Deutsche agrees to pay fine over tax-shelter advice

Deutsche Bank, the German financial giant, agreed to pay fines totalling $554m in order to avoid prosecution in the US over tax shelter advice it gave to wealthy investors.

The payment is the latest in the US authorities' investigation into tax-shelter products, originally designed by the accounting firm KPMG, which were sold to wealthy Americans around the beginning of the last decade.

Deutsche Bank signed the non-prosecution agreement yesterday, promising to pay back all the fees it made from the products, which it provided to 2,100 clients, according to the criminal complaint. It will also pay interest and compensation for tax revenue lost, plus a civil penalty of $149m. It admitted criminal wrongdoing, and promised not to sell any kind of pre-packaged tax-shelter plans again.

The bank said it had already made provision for the amount of the fine, and said it was "pleased that this investigation, which concerned transactions that ceased more than eight years ago, has come to a resolution".

US prosecutors secured criminal prosecutions in three cases, including against two KPMG officers, and the accounting firm itself agreed a non-prosecution deal and paid $456m in fines. Swiss bank UBS paid $780m.