A UK-based Perella Weinberg Partners banker was found dead days after the investment bank put him on leave following a raid of its London office as part of an insider trading probe by German police and regulators, said people briefed on the matter.
The banker was suspected by German law enforcement of having shared sensitive information about looming mergers and acquisitions with four German citizens who traded on the information, these people added. The banker’s body was discovered in the Greater London area on Friday.
“We are incredibly saddened by the tragic loss of our colleague and extend our heartfelt condolences to the family, loved ones and friends. We are focused on supporting our colleagues at this very difficult time,” PWP said in a statement.
Local police have yet to issue an autopsy report but at this stage there has been no evidence of foul play in the banker’s death, the people briefed on the matter added.
The probe into suspected insider trading started in November 2021 after German regulator BaFin flagged suspicious trading patterns to domestic law enforcement officials including the Federal Criminal Police Office. Perella Weinberg’s office in London was raided last Wednesday.
The suspected trades occurred between 2017 and 2021. Prosecutors say the trades could have generated a double-digit million-euro profit. Insider trading can be punished with up to five years imprisonment in Germany.
A 47-year-old German national was arrested in Munich this month after being accused by law enforcement of trading on information obtained inappropriately. Three other people, including the 82-year-old father of the person being held in police custody, are also under investigation.
Last week Perella Weinberg said: “The firm is assisting in an investigation by German law enforcement authorities. The firm is not the subject of the investigation, and there is no suggestion of wrongdoing on the part of the firm.”
New York-based Perella Weinberg, founded in 2006 by legendary Wall Street dealmaker Joe Perella and former Goldman Sachs executive Peter Weinberg, is led by former Morgan Stanley banker Dietrich Becker.
Over the years it has become one of the leading M&A advisers in Germany, playing a role in some of the largest transactions in the country, including the €29bn takeover of Deutsche Wohnen by Vonovia in 2021, the €4.5bn takeover of Osram in 2019 and the €59bn asset swap between RWE and Eon in 2018.
Additional reporting by Kate Beioley in London