Deutsche Bank feared Russia would plant spies among IT workers it relocated to Berlin, report says

People stand in front of a large Deutsche Bank logo.
Deutsche Bank relocated thousands of people from Russia to Berlin, The Financial Times reported.Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
  • Deutsche Bank relocated hundreds of IT staffers from Russia to Berlin, The Financial Times reports.

  • Deutsche Bank feared Russia might plant spies among its relocated IT workforce, a manager told The FT.

  • The bank said it would wind down its operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Deutsche Bank was so concerned Russia would plant government spies among hundreds of IT workers that it relocated from Russia to Berlin in the months following the invasion of Ukraine, a senior manager at the bank told The Financial Times.

"We have been operating under heightened cyber security awareness for some time, including exactly that threat," the manager said, speaking about its operations in Russia.

The bank took additional security measures including conducting background checks on relocated employees and checking code scripts written in Russia to mitigate the risk of espionage, the manager told The FT.

The FT reported that the bank offered all of its staff in Russia the option of relocating to Germany in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Three sources with knowledge of the matter told The FT about half of Deutsche Bank's 1,500-strong IT workforce in Russia accepted the offer.

Two sources also told Reuters the company has already relocated "hundreds" of staff but didn't give a precise figure.

The FT reported that including staffers' families, Deutsche Bank is relocating around 2,000 people in total.

Deutsche Bank announced in March it would wind down its operations in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine.

The future of the bank's remaining IT operations in Russia are under review, a Deutsche Bank spokesperson told Insider.

The spokesperson declined to comment on whether the bank had been concerned about spies infiltrating its relocated workforce.

Thousands of highly skilled Russian tech workers have fled the country in a massive, sudden brain drain that damaged the country's homegrown tech industry, Insider reported in April.

Four software engineers who left Russia told Insider in April they had no plans to return, citing economic uncertainty and Putin's crackdown on free speech.

Two of the engineers were actively applying for jobs at Meta or Google, with the hope they could secure an employer-sponsored visa to Western Europe or North America.

Read the original article on Business Insider