The detective's statements appear to contradict the bank's assertion that the spying affair was limited in scope. The affair came to light in May when Deutsche Bank said it had discovered efforts involving "questionable investigative or surveillance activities" directed by its corporate security department and outside contractors. It has so far disclosed four separate incidents involving its agents between 2001 and 2007 in which the bank used the detective, Bernd Bühner, and others to monitor people affiliated with the bank.
Though the spying activity originated in Germany, the implications for Deutsche Bank are global. The bank earns most of its profit outside of Germany at its bases in London and the U.S., where bank officials have found themselves trying to explain the affair to uneasy clients and regulators, including the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Mr. Bühner, a contractor who played a key role in most of the operations under scrutiny, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview that he received a list of names in 2006 at a meeting with Deutsche Bank representatives that included members of the bank's legal department.
"They had the names ready. A paper with the list of names was prepared by the bank in advance of a meeting with bank officials," Mr. Bühner said.
A spokesman for Deutsche Bank said the list contained names of people and entities that might be linked to Michael Bohndorf, an activist investor the bank has already disclosed it spied on. The bank says the individuals on the list might have been able to provide information about Mr. Bohndorf's motives toward the bank and any connection he had with Leo Kirch, the former German media mogul who is suing Deutsche Bank for billions in connection with the collapse of his empire. The bank says the people on the list weren't to be investigated themselves.
Mr. Bühner says that though the list was conceived as part of the Bohndorf operation, the plan was to spy on each of the individuals and entities on the list.
A person close to Deutsche Bank said investigators had been unable to establish who compiled the list. The person also confirmed that members of the bank's legal department participated in at least some of the meetings with Mr. Bühner.
The revelations raise new questions about the breadth of Deutsche Bank's spying program and why its senior management didn't know about it. In a July 22 news release, Deutsche Bank said, "The incidents were isolated and no systematic misbehavior has been found."
The bank has said the spying was directed by its corporate security department but has made no mention of its legal department's involvement. "The bank has taken steps to strengthen controls for the mandating of external service providers by its Corporate Security Advisors. All four incidents originated from mandates initiated to achieve legitimate goals," the Deutsche Bank statement said.
The bank fired two mid-level executives involved in the affair last month, but it has said there is no evidence that either senior executives or board members were aware of the spying. It hired New York-based law firm Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP to investigate the affair. Cleary has submitted a report to the bank's board but the report hasn't been made public. Mr. Bühner acknowledges spying on the bank's behalf in several instances that have come to light but denies that he spied on anyone on the list.
The Cleary investigation found that one name on the list, that of Munich law firm Bub, Gauweiler & Partner, had been targeted, according to a person close to the investigation. Bub Gauweiler represents Mr. Kirch.
According to Cleary records reviewed by the Journal, Deutsche Bank agents devised a plan to infiltrate the firm with a mole posing as an intern. Bub Gauweiler offered the agent a position but Deutsche Bank's lawyers halted the plan just days before she was to begin work, according to people familiar with the report.
A spokesman for Deutsche Bank said its legal department had no prior knowledge of the plan to infiltrate Bub Gauweiler, and that the bank halted the operation as soon as it discovered its existence. Peter Gauweiler, a lawyer for Mr. Kirch, said, "I expect the appropriate authorities including state prosecutors and the bank's oversight agencies will conduct a full investigation."
Mr. Bühner, a former major in the German Army, has longstanding ties with Deutsche Bank, according to both Mr. Bühner and people close to Deutsche Bank. In 1997, his then-employer, London-based Control Risks Group LLC, was engaged by Deutsche Bank to advise it on security matters. In the ensuing years, Mr. Bühner worked on a number of assignments for Deutsche Bank, as head of Control Risks' German office until 2003 and thereafter as an independent contractor.
From 1999 to 2004, for example, Mr. Bühner organized "penetration tests" of Deutsche Bank offices around Germany, according to Mr. Bühner and people close to the bank. The actions were designed to test the integrity of Deutsche Bank's security preparations, a particularly sensitive subject at the bank ever since the assassination of its chief executive by left-wing terrorists in 1989.
It wasn't until 2006 that Deutsche Bank turned to Mr. Bühner for assignments of a more covert nature, according to people close to the Cleary investigation.
At the bank's shareholder meeting that June, Mr. Bohndorf challenged the legitimacy of the banks' supervisory board chairman, Clemens Börsig, saying that his election hadn't been performed according to the letter of the law.
Following the meeting, Mr. Börsig asked the bank's head of investor relations to look into Mr. Bohndorf's motives and whether he was working together with Mr. Kirch, according to people familiar the matter.
It was following that conversation that Mr. Bühner was hired and given the task of investigating Mr. Bohndorf, according to Mr. Bühner and people close to the bank. The operation, which involved sending agents to spy on Mr. Bohndorf at his home in Spain, resulted in a report a few months later in which Mr. Bühner concluded that Mr. Bohndorf had acted on his own. In an interview Mr. Bohndorf said, "Deutsche Bank has failed in its effort to collect information that would damage my reputation. There was nothing to find," he said.
Deutsche Bank said last week that none of its senior executives or board members, including Mr. Börsig, were involved.
Referencing the Cleary report, Deutsche Bank's supervisory board said in a statement: "The questionable methods used were not authorized by members of the Supervisory Board or the Management Board. We regret what took place. Internal measures have been initiated to prevent similar incidents in the future."