German justice on Tuesday, May 31 raided the premises of Deutsche Bank and its fund management subsidiary DWS in Frankfurt in an investigation for “fraud” on investments “sold as “greener and more sustainable” than they do actually were,” the city prosecutor’s office said.

The searches “are in connection with the charges of ‘greenwashing’ which have been brought against DWS, Europe’s second-largest asset manager, which “has reported in the past to collaborate with the authorities”, said a Deutsche spokesperson. Bank.

During its investigation, the judiciary “found clues” that “contrary to descriptions” in the prospectuses of DWS’ sustainable funds, “ESG [environmental, social and governance] criteria were only considered for a minority of investments and were not considered for a large number of financial investments”, explains the prosecution. ESG-labeled investments have become a major asset class as global warming becomes an unavoidable social issue.

Multiplying procedures

The German case, which targets bank and DWS employees for “investment fraud”, was launched following press reports and statements by a whistleblower to US authorities, says a press release.

The alert was given by the former head of sustainable development at DWS, Desiree Fixler, who accused the management company of having inflated the size of its investments meeting ESG criteria.

A US federal investigation is also underway. In many countries around the world, initiatives are multiplying to combat “greenwashing”, or greenwashing, i.e. the exaggerated or even misleading promotion by companies of their initiatives in the fight against global warming.

In this context, the American stock market watchdog SEC unveiled an initiative last week to strengthen the transparency obligations of financial advisers and asset managers in terms of investments according to sustainable criteria.