Deutsche Bank's DWS sued by consumer group over alleged greenwashing

The new logo of Deutsche Bank's DWS Asset Management is pictured at their headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany, March 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ralph Orlowski

FRANKFURT, Oct 24 (Reuters) - A German consumer group said on Monday it is suing Deutsche Bank's (DBKGn.DE) asset management unit DWS (DWSG.DE) for allegedly misrepresenting a fund's green credentials in marketing materials.

The suit comes as German and U.S. officials have been investigating reports and a whistleblower's allegations that DWS had exaggerated the sustainability of investments it sold - a practice known as greenwashing.

DWS, which has repeatedly denied it misled investors, rejects the allegations by the consumer group, which represents consumers in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The group said it filed a suit against DWS on Sept. 26 in a Frankfurt court, which has set a hearing for March 10.

The suit filed by the group, in connection with the DWS Invest ESG Climate Tech fund, claims DWS told investors in marketing material that it invests 0% in controversial sectors such as coal.

The group says that was "confusing" for consumers because the material also stated that fund holdings could include companies with up to 15% of revenue from that industry.

"The question is if this is clear to everyone," said Niels Nauhauser, who oversees financial topics at the group.

DWS rejects the claims, saying it takes great care in preparation of marketing material.

"We have examined the documents in focus in detail and remain convinced that the DWS advertising communications...comply with the legal requirements," DWS said.

The lawsuit against DWS is one of several filed by the consumer group against financial firms for allegedly overstating their green credentials.

Asoka Woehrmann resigned as chief executive of DWS in June after German prosecutors raided the offices of DWS and Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt over allegations of greenwashing and misleading investments.

Reporting by Tom Sims and Marta Orosz; Editing by Mike Harrison

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