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DWS’ former CEO Woehrmann under investigation in greenwashing probe – source

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By Tom Sims and Friederike Heine

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -German prosecutors are investigating asset manager DWS’s former chief executive Asoka Woehrmann over allegations of investment fraud through so-called greenwashing, a person with knowledge of the matter said on Friday.

The formal investigation follows probes by regulators on both sides of the Atlantic since 2021 over accusations that DWS, which is controlled by Deutsche Bank, may have misled investors by marketing its funds as greener than they actually were.

Woehrmann, who in the past has called the allegations “unfounded”, and the property investor Patrizia, where Woehrmann is CEO-designate, did not respond to requests for comment.

A lawyer for Woehrmann said DWS’ internal investigations “did not reveal any evidence of misconduct on the part of my client”.

A spokesperson for prosecutors in Frankfurt, where DWS is headquartered, would only say an individual was targeted but would not name the person.

DWS declined to comment on Woehrmann, but has said that it stands by its financial disclosures and fund prospectuses and is cooperating with investigators.

“The resolution of the allegations and conclusion of the external investigations remain a top priority for the executive board. At present, we cannot estimate when and how the proceeding of the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office will be concluded,” DWS said.

The German business daily Handelsblatt first reported the development earlier on Friday.

In 2021, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and German financial watchdog BaFin launched separate investigations into whistleblower allegations that DWS marketed its funds as greener than they were.

Woehrmann resigned as CEO of DWS last year after German prosecutors raided the offices of DWS and Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt over the allegations.

(Additional reporting by Matthias Inverardi; Editing by Miranda Murray, Sabine Wollrab, Susan Fenton and Louise Heavens)

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