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German public prosecutors search bank lobby group for evidence in tax fraud scandal

imageStock Markets7 hours ago (Aug 04, 2020 05:10AM ET)

(C) Reuters.

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Public prosecutors on Tuesday raided the Berlin and Frankfurt offices of German bank lobby group BdB as part of its crackdown on a scam involving multi-billion-euro trades to get bogus tax reclaims.

BdB and the public prosecutor’s Cologne office said that the investigations are not directed against officials of the lobby group.

“The purpose of the search is to find evidence that may be relevant to the continuation of the investigation and the further clarification of the complex facts,” the prosecutors office said.

The investigators suspect that defendants in several criminal proceedings tried to influence lawmaking to keep loopholes opens for the sham trades, using BdB’s influence in Berlin, daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.

These so called “cum-ex” trades thrived between 2005 and 2012 and allowed investors around the world to target chiefly German companies to generate multiple tax reclaims from phantom dividends, costing the taxpayers more than 10 billion euros until loopholes were closed.

The public prosecutors are not investigating BdB officials, but are hoping to find evidence on the possible exertion of influence on BdB managers by the criminals involved in the sham trades, Sueddeutsche reported.

Prosecutors said they could not give any further information in view of the ongoing investigation.

A parliamentary fact-finding committee had probed BdB’s potential involvement in 2016/17, but had been unable to access emails and documents from BdB, it added.

German public prosecutors search bank lobby group for evidence in tax fraud scandal

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