E.A key figure in the cum-ex complex of share transactions around the dividend cut-off date, which have now been assessed as tax fraud, has been arrested in Switzerland, according to the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s office. The tax expert Hanno Berger, who fled to the Swiss mountain village of Zuoz in 2012, was arrested by the Swiss authorities, said a spokesman for the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The Swiss authorities confirmed that Berger had already been arrested on Wednesday in the canton of Graubünden following an extradition request from Germany. But he does not want to be brought to Germany. “The extradition procedure is now pending at the Federal Office of Justice (FOJ),” said the message from the Ministry of Justice.
The “Handelsblatt” had previously reported that Berger was in extradition detention, in which his health was now being checked. If there are no concerns about Berger’s extradition, the tax attorney can still appeal against the extradition, but they are usually unsuccessful, the newspaper writes.
The Bonn Regional Court issued an arrest warrant against Berger in June after he had not followed the summons to a trial there. Berger is considered to be the inventor of the confusing circular business around the dividend date, with which the investment companies and banks he advised could be credited multiple times with capital gains tax paid only once. In this way, state banks such as the former West LB and HSH Nordbank as well as private banks such as MM Warburg are said to have evaded a total of more than 10 billion euros in taxes.
In one case alone, Berger is held responsible for a tax loss of more than 460 million euros. Berger himself described the investigation against himself as a judicial scandal in the past. He only helped his clients to save taxes, and that was not a crime. In fact, there was a loophole in the law used by Cum-Ex operators that was not closed until 2012.
In the meantime, several public prosecutor’s offices and courts nationwide are investigating to clear up what is probably the largest tax scandals in German post-war history. Since March, a process has been going on before the Wiesbaden district court, which also concerns Berger’s role. As reported by the Reuters news agency, Berger was arrested on the basis of an arrest warrant from the Wiesbaden district court. Negotiations are taking place in Wiesbaden on the charges brought by the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office against two former employees of Hypo-Vereinsbank (Ref .: 6 KLs – 1111 Js 27125/12).
The Attorney General’s office accuses the defendants of tax evasion using a complex system. Berger, who denies the allegations, was the “driving” force. However, Berger did not appear at the trial that was being brought against him