German banks: $63.4 billion saved or tax evaded?

19 October, 2018

Berger hanno - Edited

At least 10 other European countries beyond Germany have been affected by German banks tax fraud practices, and the damage caused to state treasuries could be as high as €55.2 billion ($63.4 billion). Contrived “dual ownership” allowed both parties to claim tax rebates even though both were not entitled to it. With the process having gone undetected for years, billions in tax went uncollected by the German state, mostly in the form of rebates which should never have been paid out at all.    Industry experts say the practice went on for decades before it was properly grappled with. The scandal came to light in 2016 when it emerged that several German banks had exploited a legal loophole which allowed two parties simultaneously to claim ownership of the same shares.

Hanno Berger, the central suspect in the investigation, now lives in exile in the Swiss Alps. He advised the Australian bank Macquarie, another caught up in the scandal, on cum-ex trading but claims he was not paid for it. He says the scheme was based on a legitimate legal loophole. “They (the German state) cannot punish others for their mistakes,” he said.

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