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Josef Ackermann, Deutsche Bank CEO, targeted with letter bomb

ackermannJosef120911_optBY LIBOR JANY

NEW YORK - Local law enforcement authorities fortified security around Wall Street after German authorities on Thursday intercepted a letter bomb that was mailed to the office of Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann in Frankfurt, Germany, according to various reports.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that the bomb, which officials say was laden with shrapnel and flammable powder, was defused before it could detonate.

"Deutsche Bank received a suspect package addressed to Dr. Ackermann. The relevant unit of the bank informed the police in Frankfurt. The police have undertaken an investigation," said Duncan King, the bank's spokesman in New York, in a statement released Thursday.

According to several published reports, the Italian anti-capitalist group Federazione Anarchica Informale has claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing.

The group, whose name means "informal anarchistic federation" in Italian, has been linked to similar plots in the past, reports say.

The foiled bombing comes at a time when banks are facing mounting opposition from an international protest movement aimed at fighting economic equality, though Occupy Frankfurt was quick to distance itself from the plot in a statement released on its website.

"Occupy: Frankfurt condemned the attempted assassination in the strongest terms," the statement read. "Violence in any form will not be tolerated here."

In New York City, police ramped up their security around Deutsche Bank's headquarters at 60 Wall Street, and urged members of its Shield group, a vast network of private security managers entrusted with protecting companies in the city, to be wary of any suspicious packages, the New York Times reported.

In a press release issued Thursday, NYPD spokesman Paul said: "After the NYPD learned that a confirmed letter bomb addressed to Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann in Frankfurt, Germany was detected by x-ray equipment in the bank’s mail room this morning, 1 p.m. Frankfurt time, by the bank’s x-ray system, we stepped up security at Deutsche Bank offices in New York and reminded — out of an abundance of caution – our 10,000 private security ‘Shield’ members to follow guidelines for the detection and handling of suspicious packages and letters."

Still, an FBI spokesman told the New York Times that "there is no specific threat to New York associated with the incident at this time.”

Achermann, 63, is expected to relinquish his position in May after 10 years at the helm of the bank.

In German, he remains a controversial figure for his lobbying efforts against banking regulations and one of the country's highest paid CEOs - earning $12 million in 2010 - Der Spiegel reported.

 

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