. “I am pleased to see this investigation is deepening to obtain further evidence.”

Authorities in the U.S. are also investigating Fixler’s claims, according to The Wall Street Journal. The investigation is a setback for Deutsche Bank, which has been working to clean up its image after being accused of violating bribery laws to win business, the WSJ said. 

Greenwashing suits have become increasingly common in recent years as investors, consumers and regulators demand sustainability, according to Truth in Advertising. Dozens of companies have been accused of exaggerating their commitment to ESG, including Burger King, Burt’s Bees Cosmetics, Walmart, Kohl’s, McDonald’s, Windex, AllbirdsThe Coca-Cola Co. and others.