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Germany

Massive Raid On Deutsche Bank, Accused Of Destroying Evidence

SÜDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, DIE WELT (Germany)

Worldcrunch

MUNICH - New details have emerged Friday of a vast police raid this week against Deutsche Bank in an ongoing tax evasion case. Some 500 state prosecutors, tax and crime investigators were involved in the Wednesday raids on Deutsche Bank offices in Frankfurt and branches in Berlin and Düsseldorf.

Süddeutsche Zeitung reports that the bank is accused of destroying evidence relevant to tax evasion charges in connection with the trade of emissions certificates. The missing evidence – e-mails concerning the allegedly criminal activities – is a central reason given for the arrest of five bank employees.

Said to have been involved in the alleged cover-up are employees in the IT and legal departments including one senior legal figure. One of the bank’s money laundering experts was also arrested at the behest of Frankfurt prosecutors. He is thought to have neglected to report firms that investigators say tried to evade taxes to the tune of several hundred million euros in the trade with CO2 certificates.

Both the bank and accused individuals vehemently deny charges. After a first raid in 2010, Deutsche Bank promised the authorities its full cooperation and said it would turn over all documents relevant to the alleged criminal dealings with the certificates. However, two years on the Attorney General’s office and the Federal Criminal Police discovered that there were missing e-mails and asked for them to be delivered. Some of them were, but others had been deleted.

Sources close to the bank say there was no manipulation – just a few unintentional holes amounting to perhaps “a thousandth” of the mass of documentation concerning the trades.

Die Welt columnist Sebastian Jost notes that the scale of the investigation against the German banking powerhouse sends a clear message from authorities to the financial institutions that there will be no one spared in the pursuit of rooting out foul play.

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Society

Tour Of Istanbul's Ancient Yedikule Gardens, At Risk With Urban Restoration

The six-hectare gardens in the center of Istanbul, which are more than 1,500 years old, have helped feed the city's residents over the centuries and are connected with its religious history. But current city management has a restoration project that could disrupt a unique urban ecosystem.

Photo of Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Last March, Muslims performing Friday prayer in the garden of Suleymaniye Mosque, Istanbul.

Tolga Ildun via ZUMA Press Wire
Canan Coşkun

ISTANBUL — The historic urban gardens of Yedikule in Istanbul are at risk of destruction once again. After damage in 2013 caused by the neighborhood municipality of Fatih, the gardens are now facing further disruption and possible damage as the greater Istanbul municipality plans more "restoration" work.

The six-hectare gardens are more than 1,500 years old, dating back to the city's Byzantine era. They were first farmed by Greeks and Albanians, then people from the northern city of Kastamonu, near the Black Sea. Now, a wide variety of seasonal produce grows in the garden, including herbs, varieties of lettuce and other greens, red turnip, green onion, cabbage, cauliflower, tomato, pepper, corn, mullberry, fig and pomegranate.

Yedikule is unique among urban gardens around the world, says Cemal Kafadar, a historian and professor of Turkish Studies at Harvard University.

“There are (urban gardens) that are older than Istanbul gardens, such as those in Rome, but there is no other that has maintained continuity all this time with its techniques and specific craft," Kafadar says. "What makes Yedikule unique is that it still provides crops. You might have eaten (from these gardens) with or without knowing about it."

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